From the very beginning of rebuilding their training program, the leaders at Foot Locker had a vision that their team members would come in and get set up for success with all the information they needed at the beginning of each shift. The bite-sized, personalized training and communication, delivered through their Lace Up platform that’s powered by Axonify, are both important parts of that success equation, but so is the high engagement. Let’s face it: if nobody’s using the platform, it doesn’t matter how amazing the content inside is.
Foot Locker wrapped their daily learning experience up in a tagline that really resonates across the whole organization: Clock in, Lace Up, Hit the sales floor. The tagline is intended to reinforce a habit of learning and underscore that it only takes a few minutes at the beginning of each shift to get the information needed to exceed customer expectations.
“It was all about creating a culture of learning,” says Lauren Hayes, Head of Global Learning at Foot Locker. “We wanted to establish that daily behavior first, because we know if they’re getting in there every shift they’re going to get hooked, right? We knew they’re going to want to keep coming back.”
For this reason, Foot Locker launched initially with gamification on, which gave employees the option to answer their daily questions through fun game play, but rewards turned off. “We were happy to have the games and leaderboards invoke that competitive nature and make people want to be at the top. But we didn’t want rewards to be the main motivating factor,” says Hayes. “We’re now building out a strategy around rewards and recognition, so we’re excited to see the response and how it will continue to drive engagement back to daily training.”
Participation is through the roof
Foot Locker’s efforts to engage its employees in daily learning have been phenomenally successful. According to Hayes, 95% of North American employees log in to do their training 12.4 times per month. In EMEA and APAC the average number is 89%, 12 times per month. “We measure the true health of our engagement number through employee training frequency,” says Hayes. “Anyone can have 100% participation, but if those team members are only training once a month, it’s not enough to change behaviors.”
Hayes credits Foot Locker’s leaders with driving engagement and helping to hit the participation goals rapidly after launch. Before launching Lace Up to stores, they provided early access to district managers, regional vice presidents and field leaders in the office. The leaders, in turn, created amazing organic buzz around Lace Up in stores. Even Foot Locker’s CEO, Dick Johnson, is a huge advocate for the platform.
“Our CEO does his training every day,” says Hayes. “It definitely sets the tone. He’s been known to go into a store and ask the employees if they Laced Up today, chat with them about their favorite games and more. It creates this ‘a-ha’ moment with our frontline teams that he does this training too. It’s not just for the employees in our stores; it’s for everyone.”
“What tells us the true health of our engagement number is employee training frequency. Anyone can have 100% participation, but if those people are only training once a month, it’s not enough to change behaviors.”
The high employee participation is attractive to the brands Foot Locker partners with as well. Brands would typically see low participation rates in their own training initiatives—between 25% and 30%—because forcing team members into a separate platform to get information was a barrier. “Team members would have to download another app, then sign on to access the information,” explains Dennis Gjaltema, Sr. Manager, L&D – EMEA, Foot Locker. “And our HR departments had to work with the respective vendor partners to send over specific team member data so they could track progress as well. It was a very time-consuming approach.”
Nike is one flagship Foot Locker brand that was quick to invest in recreating their training to make it work seamlessly in the Lace Up experience. Foot Locker has since seen other vendors following suit. “The engagement in Lace Up is so high,” says Gjaltema. “They can definitely see our employees’ knowledge growth on their brand-specific content.”
The high participation in the platform not only moves the needle on behaviors that matter, it creates an abundance of data points for Foot Locker’s leaders to use in making decisions, which Hayes says is a game-changer. “The data is critical. It’s been huge. It can show us something as simple as the fact that team members aren’t utilizing a particular game, which lets us confidently retire it and introduce a new one. And it also gives us line of sight into whether managers are using their leader dashboards, so we know where to make that more of a focus. If they don’t know who on their teams isn’t participating in training, they’re definitely not leveraging all the opportunities for coaching.”
“The engagement in Lace Up is so high. Foot Locker partners can definitely see our employees’ knowledge growth on their brand-specific content.”
“We’re using the data to measure so much more than knowledge growth,” says Gjaltema. “We look at training participation rate and frequency, knowledge level on specific topics and our customer NPS scores to get a view of team engagement and actual store performance on conversion revenue and our KPIs.”
Foot Locker’s leaders have also heard directly from customers on how the new approach to training is impacting their experience, thanks to the survey link on every purchase receipt. “We’ve gotten direct feedback from customers that they’re having a really positive experience in stores, which is exactly what we’re striving for through our daily training,” says Hayes.
Hayes also appreciates how Axonify gives her the freedom to put some compliance training on autopilot. “Axonify just kicks in and automatically delivers things like our annual harassment training,” she says. “Last summer a new senior manager joined my team who had worked with other e-learning software, and I could see the light bulbs go off when she was first introduced to the platform. She described the manual reporting and administrative responsibilities she was used to with other e-learning solutions, which caused frustrations and redundancy in work. It gave me a whole new appreciation for how powerful Axonify is.”