Engagement Performance
31:11

Driving Retail Transformation with Digital Learning at Dairy Farm Group

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Episode overview:

We’ve (virtually) traveled the world over the past year to tell the frontline story. We’ve explored a range of frontline forward industries and themes, from grocery and contact centers to resilience and burnout. Now, on the one-year anniversary of The 80 Percent, it’s time to wrap up our podcast series with one final story.

JD sits down with Martin Cerullo, Group Talent Director at Dairy Farm Group, to discuss the connection between workplace learning culture and business agility. Dairy Farm Group is a leading pan-Asian retailer that operates over 10,533 outlets and employs 220,000 people in businesses that span the retail marketplace, from grocery and convenience to health and beauty to home furnishings.

Martin highlights the critical role frontline enablement plays in facilitating rapid business transformation, including keeping up with the rise of digital commerce, implementing advanced health and safety measures and launching a new customer loyalty program. Prior to Dairy Farm, Martin worked in leadership roles for organisations providing consulting services to the Human Resources function, including Alexander Mann Solutions.

Thank you for listening to The 80 Percent. We hope our stories have helped you improve the way you support your frontline team as they continue to keep our businesses and communities moving forward.

We will continue to tell the frontline story in our work at Axonify. If there’s anything we can do to help you better support and enable your frontline, let us know.

This story features clips from past episodes, including:

The full 34-episode run of The 80 Percent podcast will remain available on Apple, Google and Spotify as well as axonify.com/podcast. Please share your favorite episodes with peers who are passionate about providing the frontline with the support they need and deserve.

The 80 Percent has been brought to you by Axonify. To learn how you can provide communication and training to your frontline workforce that actually works, visit axonify.com.

Join the #FrontlineForward effort by visiting axonify.com/frontlineforward to access free training content, download the 2020 State of Frontline Employee Training Report and subscribe for the updates.

About the Guest(s)

Martin Cerullo

Martin Cerullo works for Dairy Farm, an international retailer, in Hong Kong. He has two roles – Group Talent Director (responsible for learning, talent management, and organizational change) and Regional People & Culture Leader for Dairy Farm’s IKEA franchisee across 4 markets. He is an active advocate for the empowerment of women in the workplace, working with organizations such as The Women’s Foundation. prior to Dairy Farm, Martin spent his career in consulting, partnering with HR Directors on talent-related programmes across the world.

About the Host(s)

JD Dillon, Chief Learning Architect
JD Dillon, Chief Learning Architect

JD Dillon became an expert on frontline training and enablement over two decades working in operations and talent development with dynamic organizations, including Disney, Kaplan and AMC. A respected author and speaker in the workplace learning community, JD also continues to apply his passion for helping frontline employees around the world do their best work every day in his role as Axonify's Chief Learning Architect.

Episode Transcript

JD Dillon:

Welcome to The 80 Percent where we share stories and insights to help you better support and enable your frontline team. I’m JD the chief learning architect at Axonify. On this episode, we explore the powerful connection between workplace learning, culture and business agility. We’re joined by Martin Cerullo group talent director at Hong Kong based Dairy Farm Group, who explains how his organization leveraged technology to overcome disruption and empower frontline associates within a very large complex international retail operation. That’s coming up next on the final episode of The 80 Percent.

Introduction:

I’m doing the right things. I am your competitive advantage. I am making my workplace safe. When you give the people on your frontline, the tools they need to succeed, your business succeeds too.Axonify is sharing free training content and ongoing inspiration to help you move your frontline forward. Head over to axonify.com/frontlineforward to learn more. I am on the frontline. I am on the frontline. I am on the frontline together, we will move the frontline forward.

JD Dillon:

We published the first episode of the 80% one year ago today. We set out to tell a story that is too often ignored and undervalued; the frontline story. Over the past 22 episodes, we’ve traveled the world, virtually of course, to learn from people who really know what it means to put the frontline forward. We’ve spoken with grocery experts in the US

Expert 1:

They want to be trained properly oriented properly. They want to be communicated with, they want to communicate up and down the organization. They want to be recognized when they do good. They want to be fairly disciplined when they make a mistake. And then once a year, they want to be sat down with and, and have a light at the end of the tunnel, kind of describe to them, what does it look like? Those are the five things employees want from a job, more than anything else

JD Dillon:

We met with industry analysts.

