companies love microlearning
Employee Engagement, Microlearning

Discover why companies love microlearning

Looking for the best, most effective and efficient way to train your employees?

Excellent! Do keep reading!

Go Micro or go home 

Every successful company strives towards continuous improvement and positive change, right? Yet finding new ways to be creative and boost sales isn’t always as easy as it sounds. In the end it’s your team, your employees: the core of your company, who come up with the great ideas, new approaches and creative suggestions. In other words: to be successful you need them, and they need you to invest in their knowledge!

“Yes of course I want to give them the knowledge they need, yet there is simply no time or a huge budget to do so, is there? And even if I have figured that out, how do I involve people who just started working here and keep them motivated?”

We’ve got you!

What you are looking for is essentially microlearning:

Microlearning is bite-sized training content, offering just the right amount of knowledge to help a learner achieve a specific, actionable objective. In MobieTrain’s case, employees are provided with 5 minutes of mobile-training daily. Not only does this improve engagement and avoid knowledge overload, it is also proven to improve knowledge retention.

The best way to apply microlearning: Mobile is the new black 

Through delivering microlearning on mobile you support employees in training anywhere at anytime and you’re able to overcome the challenge of reaching a remote and diverse workforce.  Most importantly, you can tackle the challenge of time. Your employees no longer need to take time away from their roles to learn, and are able to seamlessly fit training into their daily workflow.


Variety is the spice of life

What we learn with pleasure, we never forget

Our mission is to apply microlearning in a digital, user-friendly and inventive way throughout our application. Because it’s a tool made for and by retailers, we can even better accommodate today’s workforce and needs.

Don’t forget me

German psychologist Hermann Ebinghaus’ famous ‘forgetting curve’ concept explains why 80% of traditional training is forgotten after 30 days. Microlearning has been designed around 3 proven neuroscience techniques to combat this and boost long-term memory: 

  • Spaced Repetition. Practicing new topics repeatedly over a set amount of time. 
  • Retrieval Practice. Forcing the brain to recall information with strategic questions. 
  • Employee Assessment. Tracking an employee’s increased confidence in each new topic. 

Ready, set, go! 

Gamification is another important way to keep employees engaged and motivated. Badges, awards, gamified elements and quizzes are great examples of how to trigger users to complete their training. Team this up with your own brand incentives and real-life experiences, based on the data that the dashboard will provide. 

One of the ways to do this is to keep content varied and interesting. Videos, rich multimedia, quizzes, polls, infographics and a variety of question formats are just some of the ways to accomplish that.

Let’s get personal

However, it is equally, if not more important to inspire employees to be intrinsically motivated to drive their own career development. This opposed to extrinsic motivation with rewards and leaderboards. This can be achieved through personalisation and individual learning paths where employees can easily see and track their own progress.

Trust your own instinct

Besides the fact that your learning path can be personalised, it’s also intuitive and user-friendly. The whole track is designed to keep the learning process fun and easy, without having to search for hours where to find your track, how to log in, where to get started, etc. 

In the end, it’s about finding the best tool for your employees while embracing the future and keeping the constant changes in mind. Microlearning is the future, so why not be part of it?

“Learning is an experience. Everything else is just information.” – Albert Einstein 

retail mobilelearning perfect marriage
Customer Experience, Employee Engagement, Microlearning

Why m-learning and retail are the perfect marriage

Retail has changed. The fast tempo at which new collections are churned out, makes for a never-ending stream of new items, information and customers entering your store. Just 2 collections a year is no longer the standard. Retailers like Zara can turn out up to 104 (!) micro-seasons. That’s fast fashion for you.

Retail sales training however, has not really evolved with its counterpart. In most cases, it has remained a classroom training with some coaching on the job if the newbie is lucky.
The constant influx of new information for your staff on the floor, as well as the level of customer service you want to provide to your customers, makes you rethink this.

You’ve probably heard your employees talking about these trainings; they’ll be sitting in a classroom training for 2 days. Asking themselves who all these people are, hoping for tasty sandwiches during lunch (they never are) and most of all, wondering if they’ll still remember all this information next week.

