Imagine walking into an 85-year old company and finding out there was no established training and development program. This is the situation that Ginger McCullough faced five years ago at Brookshire Grocery Company.
McCullough, who is now vice president of Training and Change Management at Brookshire’s, shared her company’s journey implementing SuccessFactors Learning at SAPPHIRE NOW, SAP’s largest annual customer event held this week in Orlando, Florida.
With thousands of employees in 155 stores across three states, McCullough says that having field-based training was crucial, along with change management. “Anybody can put in a LMS (learning management system), but if you’re not ready for it with the resources, a plan, and the foundation and solid structure for the technology, you’re not setting yourself up for success.”
Project methodology, executive reinforcement and field participation crucial
Laying the groundwork for a positive outcome at Brookshire’s, McCullough developed both a project methodology for the company’s LMS and a project approach for its implementation. Built-in methods for on-site reinforcement have replaced the previous “launch and leave” approach to training. Executive sponsors are highly visible in videotaped messages, while project teams have a designated administrative ownership role when systems go live. Active field participation was equally crucial.
“We brought in everyone that had a representative of a key user experience including retail stores, manufacturing facilities, logistics department,” says McCullough.
Rebranding changes employee attitudes
Unlike typical implementations of this kind of software, Brookshire’s called its new training system “LEARN.” The acronym stands for Leadership Empowerment and Resource Network, reflecting the company’s aspirations to create a culture of learning. “Some of the smart people on the project team were Gen Y employees and they branded in LEARN from day one. It’s really cool when you’re trying to create that culture and everyone immediately brands that technology, customizing it and building up excitement about what LEARN could deliver,” says McCullough.
Employees appreciate the personalized log-in page that greets employees, providing a complete dashboard of available and completed training. With an internal university, employees also use the technology to pursue an actual degree offered within Brookshire’s. The entire system has allowed the company to deliver more training faster and in a more consistent manner.
Measurable results include employee engagement, savings, and safety
One year after going live, Brookshire’s has a 100 percent acceptance rates among employees participating in the 92 available training courses. Over 300,000 users have completed these courses, including 9,000 individuals. Brookshire’s is also developing short, interactive custom courses to meet growing demands across the organization.
“When we started, we placed a white board up in our training department because we had so many requests from every department. People have realized that this is so much more than a place for training,” says McCullough.
LEARN also provide cost-savings and safety benefits. McCullough says that one cashier training program resulted in $165,000 of fuel savings while keeping employees off the road. “Replacing onsite training with cloud-based learning modules saves us money. And, if someone doesn’t understand the material the first time, we can easily reassign modules without having to send them somewhere.”
Meanwhile, in this video, Brookshire’s employees share their wish list for future courses that range from onboarding new hires and workforce management to supermarket Spanish, forklift training, and food safety. Using SuccessFactors Learning software, Brookshire’s has been able to create more than a training and development program. LEARN has become a vibrant platform for employee engagement aligned with company growth.