Expert 2:

So what makes you successful now? Because if the world has changed, the environment has changed. Put the feelers out, have the conversations that we want to learn from what really works and enable the excellence within our business to surface in other places. So do reach out to the frontline. Don’t just go to the traditional stakeholders so that you’ve got the voice of the customer, ultimately,

JD Dillon:

We’ve heard stories from retailers in New Zealand.

Expert 3:

Successful businesses, are able to provide ongoing employment or successful businesses, able provide quality employment through satisfying. Our customers will get the return visits there, all of the elements that are built into our entire learning and development infrastructur and I’d like to think that as we move forward, we just never lose sight of that. If we do that, that’s what provides the sustainable business, sustainable business, sustainable employment, and keeps our business and our culture alive.

JD Dillon:

We’ve explored wellness themes like burnout and resilience with thought leaders in Canada.

Expert 4:

You’re in the fron line, you’re an essential worker. You’re a person that’s out trying to also just manage your own personal chronic stress that you’re dealing with. It does make you more sluggish, it makes you slower, it impacts your ability to motivate and stay motivated and be clear on your thoughts, have clear mental clarity. It’s about giving people mini-breaks. It’s about letting people have friends. It’s about understanding that it’s about wellbeing as an overall sort of ecosystem way of thinking about the workplace, because then you can work 40 hours and have that achievable metric of success. You can’t do that without the space to be able to just breathe and relax and have normalcy in your day.

Expert 5:

As an organization, we are going to make sure that we are not wasting this opportunity to help strengthen you, to help build your stabilizer muscles, to build the resilience capabilities that are going to serve you for the next 20 years, the next 30 years, because this is the perfect lab for us to focus on building resilience, to give people new and different skills for connecting with their self efficacy, the stuff that is the connective tissue that is going to underpin our ability to be adaptable and change for the next 20 to 25 years.

JD Dillon:

And we’ve discussed the importance of frontline technology in South Africa,

Expert 6:

And one of the biggest challenges in obscene, and one of the biggest shifts that I’ve certainly noticed is it’s not a cut and paste from what you did in a classroom to cut and paste what you’re doing in the virtual. That’s a massive shift from a learning perspective, both as the learner and as the delivery of learning. And I think in a few months time, you’re going to see the retail awards about either pretty delivered virtual classroom or a well-constructed virtual classroom.

JD Dillon:

We hope these stories have helped you improve the way you support your frontline team. As they continue to keep our businesses and communities moving forward in the face of ongoing disruption, the front line will always be the face of your brand and your organization will always rely on their ability to keep up with change and execute on your top priorities. With this in mind, we have one more story we’d like to tell.

Martin Cerullo:

So the core of our business has not changed. The core of our focus has not changed, but what we need to do to think about our team members in, especially in the stores and the distribution centers or warehouses has changed.

JD Dillon:

Martin Cerullo is group talent director at dairy farm group, a leading Pan-Asian retailer that operates over 10,533 outlets and employees hundred and 20,000 people in businesses that span the retail marketplace from grocery and convenience to health and beauty and home furnishings

Martin Cerullo:

With nothing without frontline. So it’s about for me, it’s that mentality. How do we can just build that into everyone? And again, that has to be led from the top.

JD Dillon:

Martin’s story highlights the critical role frontline enablement plays in facilitating rapid business transformation. Whether it’s keeping up with the rise of digital commerce, implementing advanced health and safety measures, or launching a new customer loyalty program.

Martin Cerullo:

But just the learning culture of self-driven learning, bite-size learning reinforcement analytics to help understand how we’re doing. And if we need to change our content, all of that has started to shift and become part of our learning culture, not exactly where we want it to be, but we’re on the right journey.

