How Northgate González Markets saved half a million dollars

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Miguel Gonzalez senior was a shoemaker in a small town of Mexico supporting his wife and 13 children. In 1952 when a small shop burned down, Miguel quickly realized he would have to move to the US to support their large family. In 1980, the first Northgate Market opened in Anaheim. Soon the popularity of Northgate grew and the dream began to flourish.

What started off as a small store in Anaheim is now 41 retail locations in California. Northgate’s tradition of leadership and commitment is the cornerstone of its relationships with customers and employees. It’s living and leading through these values that made Northgate Markets the successful business that it is today.

With over 6,000 employees, Northgate is always looking for innovative ways to enable its employees and serve customers. Northgate equips leaders within its organization to challenge traditional thinking, to rethink the status quo. That’s why Gary Orona, Director of Training at Northgate, chose the Axonify microlearning platform. A high school football coach for 22 years Gary has a unique perspective on what it takes to build a winning team.

I hate to lose, I can get beat and lose once but I guarantee that I am going to work five times harder so I don’t lose again, especially the same way. As a football coach, I know that when you mess up on a play or something doesn’t happen how you want it you line up and run it again and run it again so you get it right so the kids understand what the responsibilities are. So for me, the a-ha moment for Axonify is wow, this is just like football because you run it again until you get it right, and that was for me when it clicked so I said this program is going to be big for us.

Gary was looking for a new learning approach to deliver consistent messages across a multi-generational group of employees, respond to individual needs and keep employees engaged and learning over the long-term.

Before we had Axonify, we had corporate training. We would bring people in and we train them and then we send them back and we wouldn’t launch that training again for 6 months, 12 months, 18 months, 24 months, so they never get that information again.

With Axonify being delivered in bite-size pieces and this element of gamification, where an employee can now get something back for what they were giving, they can get a little bit of entertainment, potentially win a prize, I saw that it was a genius opportunity to really get our employees engaged.

When I walked into a store and I’m about to coach an associate on something that I saw that they were doing, it could have been done better and then they turn around and say hey I actually saw it on Axonify, so they start to coach me and say this is a better way to do it. I know the customers are going to get that experience. So for me, I start seeing as they get better as we have less accidents as we start following through more with things, when you see it happening in real life it’s what really gets you to believe in it even more.

Metrics and leader zone, it’s a great tool, it identifies top performers, identifies bottom performers. The data I rely on the most is the bottom performing list. With that bottom performing list, you know you can have the one on one and reel in that employee and show exactly what Axonify is all about.

We have our Axonify loyalty card we get 10% off our merchandise. Our employees wouldn’t know sharing that loyalty card were violating our store policies. With Axonify, now they do and they bring it to our attention, so it ultimately reduces shrink and saves money for the company.

We found our associates like coming to work more. We found that they believed in the company more because they were connected with the desires and beliefs of the owners and we found that they identified with that. Today we maintain a very high rate of participation, we find our associates are engaged, not because we force them to be, but because they want to be.

People actually can’t wait for new training to come out and they love all the aspects of it. For us to not have it would be 10 steps backwards.

Northgate saw the benefits of modernizing with Axonify. 90% voluntary participation in training, 18% growth in store associate knowledge, three-week decrease in onboarding time, and more than a half a million dollars in savings and just 12 months due to a reduction and safety incidents.