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Leading Pet Parent Retailer

The Challenge

As a leading “Pet Parent” retailer, the company is constantly training and up-training their 56,000+ store associates and staff throughout the U.S. and Canada. Training covers unified procedures and operations, customer engagement and service protocols and standards, existing products and services, and the frequent rollout new products and services.

A third of the employees are part-timers with high turnover requiring a persistent, high volume training program.  The fulltime staff, ranging from in-store to corporate and back-office support to executives, also requires continuing training and support.

The current training approach for staff at all levels provides only limited in-person or group instruction and interaction. It relies primarily on static, non-interactive tools such as PowerPoint and Job Aid Informational PDFs. A self-guided eLearning system that is technically slow and requires constant updating of content and technology is also in use. In-store staff may have limited access to technology. While this training delivers the basics to the company-wide staff it provides inconsistent training, and is unwieldy, difficult to deploy and track, and largely unmotivated.

The current system does not deliver on several key components of today’s most successful training: (1) it does not utilize the most current and innovative technology as it becomes available (2) it does not take into account the individual learning needs or styles across the diverse staff, (3) it does not engender the sense of excitement and involvement that facilitates learning and transforms individuals into high performing teams within the company.

IMERSHEN Solution – Creating High Performing Teams

When training is effective, groups of individuals can evolve more quickly into High Performing Teams resulting in stronger, better operating, high producing companies.

The IMERSHEN Solution is tailored to both the stated needs, goals, and training environment for each client and to the individual learning needs of each employee.  This is accomplished through an innovative blend of today’s highly interactive technologies that creates tools, a learning environment, and a personalized coaching experience that allows staff to learn when, where, and how is best for them.

For this company, employees can engage in training at home without having to come in early or stay late after a shift. Or, if preferred, a group of employees can be trained at a convenient time on-site. If questions arise outside of the set training time, they can be answered through the technology at any time through any device.

Employee training needs are individual. One employee may need less time or have fewer questions than another employee. One may learn better visually while another learns better orally. One may need more hands-on time than another or feel more comfortable in a group setting vs. learning on their own.  One may need multiple small bites of information while another can take in a lot of information at once. One employee may need to role-play customer service while another needs to visualize how to stock shelves.

These learning differences can be handled seamlessly through the IMERSHEN Solution. And by personalizing the learning experience to the needs of the individual’s role in the company and to their own learning style, training will be more effective while still complete and thorough.

IMERSHEN delivers this super-charged training experience by blending four key technologies:

  • Chatbot: Imagine a conversation with a chatbot (similar to Alexa or Siri) via text or voice that provides a response to an employee’s question at any hour of the day or night. The Chatbot can answer the specific question asked on-demand and also instantly deliver a micro-learning unit about the subject of the question to improve the employee’s depth of understanding and capabilities.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) Personalization: Much as Netflix or TikTok learns a user’s preferences and needs, IMERSHEN Solution’s AI Personalization module learns the training content needed by the individual. Based on their role in the company, learning style, topics of interest, and training and industry practices, the employee will be provided with high-quality, concise training content that is targeted specifically to them. As the employee learns, content is expanded automatically to enhance their knowledge.
  • Augmented Reality (AR): Virtual and / or Augmented Reality has been used to simulate real-world scenarios for some time. For instance, a pilot first learns to fly by using a flight simulator. Today’s technology delivers AR in small, mobile, easily accessible units such as goggles and glasses. AR is highly effective in training through imagery and instruction that can be tailored to company and individual needs. For this company, for instance, an in-store dog groomer could see and experience the newest grooming techniques while getting instruction through AR.
  • Serious Games: Gaming technology isn’t just for gaming anymore. It can be very effective when it is for designed for learning and practicing skills since many people in today’s workforce are comfortable and familiar with using gaming technology. This play-based experience can be applied to a variety of learning points including project planning, communications, testing, and collaborating, as well as to specific skills and jobs. By designing training as “gaming,” employees are likely to see training as fun and as something they want to do rather than have to do.

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