JD Dillon:

Let’s find out what it takes to enable digital transformation on the front lines of an international retailer From Martin Cerullo.

New Speaker:

When I sat down with Martin via webcam. The first thing I noticed was his background. At first, I assumed it was just another green screen hiding a standard home office, but then I looked closer and realized, no, he was really sitting in front of a window in a giant office building

Martin Cerullo:

To hear from Hong Kong. I’m sat in the office where we’re out of lockdown. So we’re back in the offices working with, with everyone I’ve been in Hong Kong for about 10 years, but I’m originally from the UK and Italy. Now what I do, I have two jobs, one of those famous, double hats, I’m the group talent and capability director. So working on everything from talent to learning, to organizational change and development, and I’m also the regional HR director for Ikea franchise, which we have in a number of markets in Asia.

JD Dillon:

Martin wears multiple hats within an organization that provides an array of retail services and customer experiences across a diverse cultural landscape.

Martin Cerullo:

Dairy Farm is a Hong Kong headquartered retailer, but we actually started in Hong Kong about 134 years ago, and now a multi-market multi-format retailer in Asia. So we have roughly 220,000 plus team members. Some of those under management controls some through joint ventures, across 11 markets and territories in Asia. We have stores in the grocery space. So supermarkets still have a few hypermarkets. We have convenience stores, we run the 7 11 franchise in a number of locations. We have Ikea, as I mentioned in a number of locations as a franchise. And then we have also under management, a whole series of health and beauty stroke pharmacy stores running across multiple geographies in Asia.

JD Dillon:

Supporting 220,000 people across 11 markets already sounds challenging. Then you have to consider the fact that this workforce is responsible for bringing to life a variety of unique brands and customer experiences. So how can a central talent development function managed to provide resources that meet the needs of individual brands as wide ranging as 7 11, Giant, and Ikea?

Martin Cerullo:

Really what we’re trying to do is look at what can we create, which is common to leverage the scale of our businesses, but at the same time, never leaves the uniqueness, which the customer and most importantly, demands or cultural legislation in those markets when say talent and learning. What we’re looking at is how can we create platforms? How can we create content? How can we create learning? How can we create career paths, which improve our team members’ lives and their development, and also help us serve customers better. But at the same time, we take the kind of 80% the same, and then we adapt it where we really need to every piece of training, we do has to be produced in seven different languages from [inaudible], which is a Cambodian language through to two different Chinese languages to two different types of behalf. And of course, in English. So that’s one challenge, let alone, before you then start to rebrand it by the different logos we have on the front of the stores and the, and the color schemes and so on. You always trying to think about, well, how can I do things together, but I don’t want to lose that uniqueness.

JD Dillon:

So we have 220,000 people speaking, seven languages across 11 markets, all supporting different brand experiences. Now let’s complicate things further by introducing the largest global business disruption of the past century.

Martin Cerullo:

Hong Kong was probably the second market last year off the China, which got kind of impacted by the pandemic. I remember being on my very last ever international trip. I was actually visiting Ikea in Europe and they’re like rushed back to be back to support the business. As we went into lockdown in the last week of January, early February. And at that time we were on a transformation journey and, um, the CEO, Ian had laid out a five-year plan of our change programs and what we would be delivering. And to be really honest, we’ve not changed that plan. The core themes of that plan have remained the same. And we have stuck to that plan throughout the COVID pandemic, whether it’s been in markets like Hong Kong, which have been touched, but not so strong as perhaps our markets in Indonesia where it’s must have been a lot more difficult, but we have stuck to the core themes of the strategy.