We can see a couple pitfalls coming back when it comes to retail sales training:

  1. The training does not take the deskless workforce into account.
    It gives out information in bundles of paper ‘to look over at home’. Or it expects people to sit behind a computer at the back of house for hours, doing e-learnings.
  2. The training is not personalized to the specific employee and their role.
    A new employee needs a completely different approach than some of your more seasoned sales associates. One size fits all, is rarely applicable in fashion, why try it with training?
  3. The training is very intensive for a day… until it’s finished.
    Usually the classroom trainings are quite in-depth. There’s a trainer on hand for questions and the entire time, they’re emerged in knowledge and information about the brand, its history, its commitments… And then, just like that, it’s done.
    They get no follow ups on how they’re applying it in-store and can’t ask questions. (Like a Tinder-date, it disappears after 3 days, never to be heard from again.)
  4. The training does not evolve with the employee.
    Imagine having to do the same training every year and not having the option to tell your manager what you’d like to learn or which skill you’d like to hone. Contrary to popular belief, sales associates do want to learn and develop themselves.

Do not worry, we did not list up all these troubles just to have you realize the shortcomings your training is dealing with. Because there is a perfect solution for all of these pitfalls discussed above.

Mobile learning + Microlearning = Best of both worlds

Mobile learning and more specifically, microlearning are no new phenomena. It has become more and more obvious these are excellent solutions to many of the problems that come along with a stuffy classroom training.
The combination of both micro and mobile, plus offering training in small increments whenever the employee feels like it, is the fundament of mobile microlearning.
It just might be the best of both worlds.

Allow me, to tell you why.

 

Mobile microlearning is an ‘Anytime & Anywhere’-formula of learning

People take their mobile device everywhere these days. Your employees are not confined to desks for this mobile training and can choose for themselves, when and where to start the training.
Mobile microlearning makes this even more convenient by offering the information in bite-sized learning moments. This way it is even more inviting to start AND finish a new training.

The retail sales training can be as up-to-date as you want it to be

You can implement relevant viral videos in the training, and tailor the learning experience to the employee’s need and lifestyle.
This is especially relevant in retail, as you want everyone to stay up-to-date on their product knowledge and give the customers the best experience and service as possible.
For example: When the launch of a new shoe comes around the corner, it is so much more convenient to communicate all of the features and benefits of the new item through your mobile microlearning platform.

With the mobile microlearning option, you can bring all necessary information to your employees in a fun and engaging way on the moment they need it!

Mobile microlearning makes retaining information easier

By doing little pieces of the sales training over a longer period of time, retention of information will be much higher. With our built-in AI, our mobile micro learning app can track your employee’s progress and hurdles. In the retention moments, it will focus on the parts they have difficulties with. Not to forget, employees can choose to repeat a relevant learning moment if they spot their own knowledge gap.

They can do this by searching the app for tags with our search function, this will then generate the relevant learning moments, corresponding to the searched tags. These relevant learning moments will pop up, so they can be done once over.

Of course you as employer can check their progress as well and compliment when it goes great. This way, if necessary, you can provide support and motivation to those who may need it.

The training reaches all of your employees at the same time

Less classroom info sessions need to be arranged and less people need to be away from the store to follow this training (double win!). It can be launched to every employee, in every store, all around the world, at the same time. The future truly is now.
Goodbye to complicated schedules to figure out when you can send everybody to this new training but still need to have the store covered. Mobile microlearning brings the information to your employees and nobody has to go anywhere.
Another big pro is the fact that a newbie can start learning at the moment they join your company, no need to wait for a prescheduled classroom session. Immediate action!

Personalized mobile microlearning keeps the employees engaged

Sales associates can choose what to learn and focus on the subjects they’re interested in most. Afterwards they can finish the rest. It is all up to them to decide how they digest the available retail sales training. By offering small increments of training, you get rid of the usual “dread” employees have when confronted with new information to learn.
It makes it fun, engaging and even touches on the competitive side as you can motivate your employees to reach certain high scores before a predetermined date!

Mobile devices are everywhere and if you look at social media apps like Instagram, these offer bite sized chunks of information as well. You can only post 60 sec videos on Instagram, for example.
Mobile microlearning works the same way in that it offers short, digestible blocks of information.
Employees are much more inclined to start a learning moment, if they know it will be engaging, personalized and relevant. And to top it all off, it’ll only take them about 5 minutes a day!

