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Rising Costs of the Retail and Funeral Industry

The retail industry feeds more than 64 million people every day in UK. The retail sales account for £177.5bn makes 51% contribution to UK economy. It employs 3.8 million people make up 14% employment in UK (IGD, 2015).

Figure: Total Retail Spend by Category (Retail Economics, 2016).
As the figure shows, the retail industry can divided into several categories. The largest part is food retailer. Clothing also plays an important part in retailer industry. Moreover, the online retailer becomes more and more popular (Retail Economics, 2016).
With the development of the technology, the manufacturers have increased labour productivity by 20.7% in the last 10 years while the productivity of the agricultural industry has risen by 20% in the last 25 years (IGD, 2015). Another main growth of the retail industry is depends on the consumer spending. The consumer will be attracted by the discount and the good service. There are a great number of researches to distinguish groups by using different retail strategy. For large business, it has enough finance and ability to achieve economic of scales. Therefore, low cost strategy may be better. For small business, the customer service and product specialization or customization rather than low price may be widely accepted (Megicks, 2011). The SMEs in retail industry are more than any other industry arrives to 318,470 (IGD, 2015). Tesco is the largest retailer in UK consists of £54.433 million sales. Sainsbury, ASDA is also larger include around 23 million compared with others.
Over the years, the market share of the biggest companies in the industry dropped while the discount retailers such as Aldi and Lidl had a really significant growth (Source).
Retail:
IGD (2015). THE UK’S FOOD AND GROCERY INDUSTRY. Available at: 2015http://www.igd.com/Documents/Other downloads/Grocery Industry A5 booklet update online version.pdf
Phil Megicks (2001) Competitive strategy types in the UK independent retail sector, Journal of Strategic Marketing, 9:4, 315-328, [Online] Available at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/09652540110079029?needAccess=true
Retail Economics (2016) UK Retail Sales http://www.retaileconomics.co.uk/download/Sample – UK Retail Sales.pdf
Around £1billion was estimated to be gained with over 600,000 funerals taking place in UK funeral market annually (UK Funerals Online). The price is varies enormously due to the Funeral directors’ professionalism. The industry is worth £1.7bn every year. According to the Office for National Statistics, The death rate rose at its fastest pace since 1968 (Financial Times, 2016). The death rate in the United Kingdom increased in 2012-2013 also supported the industry growth (IBISWorld, 2016).
The two UK market leaders of funeral group are the Co-operative Group (CWS Ltd) and Dignity Caring Funeral Services (Dignity Plc). The Co-operative Group (CWS Ltd) has over 675 branches across the UK and conducts around 90,000 funerals a year. They also own the North Eastern Co-operative. Dignity has just over 500 branches and conducts 75,000 funerals a year. They together control over 25 per cent of the market (UK Funerals Online). The rest of the funeral company is largely made up of small, independent businesses.
According to the line chart, the price of the funeral has increased year by year. The Co-operative Group reported a 9.9 per cent rise in funeral sales while Dignity, the only listed UK funeral services company said the pre-tax profits had grown by almost a quarter for 2015. These two main companies controlled about 30 per cent of the market shares. According to market analysts IBISworld, the industry is predicted to expand by 2.9 per cent in 2016 (Financial Times, 2016).

Figure: The rising cost of a funeral (Financial Times, 2016).
Funeral:
UK Funerals Online (no time). The UK Funeral Industry. Available at: http://www.uk-funerals.co.uk/funeral-industry.html
IBISWorld (2016) Funeral Activities Market Research Report. Available at: https://www.ibisworld.co.uk/market-research/funeral-activities.html
Financial Times (2016). Funeral business reaps profits as UK death rate soars. Available at: https://www.ft.com/content/b6053e72-fd8b-11e5-b3f6-11d5706b613b
The UK insurance industry the largest in Europe and the third largest in the world, it plays an essential part in the UK’s economy, managing investments of over £1.9 trillion. It also makes £29 billion contribution to GDP in 2012 and employs around 344,000 individuals (Association of British Insurance, 2014).
Insurance is a contract which represented by a policy for individuals or entity to seek financial protection from an insurance company (investopedia). For insurance industry, there are different types of insurance such as auto insurance, home insurance, health insurance and medical care (All Kinds of Insurance, 2017).
The main player includes Legal

