Canadian Retailer - Summer 2011 - (Page 40)

| TRAINING AND EDUCATION E-LEARNING: By Denise Deveau the evolution of retail training or a growing number of retail operations, elearning is becoming the de facto standard when it comes to training staff in all the ways of the retail world – from new product introductions and sales tips to onboarding new employees and compliance training. And for those who have forayed into this still burgeoning form of retail education, the results have been tremendous. As Judi McDonald, Director of Training Services at Hudson’s Bay Company says, “e-learning went from being a choice to the choice for training our employees.” In fact, since launching an e-learning program in 2005, she reports that course completions among employees have grown from 98,000 a year to 215,000. Theirs is not the only e-learning success story. Best Buy in Vancouver has become a prolific user of programs for its 7,000 employees. Its repertoire includes over 200 modules for onboarding, new products, technology, and human resources (pension plans, ethics, health and safety, etc; with 1.5 new modules introduced each month on average. THEN AND NOW e-learning has not always been as widespread a training success as it appears to be today. According to Claire Schooley, Senior Analyst with Forrester Research Inc. in Berkeley, Calif., it has changed dramatically over the last ten years. “It used to have a very negative reputation, because people thought it was just reading something online page by page. Really, it’s much more of a blend- F “Turnover has been reduced by over 40% since we launched e-learning five years ago. I’m not saying that’s all due to that, but I do think e-learning has helped us engage our employees better and demonstrates our commitment to developing their careers.” – JANICE ANTAYA-FINLAYSON, BEST BUY CANADA ed learning experience that could use webinars, virtual classrooms, online mentoring, knowledge centres and other interactive components.” e-learning can make a huge difference in engaging users, says Linda Koechli, Manager e-learning Initiatives and Course Development at Ryerson’s The Chang School. She confirms, however, that wasn’t always the case. “In the early days, it was more about pushing content and reading it online. As technology advanced it gave opportunities to do more interactive and peer-topeer learning. Today it can take you beyond memorization to comprehension and more critical thinking skills.” While the retail sector may not be as advanced as others such as financial services, tech companies and pharmaceutical/healthcare organizations in introducing e-learning to their operations, there’s no question it makes a lot of sense given the training challenges retailers face, Schooley says. “There’s a lot of turnover with sales associates – up to 100% or higher for some. And because technology is so pervasive with younger people, e-learning is integral to the learning process.” That being said, retailers do face some challenges in terms of content creation and delivery, says Sean Sedlezky, Manager of Program Design within Ted Rogers School of Retail at Ryerson. “Some may not have the technology at store level to deliver it, and there could be inconsistency in terms of resources if staff members train at home.” KEEPING IT REAL e-learning solves a dilemma often faced by the retailer: information overload in face-to-face training sessions, Schooley says. In the case of onboarding for example, the typical approach taken by many organizations is to give new employees their passwords and other essentials. “Then HR spends the rest of the day talking to the point where trainees can’t remember anything. Statistics have shown however, that if you don’t have good onboarding programs, many times employees will leave after the first month.” Janice Antaya-Finlayson, VP of Human Resources for Best Buy Canada has the numbers to prove that e-learning plays a big part in retaining staff. “Turnover has been reduced by over 40% since we 40 | canadian retailer | summer 2011 |

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Canadian Retailer - Summer 2011

Canadian Retailer - Summer 2011
Publisher’s Desk
Shop Talk
Mobile Retail
Leadership Series
In Your Best Interest
Sector Spotlight
Retail Innovation
LP Roundtable
LP Technology
PCI Compliance
Technology Leadership
Training and Education
Advertisers’ Index
Have Your Say

Canadian Retailer - Summer 2011