Martin Cerullo:

What’s changed more is about how we’ve had to react to the situation, how we’ve had to look after our team members. So the core of our business has not changed. The core of our focus has not changed, but what we need to do to think about our team members in, especially in the stores and the distribution centers or warehouses has changed. And ultimately our customers have changed because less of them are out. Many of our markets were very slow to e-commerce that’s now booming and is rocketing in terms of its growth. So we’ve had to think differently about how do we do that. So we have new skills coming in. We have new ways of communicating. We needed to think about it’s been an interesting year, but you know what? I think we we’ve just had our annual results. And obviously there’s been some ups and downs, but overall as a business, we’re very proud of what our teams have done in the last year. We’ve launched the first ever digital loyalty in Asia, we’ve launched a whole new private label or own brand, depending on the language, which is now across 600 skews and is a nominal success in the Asia market. And that was in the middle of COVID let alone launching a rebrand of our supermarket business in Singapore. So those kept on going and at the same time we’ve been dealing with what’s been going on on the pandemic.

JD Dillon:

Changing customer behaviors also means changing expectations for frontline associates who bring retail brand experiences to life, but just like long-term business strategy. Some things have remained the same while others, especially the role of technology on the front line have evolved faster than ever before.

Martin Cerullo:

Or the cool focus that a frontline team member has remains the same, which is ultimately about serving customers. What we’ve had to do is always focused on that when we want to do that in the right way with the right level of customer service that we would all talk about in retail about the smile, the greeting, the thank you and, and all of those things, which are natural that continues to remain the same. I think the sense of safety comes in ever more. I think we’ve always expected our team members in the front line of high grooming standards to have high health and safety standards. I think that’s ever more so now in the expectations of customers around that are we have a greater, it’s more of a, an amplification of the requirement. I think what we are seeing with our team and we again become part of that five five-year journey in Asia. You’ll find retailers has been historically quite far behind Europe and the us and Canada on the use of technology in stores. This situation has accelerated our use of tech in stores, and we’re going through a huge and really interesting transformation and digitalization program of our stores, which partly connects to Ottowa offerings, but it’s much more than that in the store operations. So I think that’s a big thing for us in terms of changing behaviors, changing the use of those. And then the last one I’d say is, again, I don’t think it’s always been there, but the point about product knowledge and stores and whether that’s a new own brand and what we expect from our team members to talk through, to know about that and how they can bring that to life or how they can answer questions to customers around whatever is important in that different format that we run. I think that’s always been there, but it’s probably more so now because when customers come to store and they don’t come as much as they used to often because of e-commerce that experience that we give them and that knowledge that we give and the need is ever greater.

JD Dillon:

These changing expectations, along with the need to focus on knowledge and skill that will bring customers back to stores have facilitated the need for a frontline focused digital learning experience.

Martin Cerullo:

I mean, we’ve launched before an LMS or lean learning platform through someone else, but mainly it was focused on ASCE service or store support centers. Our office team members, we wanted to accelerate into stores and do a lot more direct with our team members in stores. We didn’t have those. It was kind of done much more through informal chat messaging system. And so on. We jumped from nothing. And in the middle of COVID last year, we wrote our axon a fights as every single store team member in the space of a few months across all of our markets. If you look at our response rate and our adoption was extremely high and extremely fast, but it was all on mobile. There was no sense of us needing to teach people that you don’t need to go to the computer in the store back room to do the learning. It was straight onto devices. So we were, I think it was like 99 ish percent instant access through mobile device and through app, which is from what I understand from speaking to other people who use similar platforms is extremely high from day one.

JD Dillon:

Having this frontline digital experience in place was especially important when the pandemic restricted travel and traditional classroom training during the rollout of a major new business initiative.

Martin Cerullo:

I mentioned earlier on in our chat around the launch of a digital loyalty program, which was one of the things we’re very proud of. This is a program called you, or why you, you, if anyone wants to have a look at it online, and that was slated to launch last July, and we’ll all remember last July, but in Asia, that was an in Hong Kong, especially that was a big spike month in the situation. It was very under wraps, extremely confidential, but we’d been working on a learning plan where in the past we didn’t have the technology, no one was using teams or zoom for virtual learning. And if we’d been doing it a number of years before we would have been calling people into training centers and so on. But the plan we had in place, which got disrupted was we’d recruited inverted commas internally two and a half thousand ambassadors.

