Finding and investing in the right learning solution for the unique challenges of your retail frontline is one thing. But getting associates and leaders to buy into its value and see the new tech as a helpful tool rather than a disruption or sunk cost is another.

Leadership at Sleep Therapeutics, one of the largest sleep solution companies in Canada, was struggling to push their content and learning strategies past the planning phase—even though they recognized the need to prepare their staff for the industry transformation that was already in motion.

“One of the challenges of Sleep Therapeutics is that we’re scattered across many parts of this country, so trying to get everyone in a room together isn’t easy,” says Michael Blundell, Sleep Therapeutics’ Executive VP and CSO. “We all know how important communication is so let’s get communication working using other, innovative methods. We’ve got to digitize some of our ways to overcome these challenges.”

The buying habits of customers have also been transformed by digital access and that means the frontline needs to be supported in ways that keep up with this change.

“Clients and consumers now have more control over their buying decisions and access to research the topics on their own,” explains Blundell. “That puts a lot of strain on people that are trying to advocate to get the frontline workforce what they need, when they think they already know what that is.”

That’s when he started to search for a data-driven training and communications solution that would be valuable to both associates on the floor and executives.

Leadership and associate buy-in can be a breeze

“We wanted the leadership team to embrace this concept and understand that our company is going through transition. We have to adapt to the market and, to adapt, we’ve got to use new tools.”

Axonify’s ability to move the needle on the KPIs that mattered most to Sleep Therapeutics—like meeting the bottom line and improving the customer experience—along with alignment to their business values of approachability, curiosity, empathy and insightfulness were key to setting up a successful pitch.

Blundell also points to an inclusive implementation process that was integral to building employee excitement about this new digital journey that began in late 2021.

“With the employees, our success was because we had a great implementation. We had one-to-one meetings with every employee to get them set up, logged in and speaking up about their opinions. They understood the ‘why’ behind all of it. It was an easy move because the work was done upfront,” he says.

In a modern retail workplace, an effective learning solution shouldn’t be one-size-fits-all. Blundell’s team wanted to make sure that the learning felt personalized and fun by giving associates the ability to customize their training experience through A-C-E I-T—an animated virtual coach that guides each user through their daily training sessions.

“We put a bit of flavor into it with the characters and animation to make it feel warm and fuzzy rather than just another thing they have to do,” says Blundell.

“We have to adapt to the market and, to adapt, we’ve got to use new tools.”
Michael Blundell, Executive Vice President and CSO at Sleep Therapeutics

Keeping the spark alive

Starting on a high note with company-wide excitement about new training and impressive engagement numbers was already a win for Sleep Therapeutics.

But they knew that a great launch was just one piece of the puzzle. The next step was keeping associates coming back for more by creating a space their people could rely on to get everything they needed to do their jobs better—every shift. And that meant streamlining learning content and making it accessible whenever and wherever associates needed it.

“[Axonify] is our single source of truth when it comes to accessing information. It’s where we post everything from our weekly news flash, acknowledgements for anniversaries and birthdays, updates to the business and formal memos,”says Blundell. “The Discover section also hosts a library of information.”

“Imagine it like a grand library. I love the idea that you can go into this big, old, beautiful library, but now you can do it on your phone and access all this information at your fingertips. It’s so much more convenient than having to call customers back or say, ‘I’ll let you know.’”

Keeping employees engaged in the platform also involved maintaining a steady stream of relevant and critical content. Sleep Therapeutics relied on Content Marketplace and Axonify’s AI-powered Content Assistant to speed up the process of content creation that targets the desired associate behavior, moves the needle on business results and supports continuous learning and excellent customer service.

“We’re pretty self-sufficient now when it comes to creating content,” says Blundell. “The microlearning is really good; that’s the biggest win for us.”

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