Learning is critical for workers today. And there are many different approaches that can be taken including a blended learning approach.
During IQPC’s Chief Learning Officer Exchange that took place earlier this year, HR Exchange Network editor Mason Stevenson sat down with Walmart eCommerce senior learning designer Maxanne Whitehead to learn more about how the company approaches learning.
Mason Stevenson: From your peers, what are some of the challenges that you’re hearing from them? How are they are dealing those challenges?
Maxanne Whitehead: This morning alone, I heard several. One big one would be ROI, how do you justify training to executives and operators who are focused on the dollars. Another one would be soft skills that I really like hearing today, there are no soft skills, there are just skills. Those are big ones I’m focusing on. Another one would be buying from operators, not just on the ROI, but justifying time away from someone’s job to take temporary training.
Mason Stevenson: What are you hearing in terms of how they are mitigating or they are addressing those challenges?
Maxanne Whitehead: I’m hearing that it’s a lot about communication; it’s a lot about sharing metrics big data. A lot of it is focusing on the numbers now; it’s not just the opinion. So it’s having those numbers to generate buying.
Mason Stevenson: What are some of the things that you were dealing with at Walmart, that you’re trying to address those challenges? What are some of the ways that you have come up with addressing those?
Maxanne Whitehead: Like you said, Walmart is big. It’s global. My team specifically focuses on Walmart E-commerce. That’s Walmart.com, Jet.com, Walmart grocery, and stepped out from that customer care. That’s the agents taking the calls, that is the support teams who develop the systems, that’s leadership at those levels as well.
What we’re focusing on, is taking this blended learning approach, which didn’t exist two years ago. When I came into walmart.com, it was 600 PowerPoint slides. So we’ve already made some big changes, just by adding that blended learning and reducing classroom time, in some cases from eight weeks down to four weeks. From that, we saw a shrink in the amount of time our customer care agents were on calls, our customer satisfaction percentages go up, so we saw them return in our metrics for those successes.
Mason Stevenson: What is a challenge that you dealt with, you’re in front of now and you look back, you’re like, we really got something done there, we were really successful at fixing or addressing an issue? What would fall into that category?
Maxanne Whitehead: One big thing would be leadership training. We had zero, none.
Mason Stevenson: Really?
Maxanne Whitehead: Yes, in the E-commerce side. Store has all the leadership training.
Mason Stevenson: People forget about that. They just think Walmart the store, they don’t think about the Walmart presence. Correct me if I’m wrong, you’ve got your brick and mortar stores, but then your E-commerce side, that is separate from brick and mortar.
Maxanne Whitehead: Right. Building that from the ground up, starting with our team leads and team managers, and now we’re currently working to the director and executive level training, has been a huge success for us. We’re really seeing more engagement from our managers, we’re seeing team growth, which is wonderful.
Mason Stevenson: Fantastic.
Maxanne Whitehead is a senior learning designer for Walmert eCommerce. She was a delegate at the Chief Learning Officer Exchange in Austin, Texas. To learn more about the CLO Exchange, click here.