Martin Cerullo:

And they were going to go through a face-to-face highly experiential training in our training centers before we took them back to stores. And then when they went back to stores, they’d be accompanied by a series of bite-size learning on Axonify, which all of the team members, 22,000 team members in stores would do. And then we got into lockdown and we were 20% of the way through our ambassador training. So within 36 hours, we pivoted that got delivered virtually using zoom. So that learning experience of how we had to then suddenly build that excitement because an ambassador training is much different experience and a much different learning environment than for example, I don’t know, leadership training because you’re really sort of driving that sales mentality in that sort of ambassadorial sense in people. So that was a big learning shift in the space of two weeks.

Martin Cerullo:

We got through the rest of them, but we’d never really had to do it before in that way. And it was a really good learning and it’s actually something we’re now doing because we still can’t do training face-to-face for some major story launches and brand relaunches. So that’s kind of become something which is the norm. And then we have three weeks to then train 22,000 people in Hong Kong to get ready for this launch in store. And we did it and we got a hundred percent completion through Axonify. Obviously there was a lot of interesting calms at work happening. There were gift boxes going out to stores and excitement, building and videos and so on. But the learning mentality with this real true digitalization, it’s not different from what you would do in many other markets. But for us, that was a real shift for our business. You know, in a way it’s helped us move where we wanted to be much quicker as a learning team,

JD Dillon:

By demonstrating this level of business agility Martin’s team, didn’t just prove the efficacy of digital learning. They also noticed an overall shift in the organization’s mentality towards learning as a key business capability.

Martin Cerullo:

What this has done is it, it started to create that sort of can-do mentality within the learning culture. Any challenge is to mountable. So, so, and then that we can do that with learning. So we’ve got a lot of very experienced operations directors now realize, wow, we can get this done and we don’t have to over-complicate it. We can do this in a way now we’ll never lose our face-to-face. We’ll never lose that human touch and that coaching and stores of what’s the best way to serve a customer, a croissant in the bakery. It was we’ll still need that, but just the learning culture of self-driven learning bite size learning reinforcement, analytics to help understand how we’re doing. And if we need to change our content, all of that has started to shift and become part of our learning culture. Not exactly where we want it to be, but we’re on the right journey.

JD Dillon:

This is a true example of digital transformation in that core digital learning capabilities, such as microlearning and reinforcement are now embedded within the organization strategy. It’s no longer an approach that needs to be justified. It’s just how things work.

Martin Cerullo:

It is what we do. There’s no way of not doing it. So we do a face-to-face learning. Now the team instantly starts to think about how do we embed reinforcement questions into Axonify later. If we do our e-learning through Axonify, the team thinks about what we’re going to do on reinforcement learning and it just happens. One thing I would say, however, is we’re always conscious of not overloading people because there’s only so much all of us can retain we’re even now starting to meet out of store to trial it in some other service office functions. So for example, a commercial or merchandise teams, depending on what language you use in different retailers, we’ve got whole series of category management programs we’re doing which many retailers will do, but what we’re trialing at the moment, we’re doing those in different formats and different learning methodologies. But what we’re trying to do is land some reinforcement through Axonify. We didn’t implement Axonify for us office people. We implemented it for our stores and distribution centers, but why not try it? And let’s see if it can make a difference. It’s kind of a cool part of our learning and development team’s mentality now to try and get that done again, we’re not perfect we’ve got loads more to do. Every time we do something, we let see, we could do something better. And we try again and we’ll try it again. We’re measuring and we’re seeing what the impact is.

JD Dillon:

This transformation goes beyond the talent development, function. It a true partnership with business stakeholders

Martin Cerullo:

And learning to be honest, cannot be an HR or learning and development team program or something we own. It’s something we do together and we’re here to help you make it work and facilitate it right from the beginning. The Axonify investment plan was a partnership between L and D and store change or store operations. Every single market. The first meeting we had was with every single operations director. So frontline management team, we partnered with them. We worked through sort of a cascade methodology through all the area managers. We got them on board. We did pilots before we even went live with the management team. So they got to know it. When we went live, then it was measured through them. We were using the manager or leaders zone to sort of show back data and responses. We gave them the power and then insight through that.

