The James Retail Group is a leading, independently-owned neighbourhood retailer operating around 74 convenience and newsagent stores.
James Retail operate Select Convenience branded convenience stores as well as newsagents branded GT News & Supernews. They can be found in locations varying from major shopping centres, transport interchanges, local neighbourhoods and hospitals across the central belt of the country. The company was formed in 2015 following the acquisition of the GT Retail business by Conviviality Plc.
In recent years retail groups have faced ever-changing customer shopping habits within a fast-changing retail landscape. With an increase in the number of big retailers moving into the local convenience sector, smaller retailers have had to adapt fast to accommodate these market changes. The aim, however, has remained the same, to offer great service that can keep pace with these changes in consumer habits. To do so, retailers have to ensure that they have a well-trained, well-motivated and happy team.
James Retail has more than 600 employees who all needed to be trained effectively and efficiently to aid in their challenge of keeping pace with change in the sector. They needed to ensure that all stores operated to their highest possible standards in terms of both compliance and customer service. They needed training which was engaging as well as effective. Furthermore, they were also looking for in-depth reporting capabilities and trainee analytics that they could use to identify strengths and weaknesses to influence future training and employee appraisals. They wanted to know what their employees did and didn’t know and where they had skills, proficiency and compliance gaps.
We provided James Retail with 12 core online training modules in compliance and customer service that they could use to train and educate their 600 plus colleagues. These modules were designed using our extensive convenience retail experience, cutting-edge technology and expertise in modern educational theory. Each module contains realistic scenarios, immersive stories and engaging graphics to inspire behavioural change in employees, ensure compliance and drive productivity.
By using blended learning techniques that combined online training, or eLearning, as well as training on the shop floors, we were able to complement what trainees had learned on the job with what they learned in their personal time. This approach helps the trainee recall the information they had learned in their modules by applying it to a real-life situation. This, in turn, ultimately leads to a higher retention rate regarding the skills and knowledge learned.
We also wanted to provide trainers and managers with the ability to track their employees' learning. Our LMS (Learning Management System) offers comprehensive and in-depth trainee analytics capabilities that allow employers and managers to take a look at the training habits of their employees. This could include anything from the time it has taken to complete an eLearning module, to the time taken to answer individual questions or to complete specific sections. We feel it's important that employers can see more than just the answers given by their trainees; this way they can see how those trainees thought about those answers. This new eLearning solution for James Retail has allowed managers to measure capability, proficiency and compliance and adapt their training strategy accordingly.
Already James Retail have been able to see results. One of the benefits of using Bolt’s Spark Learning Management system is that eLearning modules and online training materials can be quickly distributed in large numbers. We have seen that more than 3,300 eLearning modules have been issued, with 2,434 of those modules being completed and passed. Since signing up, James Retail have been able to train hundreds of employees in the core areas of their business; Age-Related Sales, Basic First Aid, Lone Working, Manual Handling, Slips, Trips and Falls, Store Security as well as Violence and Aggression in the workplace.
As part of our agreement with James Retail, we will also be supplying them with events booking and compliance tracking systems going forward. These will help the business keep track of non-eLearning activities amongst their learners as well as ensuring that as a business and a workforce they are fully compliant with industry standards and regulations.
The James Retail Group continues to grow and looks to further expand across the central belt of the country. With the online training tools we have provided, they now have a model on which to build their recruitment and training approach to aid them in their commitment to further expansion.