New collections entering stores at a high pace, sales associates that are not always full-timers, but also students or seasonal workers and the increasingly knowledgeable customers.
These are just a few challenges of sales in retail today. Of course you need to be on the lookout for the most effective, engaging way of training and educating your employees.
With mobile microlearning, you can avoid the usual catches coming along with the old-school classroom trainings!

 

Source reference:
1. ‘5 Common Problems With Retail Sales Training And How To Fix Them’ – Yoobic, 1 August 2019
2. ‘6 Key Benefits to Mobile Learning’ – Suresh DN, 29 August 2018
3. ‘5 Training challenges and e-learning solutions for the Retail Industry’ – CommLab India Bloggers, 10 May 2018
4. ‘7 awesome advangatges of Mobile Learning’ – John Laskaris 17 January 2018
5. ‘What the advantages and disadvantages of mobile learning are’ – Priyanka Gautam, 23 November 2018

onboarding retail employees
Employee Engagement

The best way to onboard employees in retail

Most of us know it as one of the most difficult parts in retail to find the right employees and keep them interested and motivated. As a matter of fact, 30% of new employees leave within the first year. No wonder it is perceived as an ongoing battle. Well, we’re here to tell you:

It shouldn’t be!

With the right tools and mindset, you are on your way to a well-educated and eager-to-learn team, that will blow your socks off.

And honestly, we’re here to do the same. Stay with us for an overview of the pitfalls and the process of onboarding in retail and some tips and tricks to make your job easier.

Let’s dive right in with the most pressing concerns in onboarding:

Pitfalls

With the right onboarding track there’s a 91% chance of keeping the newcomer. Without it, chances reduce to 30%.

Furthermore, a good onboarding promises a productivity that is 54% higher and 34% faster than without one. Sounds like enough reason to invest some time in that more elaborate welcome, don’t you think?

And that’s exactly where the problem lies: Time!

We understand that in retail, time is gold and that there isn’t always enough of it to train your employees. It’s also common that training sessions are organized by the head office on certain days, so there might be a long waiting time to get your employee’s training on.

You know how it goes: a new employee starts in summer. It’s a busy time with sales and seasonal changes. To get them on board, you would need to take an employee out of their workflow to train them. This means that you lose two people (the trainer and the trainee) on the floor, and this for a large amount of time. It’s not an ideal situation and it doesn’t always work like that.

As a result, there’s a lot of learning by doing or a one-off explanation to train employees. Experience tells us that’s not the way to go. As you may suspect there’s a lot to gain with the right onboarding. A small time-investment can go a long way!

Let’s check out how to establish the right setting for motivational learning.

Process

Preboarding

Most of the time, there’s a certain period between signing the contract and the employee starting at your company. It’s important to maintain contact during this period to create involvement and trust with your new team member.

You can start by sending some congratulations! Sounds easy, but it proves to be enormously effective.

You can address the interests that are currently living within the team to involve not only the new employee, but also your existing team. Remember to explain how the new team member can find their contact person and set up a short introduction.

Of course, you can’t forget the administrative obligations, but be sure not to start with it. You wouldn’t want to come across as another boring employer, do you?

First day

When the start day has finally come, you can make sure to give the newbie a warm welcome (gift baskets for the win!). Be sure to make it a personal welcome to make them feel right at home.

Following days

Most of the companies stop there. But with our help, you can go that little bit further.

Make sure the new employee knows that their opinion matters and that, when working with humans, mistakes are inevitable (we are only machines in the proverbial sense of the word). Just remember to let them know, help is never far away.

First weeks

During those first weeks you can teach them all about the products and services you provide and where they fit in.

Microlearning is the perfect tool to present the company and set expectations. This will also decrease the amount of time you need to invest. It’s a win-win situation!

First months

There’s no need to stop while you’re ahead! Do regular check-ups on the employee’s knowledge. This too can be perfectly sustained with mobile learning!

As you see, it’s important to keep at it. There’s no need to stop after two weeks and let the new employee figure it out for themselves. In retail, they will play an important role in your customer’s experience. There’s no better investment than this!