Martin Cerullo:

So that’s in terms of the, sort of the technology or the tool. From a content point of view, you know, our mentality here is that L and D doesn’t own the content. The content is owned by the business, especially on technical training, which is a big area of focus for us. Maybe on people manager skills, it’s more us, but we need them to input on it, but on technical. So they own it. So, you know, we’re doing a lot of work at the moment, sort of things like customer service, things like the store standards, like we all do in retail, but they own it. So we’re facilitating them. We’re helping them think through it. We’re helping them think through the learner or the team member experience, the learning design, the learning interaction, but it’s, it’s their content. They own it. That’s been a journey. Again, we use the word journey constantly, not just because I wish I could get on a plane, but in the moment we’ve tried to build a relationship with them, which constantly needs work and where we are a team and a partner. I’m not an HR person who loves HR theory or loves HR textbooks. That’s not for me, it’s about, we’re doing what’s right for the customer and what for the people who serve the customer. So everything for me is about helping them and doing it together.

JD Dillon:

When it’s done, right. Technology is a powerful enabler, not just because it helps you deploy training more quickly and measure its effectiveness, because again, when it’s done right, it helps you foster a more human workplace experience. Especially during times like this:

Martin Cerullo:

It’s really about just looking after our people. And there are multiple elements of that. The challenges of schools being shot, and many of our frontline workers, having kids at home works in challenging environments studying. And so on. What we’ve tried to do is show a deep gratitude and appreciation through the year in whatever way that we can do it. And whether that’s through formal recognition programs, whether that’s through additional support, whether that’s through other areas. And that’s been a core theme, and even in our annual results last week, it was very much that thanks to the team and the coworkers, and that’s maybe sounds normal, but I think sometimes maybe we don’t do it around the world enough, right. And it’s something we wanted. And that can be a big part of that. We’ve been looking a lot aside from recognition, things like health support.

Martin Cerullo:

So we’ve had various programs around health and wellness. Um, again, then always called that, but they might be around say, for example, in this part of the world, flu awareness, which is a really big thing, we’ve looked at employee assistance programs and put those in place. And we’ve had some really challenging situations where we have people who travel across the border each day, a country border to work. So from Malaysia, Singapore, but people not being able to go across that border. So how we’ve been providing care packs to them to support them through that period, what we’ve been doing to maybe host them. Some, one of our values is about we care passionately and what we’re trying to do. Whatever we do from small things to big things is trying to sort of ingrain this sense of caring for our people and our customers, obviously, but for our people within what we’ve been doing.

JD Dillon:

Taking care of people always comes first in a frontline forward business. From there, you can start to look ahead and build the knowledge and skill that will enable your front line to take your business to the next level.

Martin Cerullo:

Things that we’re thinking through, which are unrelated to the pandemic, but they’re constantly there is around, especially in the grocery space or supermarkets, multitasking versus role specialization, which is a theme. I don’t have an answer on it, but that’s a big thing for us and looking at how do we do things like that in this part of the world, you have differentiation of supermarkets between upscale and mass, depending on different demographics and in the upscale space where you’ve got a lot deeper specialist products, often imported from all over the world, much greater than you’d see, as a percentage in stores in us and Europe, that sort of knowledge that risk required and how, how much we take them down that journey of becoming deep experts in those areas is another area of thing we were thinking about. And then maybe this isn’t a role, but I think maybe this part of world is behind North America and Europe, but we’re doing a lot to think about how can we provide ever greater opportunities for store team members to move into the service office, to work in commercial teams or into other functions and that career path thing.

Martin Cerullo:

So that’s less about the role of the frontline, but it’s more about the future of the frontline and how can we bring those in? Because I mean, when I first moved to Asia and I was in consulting with retailers, it was the same as much as it was here. There’s not so much movement as you would perhaps see, maybe definitely in the food and beverage industry, but also many retailers have that from store to, to non-store roles.

