The retail industry tends to be decentralized in nature, with a large corporate entity overseeing several smaller branches or franchise operations. The challenge for many companies with a decentralized structure is that employees in one division or locality are operating in accordance with procedures and policies with little or no knowledge of or regard for overall corporate goals and objectives.
Consistent brand image and customer service are critical to the success of retail outlets. Many organizations find that online talent management solutions can help them quickly and dependably train and maintain their dispersed employee base. Delivering consistent training programs across all locations can be challenging and complex, and video- and workbook-based training are time consuming and dated. In addition, employees do not always have time to keep their training updated, especially in retail.
Working in a dynamic and competitive industry, retail employees must be well-versed in and trained on the latest sales promotions and ready to respond to competitive changes and pressures when corporate headquarters issues such directives. Without access to timely, consistent and appropriate training, retail organizations will find it difficult and expensive to compete effectively.
Royal Ahold is an example of how a global organization operating different companies and business units is reaping significant cost and efficiency benefits by implementing centralized software solutions that streamline training and development. Ahold is an international group of quality supermarkets and food-service operators with businesses across the United States and Europe, including Giant, Stop & Shop and Peapod.
Previously, the company conducted manual employee training workshops, which were time consuming and inefficient and made it difficult to roll out uniform training across the entire company. Deploying a centralized Web-based solution that delivered the usability, flexibility and configurability needed to accommodate Ahold’s decentralized organization, the company was able to easily distribute training courses to large employee populations in different locations around the world.
Using an LMS, employees browse an online catalog of courses relevant to their job function and have real-time visibility into what they should be learning and the courses they need to take. They can then take courses when needed and in their own time. To augment and accelerate this process, Ahold also selected a managed services solution that provides a single location where the company can procure, manage, store and update a variety of custom and third-party talent management content and materials.
The flexibility of this solution enables Ahold and its operating companies to integrate their own training processes from several sources into the single LMS system. Ahold developed its own change-management tool kit but contracted with an international provider based in India to develop an online change management learning program. Ahold also contracted with a local provider in the Netherlands for its orientation program and uses a PowerPoint conversion product to bring presentations online. All pieces are integrated seamlessly into the content-integration process.
At the store level, each organization has the ability to develop its own training or contract with local and international vendors to create content. This integrated system provides tremendous flexibility for those who want to do their own thing. The transparency of Ahold’s content delivery ensures a streamlined learning process for Ahold’s associates.
Overall, centralized training allows Ahold to effectively administer, manage and track employee training and development across the entire organization. This integrated approach provides Ahold employees with consistency in training, tracking and reporting while delivering the flexibility necessary for supporting local learning and training requirements and initiatives.