“TRAINING LUNCH”: HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY RUN VIRTUAL TRAINING IN A LARGE RETAIL CHAIN WITH 316,000 EMPLOYEES
The big retailer’s strategic decision on corporate learning
In early 2020, prior to the onset of the pandemic, the retailer recognized the significance of online learning as a strategic approach. With a workforce of over 316,000 employees and numerous branches spanning the country, the company sought innovative methods to deliver content swiftly and efficiently. Consequently, there was a focused effort to increase the utilization of online platforms, particularly for skills training.
Customer service representatives
Inventory management staff
Loss prevention specialists
Examples of learning programs:
"Managing Socially Challenging Situations"
"Effective Sales Techniques"
"Advanced Store Management Strategies"
"Enhancing Customer Experience"
"Optimizing Inventory Management"
"Visual Merchandising Best Practices"
"Loss Prevention and Security Protocols"
Difficult transition to online: the company's top management recognized the future potential of online learning and made the decision to transition it from offline to online in 2020. However, a major challenge arose as the majority of employees initially held a negative attitude towards online learning. They were accustomed to traditional offline learning in classrooms. It was crucial to change this mindset by demonstrating that online learning can be just as effective, if not more so, in certain cases. Benefits included saved travel time and the ability to quickly engage top experts from various locations. Therefore, all processes needed to be streamlined and user-friendly.
Lengthy ineffective learning materials: recognizing that prolonged online sessions lacked efficacy, there was a need to break down the content into smaller, focused units. This approach would ensure better engagement and flexibility in learning.
Slow creation of new learning programs: there was a requirement for a user-friendly content assembly system that allowed for the rapid creation of customized programs.
Blended learning had to be delivered via one platform: as the company embraced a blended learning approach, combining synchronous online sessions with self-study materials, the need for a suitable platform to support and facilitate this strategy emerged. The L&D team recognized the significance of having all learning components consolidated in one place to optimize the learning experience.
All learning processes should be automated: ensuring a seamless learning experience for users was essential. Reminders about upcoming courses and timely notifications regarding schedule changes were critical to avoid any missed opportunities. A mobile application was also crucial to enable employees to access training materials conveniently from any location.
The retailer’s strategy was to transfer all corporate training into online and automate learning processes
Path to Lanes: a definitive choice in favor of the platform
When it came to online learning, finding the right platform was crucial for the retailer's L&D team. Initially, they considered popular digital solutions like Zoom and Microsoft Teams. However, they soon recognized that the global shift to online learning demanded robust support. That's when they discovered the Lanes platform, which not only provided exceptional onboarding for new clients but also delivered top-notch technical support, surpassing what other solutions offered.
The advantages that solidified the L&D team's choice of Lanes as the preferred platform, paving the way for effective corporate learning in online space:
Onboarding for trainers and instructional designers:
Lanes offers a significant advantage for companies venturing into synchronous online learning. The platform provides extensive onboarding for trainers and instructional designers, equipping them with the knowledge of optimal equipment usage and methodological nuances specific to online adult education. This comprehensive learning program ensured a smooth transition and empowered trainers to deliver engaging and effective virtual training.
Intuitive Program Builder with built-in activities:
Lanes simplifies the process of creating learning programs. Its intuitive Program Builder allows to effortlessly design training sessions, group them into cohesive programs, and easily schedule them with just a few clicks. The numerous engaging built-in activities such as role-pays, brainstorming, breakout rooms and more help make training design as easy as ABC.
Adherence to company standards:
with a plethora of learning programs and a large workforce to train in corporations, ensuring consistent training delivery aligned with company standards becomes paramount. In Lanes, trainers are guided to follow the prescribed training structure (scenario), enabling managers to monitor training analytics and maintain a uniform training experience.
Reliable technical support:
while Lanes has a user-friendly interface and a seamless Program Builder, technical nuances can occasionally occur. However, Lanes stands out with its reliable technical support, promptly addressing any issues and providing clear instructions from their tech specialists.
Platform accessibility from any device:
the flexibility to access the platform from any device offers a significant advantage. Participants are not confined to a desktop computer; they can conveniently connect to training sessions using smartphones or tablets, ensuring freedom of choice in terms of location and time.
