STORES Magazine - June 2008 - (Page 66)

NUTS AND BOLTS / HUMAN RESOURCES After participating in the e-learning program, “people are ready to work on the line in front of customers or behind the scenes much faster than they used to be.” — Bonnie Zownir, Subway Start Fresh At Subway, e-training begins before associates make their first sandwich BY FRED MINNICK I t may not be Harvard, but Subway University is reaching more countries (86) and educating more young people (28,000) each year than any Ivy League school could ever dream of. The sandwich staffers learn everything from customer service and food preparation to store security and using the register. In fact, Bonnie Zownir, director of worldwide training for Subway, says the quick-service chain offers hundreds of courses online through SkillSoft, a Nashua, N.H., provider of on-demand e-learning and performance support solutions for global enterprises, government, education and small to mediumsized businesses. About two-thirds of Subway locations have somebody taking courses at any given time. A new hire comes into the store and takes courses without need of franchisee supervision. “After the students have taken a course, it’s much faster to get that employee up to speed on the ‘hands on’ because they’ve already seen the course material and they understand the topic in advance,” Zownir says. 66 STORES / JUNE 2008 “Just from the reports that we’re getting, people are ready to work on the line in front of customers or behind the scenes much faster than they used to be.” Franchisees have classes, too. The owners take courses on paper work, management reports, hiring, interviewing, retention and sexual harassment. Subway also is adding courses on various state and national laws that the company believes are pertinent to the job. These courses “definitely are not replacing the operations manual,” Zownir says. “However, we use that as the basis of our courses because everything in our courses has to agree with what’s in our operations manual.” Subway can offer courses in multiple languages, and the university is open 24/7. “We find that there’s a lot of usage after we leave and before we come in the next day,” Zownir says. “It’s good to be reaching everybody when it’s convenient for them.” Before SkillSoft’s solution, Subway was training franchise owners in a Milford, Conn., classroom. “They were quite proud of the fact that they’d run 5,000 people through that facility in a year,” says Scott Fillenworth, vice president for SkillSoft. “We said, ‘Well, when we’re done with you, you’re going to be running 100 times, 200 times, 300 times more people through your training programs.’ And in fact, now they’re at a run rate of about a half million people a year who are taking and completing training courses.” Perhaps it was this kind of case study that made SkillSoft a Wall Street darling during the first quarter of 2008. The company reported 2008 fiscal revenue of $281.2 million, a 25 percent increase over the same period in 2007, and net income of $60 million. Strategic mergers Despite a softening economy, SkillSoft hopes to boost revenue to between $328 million and $336 million this year because training over the Internet is less exWWW.STORES.ORG http://WWW.STORES.ORG

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of STORES Magazine - June 2008

STORES Magazine - June 2008
Executive Editor's Page
President's Page
Tesco Tests Carbon Labels
What Shoppers Think
10 Things You May Have Missed
Numbers Worth Counting
Full Price/Markdown
Retail People
Cover Story: Boom - or Bust
Green Retailing
Online Marketing
Building Traffic
Water Management
Digital Marketing
Loyalty Programs
Special Report: Taking on Teens
Supply Chain - Robo Crop
Human Resources
Supply Chain - Directory Assistance
Loeb Retail Letter
ARTS Update
Point of View
NRF News
Retail Crossword
Retail Industry Calendar
Last Laugh

STORES Magazine - June 2008