Longo’s is a premium Canadian grocer, employing 6,000 Team Members across their stores and ecommerce business. They recently came out on top in consumer sentiment surveys as Canada’s favorite brand for both brick-and-mortar and online groceries.

One component of their success? Equipping their frontline with training and communications at their fingertips, so they’re always up to date and ready to serve guests.

“In the grocery business, things are so dynamic. To get your team up to speed, to keep them safe and ensure they know about a new product or whatever’s happening right now, you need to be able to create a habit of learning and get people engaged around learning,” says Carol Henry, Director of HR, Longo’s.

Since 2018, Longo’s has used Axonify to deliver personalized training and communications in the flow of work, with a sky-high 95% participation rate.

Reinforcement makes the learning stick

Previously, Team Members would be scheduled in for periodic training on one of the backroom computers. This came with logistical challenges, as well as time constraints.

“It’s always that fight between productive hours and training hours. Every minute counts,” says Henry. “When you’re waiting to schedule your Team Members to go into a classroom or sit in front of a screen, it’s hard for them to get Team Members interested in doing it, and hard for store managers who need to get stuff done.”

As a result, training was often restricted to only the need-to-know topics.

“We were mostly about compliance—things that we had to do, not the things that would actually change the behaviors of our Team Members to serve our guests better,” says Andrea Di Lello, Manager, Learning and Development at Longo’s.

Axonify’s approach of delivering personalized training in short, 3 – 5 minute bursts, on the devices Team Members already use, made sense for their business. The ability to provide accessible training in real time helped create effective behaviour change.

“You can deliver training, but if people walk away and they’re not able to change what they do in the workplace, then it’s really all for naught,” says Henry. “The science around the retention piece and creating habits is what drew us to Axonify and made us realize this is something we needed to invest in, something that would revolutionize the way we looked at training.”

Empowering Team Members with mobile learning

They worked closely with their business units to develop and launch targeted training through Axonify, making sure it was tailored to their priorities and goals.

Everything starts with being aligned to our business. It really starts with ‘What do they need and how can we enable them to do what they need to do?’” says Henry. “At the end of the day, the platform is a medium that allows us to get our Team Members prepared, safe and on task.”

Their operations teams were enthusiastic about providing learning on Team Members’ own mobile devices, so the HR team worked with IT to develop a policy around that.

“It really is creating a culture of empowerment. Team Members are empowered to find the information that we want them to know, to do the job we need them to do for our guests,” says Di Lello. “It really comes down to trust and empowerment and giving them the tools to do their job.”

Making learning fun and irresistable

Their close alignment with their business units helps drive their impressive 95% participation rate.

“I’m exceptionally proud of how engaged the team is with the platform, from our company leadership, right to our end users,” says Di Lello. “I honestly don’t think a day goes by without somebody asking a question about Axonify or suggesting an initiative to launch on Axonify.”

Through company-wide contests like the “12 Days of Christmas”, or individual store-based competitions, they build excitement and fun around learning, which keeps people coming back.

“It’s so well-embedded in the organization because it’s in the Team Members’ hands and they’re engaged with it,” says Henry.

Getting updates and training to the frontline in the moments that matter

As a result of this high engagement, the Axonify platform is a trusted way to get critical information to Team Members in the moments that matter. Never was this more clear than during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Longo’s team took a proactive approach to frontline safety at the outset of the pandemic.

“We were actually the first retail employer in the province to mandate mask wearing, not only for our Team Members, but for our guests. I think that really set the stage to let our Team Members know that their safety was first and foremost,” says Liz Volk, Chief Human Resources Officer at Longo’s. “And we’ve done a lot of work partnering with Axonify. They’ve put out some great videos to help educate our Team Members.”

They leveraged Axonify’s Content Marketplace to quickly push out targeted training on topics like proper use of PPE, customer service at a distance and maintaining good mental health. They also used Axonify to reach Team Members with frequent communications.

“With Axonify, we were able to be in touch with every single Team Member. We were able to give them the messages we wanted them to have to feel safe working in our business locations,” says Di Lello. “We couldn’t do this before Axonify, so that was really powerful for us.”

“We would share everything from what’s happening relating to the pandemic, to really exciting business news, to celebrations and recognition of our frontline teams. That’s been wonderful,” adds Volk. “We use it to continually give our Team Members information at their fingertips.”

These quick actions helped Team Members feel safe and comfortable coming in to work, so they could keep showing up for guests every day.

“If they feel confident and secure in their roles, then they’re going to deliver that exceptional service for our guests,” says Volk. The Longo’s team has also shared training and information around their diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, with the confidence that Team Members will receive the message

“We launched the DE&I learning that Axonify developed for us and within 48 hours, we had 51% of our population certified in three of the modules,” says Volk. “Our bias training module was at 81%, and we had nearly 95% on one of the other modules. That’s unheard of in retail, to be able to get your training and your messaging out within 48 hours and get that percentage of the population already up to speed.”

As a result of their efforts throughout the pandemic, Longo’s actually saw their Team Member Net Promoter Score increase by 300% and turnover decrease from 26% to 19%, at a time when most grocers were experiencing the opposite.