"In Lanes, the trainer cannot deviate from the predetermined training structure. While this may not be very convenient for those who prefer to make on-the-spot adjustments or switch to alternative approaches, it offers a comfortable working style for novice trainers. The training scenario helps subject matter experts who begin their journey in virtual training to focus on delivering sessions without distractions. Additionally, the scenario-based approach enables us to involve more subject matter experts and scale our training efforts. Although there is some flexibility, Lanes emphasizes adherence to the training structure, which is a definite advantage for us as it ensures consistency and upholds our company's training standards." - Director of the Corporate Academy
Finally, overcoming challenges and embracing success
The company successfully transitioned corporate training to the online space:
once the managers familiarized themselves with the platform and recognized its user-friendly nature, cost-effectiveness, and ability to replicate offline skill practice, their attitude underwent an immediate positive transformation. The visually appealing interface of the platform further facilitated the adaptation to virtual training throughout the corporation. Trainers and subject matter experts predominantly provide positive feedback, and employees express a fondness for virtual training too. They actively participate in training activities, maintaining high levels of engagement without distraction. The overall experience proves to be captivating and enriching for all involved.
The majority of trainers have embraced online learning:
80% of trainers express their satisfaction with working in Lanes. The synchronous online format has provided an opportunity for trainers who may not have excelled in offline settings to shine and demonstrate their exceptional skills online. In the virtual realm, these trainers have truly emerged as stars, leveraging the platform's capabilities to deliver outstanding training experiences.
A new work format has emerged to adapt to the ever-changing industry landscape:
instead of designing and delivering long programs, the corporation now employs learning sprints lasting 3-4 months. This agile approach recognizes the rapid pace at which skills evolve and emphasizes the importance of adapting quickly. By shifting from long-term programs spanning years to shorter projects tailored to specific needs, the corporation ensures cost-effectiveness and relevance in addressing skill requirements in a timely manner.
Bite-sized learning content at a “training lunch”:
over the course of the first year, the L&D team transformed the majority of large learning programs into easily digestible microcontent. Gone are the days of lengthy two-hour courses. Instead, the company offers bite-sized training lasting 5, 10, or maximum 15 minutes. Employees can conveniently engage with this content at their own pace, even during lunch breaks - a concept the company fondly refers to as "training lunch". This flexible and time-efficient approach allows for seamless integration into their daily routines, maximizing learning opportunities and knowledge retention.
Blended learning has become an integral part of corporate training:
to ensure comprehensive skill development, the L&D team has incorporated a combination of self-guided microlearning and virtual training at Lanes. Before engaging in virtual training sessions, employees first go through self-guided microlearning courses that include video tutorials and topic-relevant content. This initial phase helps establish a strong foundation of knowledge. Subsequently, during virtual training sessions, employees have the opportunity to apply their acquired knowledge and practice specific skills in real time with their peers. This blended learning approach maximizes learning outcomes by combining self-paced learning with engaging virtual sessions.
Soft and hard skills are both trained in an online setting:
Lanes has been successfully utilized for synchronous online skills training, enabling employees to develop proficiency in various areas. From working with financial reporting to learning how to analyze processes and draw independent conclusions, employees can now acquire these essential skills within the Lanes platform. Additionally, they can build specific action plans to apply their newfound knowledge in practical ways. The comprehensive range of skills training available in Lanes empowers employees to enhance their professional capabilities and contribute to the company's success.
Significant time and cost savings:
the online learning format has revolutionized the training approach in the corporation, enabling it to rapidly launch training programs in any region or efficiently train 2,500 individuals across the country within a span of just two weeks. This streamlined process eliminated the need for extensive business trips and associated travel expenses. In contrast, organizing such training offline would require substantial time and resources, including gathering participants from different cities, organizing meetings, and facilitating return travel. Considering the expansive territorial distribution, the convenience and cost-effectiveness of online learning are undeniable.
Outstanding analytics is accessible with the snap of fingers:
monitoring the effectiveness of corporate learning is of paramount importance for the business. Lanes provides instant training analytics that can be downloaded as a report just after the training session. Moreover, the L&D team tests employees who underwent training 3 times: before, immediately after, and two months post-training. Additionally, the feedback from managers on how employees apply their new skills over time proves the training effectiveness. By carefully tracking these outcomes, the L&D team and the top management clearly see the impact of training on business results.
Digital footprints are utilized to make training better:
the training data allows to make informed decisions, adapt and refine programs, emphasize specific competencies, and develop even better training content.
Corporate culture is continuously fostered:
employees demonstrate a strong commitment to virtual training and take personal responsibility for their professional development, as they recognize that their career success is directly linked to the outcomes they achieve. This contributes to a dynamic learning environment where individuals actively invest in their own growth and advancement.
"In the rapidly evolving EdTech market, it is paramount for companies to actively listen and adapt their solutions to meet customer needs. Our collaboration with Lanes has been transformative, propelling us into a strategic partnership. We consistently provide constructive feedback based on practical application, fostering a dynamic exchange. The Lanes team, in turn, demonstrates remarkable flexibility, swift problem-solving, and innovative solutions tailored to our needs.”