Kirkpatrick’s Four-Level Training Evaluation Model Applied

Case Scenario
Sunshine Supermarket is an upcoming supermarket in Singapore. It first opened its door for business in the year 2014 at Jurong East. Sunshine Supermarket’s primary aim is ‘to serve the customer’. Keeping existing customers happy is important, as they are more likely to return. This is more cost effective for the business than acquiring new ones. Sunshine Supermarket’s original product range of grocery and general merchandise has diversified to include home appliances, electrical goods as well as telephone equipment.
In the past two year Sunshine Supermarket’s growth has been massive mainly due to its excellent customer service and quality of products. Sunshine Supermarket’s market expansion strategy is to penetrate further in the Singapore market by opening the second store in Punggol.
Sunshine Supermarket would be recruiting 10 more retails staffs, three for the current branch and seven for the new branch. The new recruits would be foreign nationals with no prior retail experience. They would have to be trained in customer service, merchandising, stock taking and other functions. All employees have a varied style of learning.
Three retails staffs who have been exemplary employees in the first branch will be promoted to the role of Store Manager, Purchase Manager and Supervisor respectively. Currently they lack leadership skills which may impede their performance in the new store.
Growth Prospects:
Sunshine Supermarket is currently pursuing the market development strategy to expand its operations and they are planning to enter into UK market in 2017.

Before explaining Kirkpatrick’s four levels of Training Evaluation it is important to understand why such evaluation is done. There are various types of evaluations techniques to understand and “Kirkpatrick’s for levels of Training Evaluation” is just one of the thousand methods of training method that is used by training organizations to determine their training program effectiveness.
The reason for a new recruit, promoted employee or anyone who is sincere enough to hold a job position that they are not trained would feel he/she wants to be trained before taking up that particular responsibility that their organization is assigning them. Each person have a different thinking e.g. I want be trained because I want to be accepted by my company, I want to be trained because I want to be trusted by my company, I want my company and my fellow managers to understand that they need me, and etc (Selvaraj, 2016).
On the other hand the company will also feel confident that the person who has undergo the training program will be on his/her 100% in performing the job title given, as they are trained professionally on how to handle. There will be lots of changes in the management of the company e.g. senior management listening to whatever advice you might given for the company, the company promoting you faster because of the sincere you might be showing, you will be of course given more control since you are trained, and importantly they know that your quality of work will improve (Selvaraj, 2016).
Lastly and most importantlyin order for both parties above, “person undergoing the course” and “company” to be satisfied, the training organization’s training programmes MUST be easily knowledgeable for anyone taking up the course to understand so that they can perform the right work performance in the company’s work environment.
And in order for any training organization that wants to meet their objective have to evaluate their training programmes.
But there is three main reasons for a training organization to evaluate their training programmes and it is for deciding on whether to continue or discontinue a training program if it’s too disliked by many, and to gain information on how they can improve their training programmes for their future training programs, and lastly and importantly if the budget and training received contributes to their organization’s objective and goals (Selvaraj, 2016).
Apart from main reasons but common reasons for training evaluations are often known to determine the effectiveness of a program and ways in which it can be improved, usually the training programmes continue as of how they were going but minor feedbacks are also taken for consideration at times to keep up the standard of their owns training organizations, they are often know to the following below (Selvaraj, 2016):
Is the trainer the best one qualified to teach?
Are the schedules appropriate for the trainees?
Are the facilities beyond satisfactory?
Was the coordination of the program up or beyond satisfactory?
What can be done to improve the program?
Is the trainer providing effective methods for maintaining interest and teach the desired attitudes, knowledge, and skills?
In overall training organizations do evaluation for improving future programs and at times this evaluation is the only way they can decide upon to continue or drop a programme if unsatisfied by many

