How Bloomingdale’s delivers instant active shooter training to associates in wake of looming terrorist threat


On Wednesday, November 18, 2015, I traveled to New York City to meet with Bloomingdale’s, one of Axonify’s customers. That same day, ISIS followed up their attacks on Paris with a threat against New York City targets, one of which was Times Square.

Obviously, this threat was taken very seriously by Bloomingdale’s. The company is a New York City icon. Its Midtown Manhattan location is the number five top tourist attraction in the city, housing incredibly high-value merchandise, and literally thousands of staff and customers at any given time.

The next morning, I participated in focus groups with Bloomingdale’s staff. We had a roundtable conversation about how the Axonify frontline training solution made them feel safer at work. Earlier that morning, all Bloomingdale associates had received Active Shooter Training delivered in their daily training session. Specifically, staff received refresher training (or in some cases learned for the first time) about what to do if a person came into the store with a gun and opened fire on employees and customers. The response to this training was overwhelmingly positive. Many employees said things like: “Now I don’t have to think about it. I just know what I would need to do in a situation like that.”

This is a powerful example of how Axonify can enable employees to take the right actions at work—in this case, actions that could save lives.

When the threat was received on Wednesday night, Bloomingdale’s VP of Loss Prevention and Risk Management, Chad McIntosh, took immediate action. Based on conversations he had with some federal agencies, he decided to make the Active Shooter Training a top priority. Because Axonify allows learning content to be prioritized, Bloomingdale’s was able to categorize this training as the most important, which meant it took precedence over all other training. Regardless of the learning that was scheduled to be delivered to each employee via Axonify, as of Wednesday night, anyone logging into the Axonify platform would first receive the Active Shooter Training. Employees were already thinking about the threat, so by immediately delivering training, Bloomingdale’s was able to calm their fears and help them understand what to do.

In this case, Axonify also acted as a primary communications channel, while also providing the appropriate learning. A large percentage of Bloomingdale’s employees—in areas such as warehousing, stocking, cleaning and maintenance—don’t have email or company phones. But they do have access to Axonify via departmental PCs, POS terminals or even their own smartphones. So Axonify became an ideal method to get this critical information to them quickly.

The Active Shooter Training, and the ability for the company to ramp it up literally overnight, helped ensure employees knew Bloomingdale’s was concerned about their safety and wanted to give them the practical knowledge they needed to help keep them safe. It also helped employees feel more comfortable in knowing how to react in a situation like that.  When people are afraid, information can empower them.

Deliver timely, targeted training to make sure your frontline employees do the right things in the moments that matter.

We're lucky to have so many bright minds authoring content that disrupts traditional thinking, challenges the status quo and provides a fresh perspective on how to drive company performance through learning. Don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter to get new insights delivered right to your inbox.

Let’s work together to drive frontline performance in all the right ways.