To summarize

There are some pitfalls, but there are equally as much solutions for it. It’s just a matter of investing in some good onboarding!

Are you convinced? Not yet? No problem. We’ve got some more tips and tricks for you!

Tips and tricks

Our first and best tip is microlearning: there’s no better way to give a lot of information in 3 to 5 minutes a day and retain that info by using interesting video material.

It’s a lot less time invasive and a lot more performant then using another team member to give the training.

This way, you can also keep the training coming for several weeks and elaborate where you want. The existing team can benefit from this as well.

Picture this: a new season, a new collection! That’s a lot of information to take in. You would need a couple of hours to present the information and after that…it’s all gone (like that biology exam you studied so hard for). There’s no retention at all and a lot of time wasted.

With microlearning you don’t have that kind of problem. It gives you and the employee a lot more freedom and isn’t that what we all strive for?

Our second tip can be used in the microlearning platform as well. Wouldn’t it be great if the Managing Director presented himself and the company in a personal video? That video can be shown in a learning moment and followed up by a couple of questions to keep those brain juices flowing. It’s personal and effective: Genius, if you ask us!

Another thing you could do is integrate some trivia about the company or the team to keep it personal and fun, e.g. Did you know Emma loves her spaghetti bolognese? That too can be integrated into a microlearning platform. Win-win again!

Conclusion: A good onboarding is crucial for a strong collaboration between you and your employees!

There are only advantages here:

  • A smoother learning of products and services;
  • Higher productivity;
  • Faster work;
  • More work-related satisfaction with new and existing employees;
  • Better staff retention;
  • The new employees become an ambassador of your company.

What’s not to like?

You may have read between the lines that microlearning is a great add-on when it comes to onboarding. And that’s where MobieTrain comes in!

As Ray Riley, CEO at Progress Retail says it so beautifully:

“The culture of the retail firm needs to embrace continuing education and lifelong learning.”

We couldn’t have said it better!

Business blogging
Employee Engagement, Microlearning

How to create engaging learning content for mobile

Creating engaging and motivating mobile content might sound easy, but in reality, many people struggle to write content that audiences love. Luckily, there are a few easy steps to guide you towards an easy and fun content creation process, so there is no need to stress!

In this article, we’ll look at the 3 key pillars for great content:

  1.     Short, bite-sized information;
  2.     Fun and informative visuals;
  3.     Engaging and creative media.

 

Short, Bite-Sized Content

Keep it short and fun

It may sound obvious, but when writing content for mobile, always keep in mind that your audience will be reading it on their mobile devices. So keep the information as short and concise as possible, otherwise it becomes very difficult to consume a lot of content on small screens.

Keep it friendly

Try not to create an uncomfortable distance between you and the readers by being too formal. Most of the time, it’s best to simply use “I”, “we” or “you” when writing content. For example: “At our stores, we believe in creating a pleasant atmosphere for our customers, how can you achieve this? Multiple answers are possible”.

Try to create scenarios where you sketch a situation and ask a question about it. This is a more appealing way to help your audience to visualise a specific scenario. For example: “When you see a customer entering your store, clearly looking for a certain object, what do you do?”

  1.   “I give the customer some time to look around.”
  2.   “I immediately approach the customer to help him or her.”
  3.    “I welcome the customer into the store and ask if I can help.”

Keep those brains in mind

Try to remember that the human brain can only retain so much, so don’t overload readers with overly-complicated content. Introductions should be clear, easy to understand and as short as possible. For example, try to replace all difficult words with easier to understand synonyms. Brainstorm about what you would really like to teach your employees and write these ideas down on a big sheet of paper. Once you start working on those ideas, it will become easier to create an entire learning-path for your employees.

Keep it relevant

Always keep your target audience in mind. It’s essential that you know exactly who you are writing for. The content creation process will be different for each target group, eg. the style of writing would be quite different for engineers as compared to your sales team.

Nonetheless, no matter who you write for, try to keep it fun and engaging; the whole purpose of mobile-learning is to get everyone on board in a fun and motivating way. Constantly analyse and rewrite the content you create, ask your co-workers for advice and always double-check your spelling.