(Source, Google: http://www.kirkpatrickpartners.com/portals/0/Images/Optmized Photos/chain (2).jpg)
If you provide training for your team or your organization, then you certainly should know how essential it is to determine its efficiency. Besides, you don’t want to waste time or funds on training that does not give a good turnover (Mindtools, 2016).
Here is when Kirkpatrick’s Four-Level Training Evaluation Model can assist you in determining the efficiency and force of your training, so that you can improve it in the future, there is four levels that represent the sequence of ways to evaluate the training program (Mindtools, 2016).
Level 1 – Reaction
Level 2 – Learning
Level 3 – Behaviour
Level 4 – Results
Level 1 – Reaction: As the phrase reaction implies, evaluation on this level measures how those who participate in the program respond to it. It can be also known as the measure of customer (stakeholder) satisfaction. Evaluation reaction is known to be the same thing as measuring customer satisfaction (Mindtools, 2016).
If training is going to be useful, it is important that trainees respond well to it. Otherwise they will not be motivated to be trained. Also, they will tell others of their reactions. Several trainers call the forms that are used for the evaluation of reaction happiness sheets (Selvaraj, 2016).
The importance of Measuring Reaction at Level 1: It gives the training organization important feedback that helps them to evaluate the program with them as well as comments and suggestions for improving future programs (Trainingindustry, 2016).
The reason of this is to tell the trainees that the trainers are there to help them do their job better and that they need that feedback from them to conclude the efficiency of the program (Trainingindustry, 2016).
Reaction sheets can provide quantitative information that they can give to managers and others concerned with the particular program, furthermore the, Reaction sheets can provide trainers with quantitative information that can be used to establish standards of performance for future programs (Trainingindustry, 2016).
Level 2 – Learning: At this level the training organization must determine what the trainees have learned. The three things that an instructor can teach the trainees are knowledge, skills, and attitudes so it is important for the training organization to determine on what knowledge was learned? What skills were developed or improved? And what attitudes were changed in them?
So it is important that training organizations measure the trainees learning because no change in behaviour can be expected unless one or more of those learning objectives have been accomplished in their training programmers (Mindtools, 2016).
Level 3 – Behaviour: At this level the training organization have to evaluate their trainees behaviour based on the training they received, in other words this helps trainers understand how their trainees manage to apply that information they learn in the training programme. The training organization must understand this because the behaviour can only change if the conditions are favourable in the programme, for example if the training organization has skipped the first two Kirkpatrick’s levels, and by looking at the trainees group behaviour, they determine that no behaviour change had taken place. Perhaps they might have assumed that the trainees have not learned anything and the training was ineffective (Mindtools, 2016).
On the other hand it’s not just about evaluating behaviour changes. It’s not right to judge just based on behaviour at all times, because the trainee’s boss might not have let them apply any new knowledge. And maybe the trainees have actually learned everything from the training programme but they have no desire in apply that knowledge themselves, so it’s hard to judge because we are dealing with human beings not machine (Mindtools, 2016).
Level 4 – Results: At this level the training organization have to analyze the final results of their training in the programme. This also includes the findings of the trainer, the training organization have determined for good of the business, employees, and for everyone, eventually the training organization can use this result for future reference or etc (Selvaraj, 2016).
That’s the end of explanation on Kirkpatrick’s Four – Level of Training Evaluation.
There are different types of training evaluation methods that can be used to evaluate any possible outcomes of different scenarios people face e.g. training evaluation, learning, and etc. But Kirkpatrick’s four level of training evaluation actually covers all expertise of needed data in an evaluation. NTUC Learning Hub was the training organization that trained Sunshine Supermarket’s new recruits and promoted employees based on their training needs.
They trained their new recruits based on their problems that were initiated by their company, Sunshine Supermarket. They actually had 10 new recruits but they were all of foreign national and with no retail experience.
Sunshine Supermarket wanted all of the 10 recruits to be trained upon Basic English even before they attend courses that were related to their job. Sunshine Supermarket wanted all 10 recruits to be trained on merchandising, customer servicing, stock taking, and also with other retail related function. NTUC Learning Hub conducted all needed training on their new recruits based on Sunshine Supermarket’s request.
On the other hand, Sunshine Supermarket had 3 promoted employees in their first branch who were promoted to be a Store Manager, Purchase Manager, and Supervisor respectively. Sunshine Supermarket planned to deploy this three promoted employees in their new store, but before they actually take up their job position, they felt it’s a necessity for them to attend leadership trainings before taking up their job roles. NTUC Learning Hub trained all the three promoted employees based on Sunshine Supermarket’s request.
NTUC Learning Hub (Training Organization) MUST use the Kirkpatrick’s Four – Level of Training Evaluation Model to evaluate their training on Sunshine Supermarket’s (Trained Company) new recruits and promoted employees (Company’s Personnel – Who are Trained).
It is important to understand Kirkpatrick’s Four – Levels of Training Evaluation is just a method of evaluate. Identifying how to use will vary case to case basis. This evaluation method is an ART NOT a SCIENCE. As for Sunshine Supermarket, it will be the training organization evaluating the first two levels (level 1

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