Kroger offers frontline employees easy-to-digest mobile training during their regular work day.
Chain Store Age recently spoke to Senchal Murphy, Senior Director of Training and Onboarding at The Kroger Co., about how the grocery giant is using solutions from micro-learning technology provider Axonify to support employee initiatives that spur 10,000 new employees, engagement and Motivation includes nearly 500,000 food workers in the face of ongoing disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Kroger is a large company with people on the front lines in stores, distribution centers and across the supply chain,” said Murphy. “There are challenges in delivering training effectively that were exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
To maximize the efficiency and impact of training and onboarding activities, Kroger decided to replace manual, paper-based training with a web-based training process. The company wanted to develop a digital approach that it could deploy in different locations such as supply chain, manufacturing, and warehouse locations, and then measure it against the success of the customer experience. Ultimately, Kroger chose the Axonify microlearning platform.
“Axonify enables us to offer targeted, bite-sized training rates as we work,” explains Murphy. “It’s fun, easy to use and has a positive impact on the customer experience. It also enables us to collect meaningful data on the knowledge growth of employees. “
Kroger markets its Axonify training solution internally as the “Fresh Start” employee app. Employees can download the app on their own mobile devices or access it from shared corporate devices. Employees are encouraged to log in right at the start of their shift.
“We call it ‘clock in, app up,'” commented Murphy. “Employees can train three to five minutes a day on the go. There are also gamification aspects. “
The gamification elements include a training leaderboard and a popular virtual mini golf putting game. Murphy’s benefits of having employees attend on-site training during their shifts include increased retention and the avoidance of the interruptions, time and expense of hosting formal in-person events.
According to Murphy, around 6,000 Kroger employees have so far registered for the app via various company banners. The retailer plans to roll out its Axonify-based Fresh Start app across the company and expects around 300,000 employees to use it by October 2021.
In addition, Murphy said, Kroger was able to study shoppers in its stores to determine which training topics would have the most positive impact on the customer experience.
“We know fresh produce is an important factor in customers’ purchasing decisions,” said Murphy. “That’s why we use the app to train branch employees in our” Fresh and Friendly “program for fresh products.”
Fresh and Friendly is an in-store campaign promoting Kroger’s fresh produce range. Employees are trained to learn how to correctly identify fresh products, products past their freshness date, and how to rotate products on shelves and displays.
Kroger also uses the Axonify platform to conduct cultural training courses, for example to educate employees about diversity, equality and inclusion (DEI) efforts in the company. For employees, the ultimate benefit of the Axonify platform is a simple but important benefit.
“Employees can log in and have fun at work,” said Senchal.
Cincinnati-based Kroger operates 2,800 under various banners in the US including Kroger, Ralphs, Dillons, Smith’s, King Soopers, Fry’s, QFC, City Market, Owen’s, Jay C, Pay Less, Baker’s, Gerbes, Harris Teeter, Pick ‘ n Save, Metro Market and Mariano’s.