Keep that feedback coming

Getting the right inspiration for writing good content might not always be easy. You can always base your information on manuals, online courses and the entire internet of resources, but the challenge remains keeping it creative and unique. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to ask your potential audience what kind of content they would like to receive: what type of questions they prefer, what kind of information they would really like to learn more about, what kind of writing style engages them etc.

Once you’ve published the content, always ask for feedback, either through face-to-face meetings or a simple survey. Content creation is a continuous process of improvement and optimisation until you find the perfect level of engagement.

 

 Fun and Informative Visuals  

Switch it up

The goal of using a mobile-learning platform is to create some fun variety for your audience. Instead of creating overwhelming 3-hour long courses where most people will forget 80% of what they have just learnt, you want to keep it fun, short and motivating to increase knowledge retention.

Visuals are a perfect way to do that. By introducing different kinds of visuals such as photos, infographics and animations you create great variety. Online, you can find plenty of royalty free photos. (Check out sites such as Unsplash or Pexels).  Try to find the most relevant, high-quality images; one tag-word is usually enough to find the perfect image to introduce or support your content. Use creative photos as an example of how certain things should or should not look, this makes your content more memorable.

Info-what?

A creative way of providing interesting content is through infographics, which is a visual representation of information or data in a chart or diagram. Creating an infographic is a very easy process: there are several tools which can help. (Try Infogram or Piktochart). All you need to do is to provide the content to the designer and give him or her an idea of what you would like.  

Engaging and Creative Media

Engage the management team

There is nothing more motivating for employees than seeing how engaged their management team is with your chosen mobile platform. Once you explain the benefits of mobile-learning to your employees and show them – perhaps in a video – that you too use and enjoy the app, your employees will get on board even faster than you think.

By filming your existing trainers, managers or other employees and using these videos in the training-platform, you create your own mobile-learning culture. When recording a video, always remember to film horizontally and not vertically as a horizontal video looks much better on mobile-platforms. Try to use professional equipment if possible, although most smartphones these days have excellent video specs!

Once you’ve actually recorded a video, it’s best to upload it on a (private) YouTube-account. This way you can easily copy the YouTube link into the mobile-learning platform. Keep in mind that the quality of the video depends of your internet speed. This means that you might upload a high-quality video but, depending on your internet, it might look different.

Thank you, Google

Don’t have the time or resources to record these videos yourself? No problem! Luckily there are plenty of perfect videos available online. Some are free and others cost some money, but it is always a good idea to invest in good videos as you will be able to use them over and over again. If you’re feeling creative, you can even provide the entire script and idea of the video and online designers can create a personalised video for you. Freelancer sites such as Upwork or Fiverr are easy, affordable ways to do this. 

Creating mobile content isn’t as difficult as you think- so what are you waiting for? Start the creative process today!

millenials gamification mobile learning microlearning Mobietrain
Employee Engagement

How to motivate & retain your millennial workforce

By 2025, millennials will make up three quarters of the global workforce. Yes, 75%!

Defined as anyone born between 1980-2000, and therefore coming of age in the millennium, how many ‘millennials’ do you have working for you? And how confident are you in their loyalty to your company and brand?

As the first generation of true digital natives, technology plays a key role in training, motivating and engaging millennials at work. In the second instalment of our gamification series, we explore how gamified technology can boost your employees’ motivation so that you can captivate and retain the future lifeblood of your brand.

Attracting and Building Talent with Reward-Based Motivation

Why do your employees work for you in the first place? In this competitive marketplace, company culture, salary packages, benefits and team incentives play a big part. Especially with fresh-faced millennials who are still carving out their career paths.

As explored in our last article, how to future-proof your brand, this is what is known as extrinsic motivation and is a key part of any gamification strategy.

Extrinsic motivation is perfect for driving short term change and inspiring new recruits. As such, it is an integral part of most business tools and technology, such as Slack’s communication tool, Hubspot’s sales hub and MobieTrain’s mobile learning and development platform.

This is normally integrated through fun, engaging and competitive elements such as badges and leaderboards, defined by leading theorist Scott Nicholson as ‘BLAP’ gamification:

 

‘Most of the current applications of gamification are based on providing external rewards for some activity; for example […] levels and leaderboards to encourage progress and competition, badges […] and achievements for reaching goals. Gamification systems that focus on Badges, Levels and Leaderboards, Achievements, and Points will be referred as BLAP gamification.’