JD Dillon:

This is a powerful observation when it comes to the idea of a learning culture, a lot of companies are facing skill gaps because they failed to close the opportunity gap and make sure every employee, regardless of role has the support. They need to do their best work today while also preparing for the future.

Martin Cerullo:

Every market in Asia has distinct cultures. If you look at some of the more theoretical studies on culture and so on, the power distance is greater in many parts of Asia than it is in Europe and North America. And one of the things on our cultural change program is we’re trying to almost invert the pyramid. So at the, is on the bottom, supporting the stores. And I think by doing that, you shift the mentality that the service office or store support center, depending on which language you use becomes much closer to the stores, that removal of barriers and hierarchy and we’re on that journey. And again, our CEO has been leading this from the front since his first day in the building in 2017, that’s really a core part of what we’re doing. And I think if we can do that, that will create the opportunities that will enable a lot more of this movement, which I think is possibly culturally be less happening in this part of the world.

JD Dillon:

Creating learning equity also means paying attention to the potential for increased divides between frontline associates and corporate teams, especially as companies adopt hybrid working models for people who are lucky enough to do their jobs from home.

Martin Cerullo:

Um, it’s been about making sure that we, we listen, you know, I think one of the challenges in this period is people in offices have been working from home, right, but you’re still the store team members can’t because they’re serving customers every day. So what we were trying to do is make sure that we do everything we can to recognize that fact and where leaders can and teams like the L and D team are often out in stores speaking to people. And so on it, just to show that sense of support. I mean, it’s difficult, isn’t it? You know, you want this kind of a quality in organizations around culture, but this kind of working from home versus working store is an interesting dynamic that you have to kind of think through and work through. And it’s difficult. I don’t have a magic answer for it apart from just doing everything we can to be shown that we’re there to support people in the store

JD Dillon:

Beyond their training and communication role. HR can, re-establish a critical workplace connection and make sure people who make high impact business decisions hear directly from the front line and keep their needs. Top of mind.

Martin Cerullo:

What we’ve been lucky to have is that leadership group, which are really driving that message and that’s helped us because anything we’re working towards then looks to support that. So now, if you don’t have that as a, as a support or a sponsorship, then it becomes much more difficult. You know, looking at what are the issues that are happening in stores. What are the challenges that frontline team members have to serve customers better? Often it’s around communication often. It’s about knowing enough about what they need to do in their job to be better at their job, knowing about what the opportunities are, but just listening and understanding those in playing that picture back to the whoever makes the decisions and then coming to it with solutions. And I’m not saying this because this is an Axonify podcast, but it’s something like an Axonify can help sort of fix or deal with some of those problems as a solution.

Martin Cerullo:

So a bit like our marketing or our commercial teams will often paint back a picture of what the customer’s saying, HR, we we’ve gotta be the voice of the team member in store, right? So we’ve got to understand, listen to them, play that back, and then think about things that we can do to make their lives better, to support customers better. There’s no magic solution, but aside from finding leaders who are really big sponsors and will support get into the heads of it, you know, and understand the team members in stores. And as I mentioned earlier, just be a partner with the store operations team. Let’s help them. Let’s not impose HR stuff on them. If we can,

JD Dillon:

Thanks to Martin Cerullo for sharing his insights on the power of frontline digital transformation. And thank you to all of our guests who have helped us share the frontline story over the past year. This may be the final episode of the 80%, but the Axonify team remains committed to empowering the frontline workforce and making sure their story is heard. Check out axonify.com for our latest stories on how the frontline workforce is driving business transformation in industries like retail, travel, grocery financial services, and more. The 80% will remain available via your favorite podcast apps and at axonify.com/podcast. So please share it with any of your peers who are passionate about providing the frontline with the support they need and deserve. And who knows, maybe we’ll be back in the future with another podcast that explores the connection between learning, performance and business results. Until then remember that together we can move the frontline forward.

Narration:

The 80% podcast has been brought to you by Axonify all episodes are hosted, produced, and edited by JD Dillon. Learn more about modern frontline communication and training that actually works at axonify.com.

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