 

So integrating an element of competitiveness into your company culture and tools is great practice for initial motivation, engagement and short term business goals. However, it has been proven that rewards alone are not enough for longer term goals, and that is where intrinsic and meaningful motivation techniques come into play.

Encouraging Long Term Results with Meaningful Gamification

Any successful business strategy needs to plan towards longer term business goals. This is also the case for gamification in the workplace, especially in regards to your training and L&D programmes. As Nicholson states:

 

‘Learning is the process of making meaning out of life.’

 

Therefore, learning in the workplace is the process of finding meaning within your career. And rewards alone do not achieve this intrinsic motivation.

You want your employees to be happy and fulfilled in the longer term outside of straightforward monetary rewards and benefits. That is the key to retaining your millennial workforce as they progress through their careers.

So how do we achieve this?

Put Your Employees First with Human-Focused Design

Gamification expert Yu-kai Chou defines the process of meaningful gamification as ‘human-focused design:’

‘He explains how “function-focused” systems are designed to finish projects quickly which leads to employees working because they are required to, not because they enjoy the tasks or want to perform them. By focusing on human elements and not only on getting the job done, space is created for human feelings, ambitions and preferences.’

Put simply, you need to put your employees at the heart of any technology or process that you introduce. In technology terms, they are your end user- not your board of directors or managers.

Personal learning paths, meaningful narrative and user profiling is key to this. Your employees need to be intrinsically motivated to see how they are progressing towards their own career goals, and not just in contrast to their peers with leaderboards and badges.

When combining personalisation with reward-based techniques, you are guaranteed to retain a happy and motivated workforce in the build up to 2025 and beyond.

Vector flat illustration of gamification in business
Employee Engagement, L&D Approach

How to future-proof your business with Gamification

What do you count as success? High profit and turnover? A happy and motivated workforce? A well-known and respected brand?

Of course, any businessman worth their salt knows the importance of offsetting short term wins against longer-term strategy. We don’t want to just be successful this year. We want to build a brand, company and team that will weather the disruptive business climate for the foreseeable future and beyond.

So how does gamification achieve this? Should it be an important part of your internal Learning & Development program? Or is it just hype?

In the first article of our gamification series, we explore the science behind knowledge retention and how your business can build on this to achieve both short and long term goals.

Gamification in the modern workplace

Gamification expert Yu-kai Chou defines gamification as “the craft of deriving fun and engaging elements found typically in games and thoughtfully applying them to real-world or productive activities.”  So how does this apply to your workplace?

Believe it or not, our whole education system is built around gamification, with our grades working as ‘rewards.’ But the real high achievers were not simply driven by external recognition and a parrot-like memory for facts, but a real intrinsic passion to learn.

Move into the modern day workplace, and a lot of similar reward-based mechanisms are used- from salary packages to competitive incentives such as employee of the month schemes, bonuses and team trips. But, as with academia, if all that is motivating you is your salary packet, then there is no brand loyalty and your top employees may jump ship the second a better offer comes along.

So we’re already much more accustomed to gamification then we may realise. Which explains the astronomic rise of business tools and apps that integrate elements of fun and gamification into everyday business tasks.

But are these platforms really using the best scientifically-proven gamification techniques? Or are they just shooting for quick wins and short term goals?

The science of knowledge retention

We all know that the key to business success is motivated and knowledgeable employees and colleagues. They are the essence of your brand and customer experience.

So take a second to think about your current L&D process. Do you still employ traditional training practices such as offsite training days? Do you have an online system that encourages training via your intranet? Or have you gone digital and embraced the mobile-learning platforms available?

Whichever system you adopt, take a step back to think about how successfully your employees are retaining their training and onboarding knowledge. Are they motivated themselves to continual learning and improvement, or are they simply competing for more rewards, recognition and incentives?

According to gamification experts Scott Nicholson and Yu-kai Chou, reward-based training and gamification only works when focusing on short term goals. When focusing on long term goals, however, they recommend not just focusing on rewards to avoid the risk that the reward itself becomes the main goal, instead of wanting to learn and improve.

Intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation

This is what is known as intrinsic motivation versus extrinsic motivation. In order to successfully retain knowledge in the longer term, while also meeting short term goals, you need to carefully combine elements of the two.

External motivators such as rewards, incentives and leaderboards get employees off the starting block and inspire them to start training at a faster pace than they perhaps otherwise would. However, this needs to be combined with intrinsic motivation techniques that inspire them to continue learning and developing towards their own goals and not just for external recognition.

THIS is the key to successful gamification in the workplace, and a happy and motivated team that is dedicated to continual learning and meeting both short and longer term targets.

So how do you put this into force in your workplace? Where do you start, and how does gamification successfully come into this?

This is what we delve into in our next article, an essential read for any business looking to improve their short and longer term strategy.

Mobile learning microlearning employees millennials
Employee Engagement

How to sell to the millennial who knows everything

Millennials. That sought-after breed of shopper that holds the spending power of the future. As retailers, we know them, we love them; we want them to love us too.

The great news is that 82% of millennials still prefer shopping in brick and mortar stores, according to Trendsource’s recent report. So we must be doing something right.

But to really capture and engage that market, we cannot ignore the colossal impact that eCommerce has on their in-store purchasing decisions. We cannot simply look at these new stats and stand back and rub our hands in glee.

Instead, we need to ask: How does online shopping affect a millennial’s in-store shopping experience? And how can we adapt to enhance this?

Don’t let your shoppers know more than you

This is the single biggest learning to get our heads around. In an age of knowledge-on-demand, the overwhelming odds are that your customer has already done their research before stepping foot in your store.

Millennials have looked on your website and social channels. They’ve read reviews, and researched pricing and competitors. They know what’s trending, and what they’re intending on spending their hard-earned cash on.

After looking online, millennials are then choosing to visit your store for the experience and immediate gratification. And that experience is directly affected by the knowledge and training that your store associates have.

Put simply- you can’t risk your shoppers having more product knowledge than your store associates. This is particularly pertinent in sectors such as electronics and home improvements. Which brings us on to our next point:

Customer service: Creating the best shopping experience

Did you know that only 34% of shoppers desire advice or assistance from associates in fashion? As opposed to 62% in household goods and 70% in electronics.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to customer interaction in retail. Equipped with a wealth of research and information, the millennial shopper now only requires advice from your store associates in certain departments and situations. Your associates need to be trained on this, and learn when to approach your shoppers and when to hold back,  as too much or too little interaction will negatively affect the shopping experience.

Indeed, when shoppers do require your assistance in-store, it is more than likely to do with their drive for immediacy.

Where am I? How immediacy drives sales

The single biggest driver of Millennials to in-store shopping is immediate gratification. That is, the ability to find, try and buy what they are looking for as seamlessly as possible, without having to wait for poorly informed staff or online delivery times.

This drives a whopping 88% of shoppers in household goods, 85% in electronics and 83% in fashion to go in-store.

Your associates need to know your store inside out and backwards. They need to be able to track down products and availability quickly to give your shoppers the best experience possible. Alongside product and department knowledge, this needs to be an essential part of your onboarding and training.

Building a brand experience

Ultimately, 82% of shoppers prefer to shop in-store because of your overall brand experience. This will always be the brick and mortar store’s secret weapon against eCommerce. And the importance of this brand experience is increasingly being recognised as eCommerce giants such as Amazon start to launch physical stores. (A very exciting development which I’ll discuss in a future article)

Knowledge is central to this brand experience. Millennials are more clued up about your brand and product offering than ever before. Your store associates need to be too.

But product knowledge isn’t enough. Your associates need to be trained on the intricacies of how to behave and interact with your shoppers. They need to know your floor space and stock availability. And they need to know your brand values and everything that you represent.

Your employees are the walking, breathing representations of your brand. They are the last barrier between your customers and their increasing spending power. And ultimately, their knowledge and training are what will keep millennials coming back for more.

social learning corporate culture
Employee Engagement

Building corporate culture with social learning

Recently I was asked for a keynote speech on social learning and a debate on the topic afterwards. Two questions were prominent and remained unanswered for me that evening. I will try to elaborate on those questions in this blog.

When can we use social learning? Is our company’s culture ready for social learning?

Rethinking and discussing those with my partners, we found that both were closely related and actually can be answered by linking it to the ‘5 Moments of Need’ from Dr. Conrad Gottfredson.

What we learn from this approach is that in an organisational context, learners need to acquire knowledge in different stages of their career or to accomplish a task.

Acquisition of knowledge

The first and second Moments of Need are aligned with the more traditional approaches of learning and training, and therefore are mostly answered with more traditional ways of formal learning.

1. When learning for the first time
2. When wanting to learn more

New social learning tools can make the learning journey more efficient and effective as they enable agile and versatile learning through Social Apps such as Yammer, Twitter or ESN’s.

What I have seen with some organisations are Social Learning tools to offer a blended and interactive learning approach alongside the formal training event, offering pre-work, extra tasks, quizzes, backchannels, forums, wiki’s and more.

By using this interactive approach where the learner actually takes the driving seat, we notice that Jennings’ 70-20-10 model aso applies and that serendipity or accidental learning was achieved to stimulate the total learning process.

Application of knowledge

The remaining three Moments of Need are directly aligned with performance support. In these instances, social learning tools are powerful building blocks that can transform the way we enable learning and the application of knowledge in organisations:

1. When trying to apply and/or remember
2. When something goes wrong
3. When something changes

Most of what we need to know at work in the above Moments of Need can be acquired by participating in new ways of social learning. When learners engage in networks where people co-create, collaborate and share knowledge freely, without spatial, temporal or hierarchical boundaries, learning happens with and through other people. It is a matter of participating in the community, not just by acquiring knowledge.

“Training often gives people solutions to problems already solved. Collaboration addresses challenges no one has overcome before.” Marcia Conner

I’m not saying here that social learning will replace formal learning for the application of knowledge. Social apps and networks make learning and development Lean by focusing only on the direct benefit for the learner, taking into account time, methodology and transfer of learning.

Impact on corporate culture

Social learning builds a culture that makes learning fun, productive and commonplace. However, the shift in culture will not happen by merely launching an Enterprise Social Network.

Recently, I interviewed Peter Crombecq, the CEO of Digipolis and CIO of the City of Antwerp, and he explained how they implemented Yammer as their core communication, sharing and learning tool. Only 6 months after introducing the new ESN the adoption was a success and learning and sharing became a part of their everyday routine.

I believe that one of the main reasons for this success is C-level engagement. As the CEO is actively sharing information, posting blogs and answering questions from all co-workers, he is setting an example and motivating others to follow.

At Digipolis, the management team is aware of the ‘Nielsen 90-9-1 rule.’ Through internal communication, people are offering their services to help editing text before publishing due to fear for mistakes. Subject matter experts are found in all levels of the organisation. A positive performance management system is implemented to encourage both introverts and extroverts to join the conversation in ways they feel comfortable. Silo’s disappeared and the informal hierarchy became almost flat!

To conclude, I believe that the culture of sharing and learning is inspired by leaders, enabled by technology and carried by all.

CREDITS

We would like to thank Peter Crombecq for his visionary view years ago, his sharing of knowledge and inspiring conversations!

Katja Schipperheijn

NOTES

1. Gottfredson, Conrad and Mosher, Bob. “Vodcast: Learning Burst Series – The Five Moments of Learning Need.” Ontuitive. Accessed August 6, 2014. http://www.ontuitive.com/blog/vodcast-learning-burst-series-five-moments-learning-need

2. Jennings. “Slideshare “The 70:20:10 Framework for Building Workforce Capability” Accessed august 6, http://www.slideshare.net/charlesjennings/the-702010-framework

3. Bingham, Tony and Conner, Marcia, The New Social Learning (San Francisco: Berret-Koehler Publishers, 2010)

4. Schipperheijn, Katja and Verhasselt, Christine. “Why Social Learning Amplifies Lean Learning.” Habit of Improvement. Accessed August 6, 2014. https://habitofimprovement.wordpress.com/2014/07/14/why-social-learning-amplifies-lean-learning/

5. Nielsen, Jacob. “http://www.nngroup.com/articles/participation-inequality. Accessed August 6th