Increasing sales & improving business performance with e-learning @ Boots

by | Jan 4, 2010 | Case Studies, Evidence for Change

Winner of the silver award in the e-learning Awards for 2009, this case study explores how Boots UK overcame some enormous challenges in adopting e-learning throughout the organisation, and the many benefits that this new approach to learning has brought.

In the 11 months since launch in September 2008, the use of e-Learning has soared to 71% of their population of approx 65,000 employees with 228,380 e-learning modules now completed which is an average of 3.5 per store employee.

“eLearning is universally loved by our people in stores.”
Alex Gourlay, Chief Executive of the Health and Beauty Division, Alliance Boots

The challenges they faced were considerable when you consider:

  • Over 2,600 stores and around 65,000 employees, with many varying work patterns
  • Training needed to be:
    o Consistent, sustainable and quickly deployable
    o Delivered efficiently to maximize customer facing time
    o Of high quality but delivered at low cost
  • Increased demand from the business to demonstrate return on Learning and Development (L&D) investment
  • The employee engagement survey indicated that training was consistently falling short of employee’s expectations

It was evident Boots needed a new approach to L&D and to meet these challenges, Boots decided to invest in an e-Learning infrastructure that would allow stores to access online training content.

Boots developed a unique brand for e-learning called ‘Log-on and Learn’ and they have overcome technology, accessibility and cultural obstacles to deliver a programme that has had a profound impact on business performance.

Evidence for Change

We are pleased to include this story in our Evidence for Change programme. In this case study you’ll learn how Boots achieved improvements in:

Sales performance:

  • Cosmetics – the top 10% of stores completing e-learning show a significant increase in sales compared to the average;
  • Electrical Beauty – the top 10% of stores completing Electrical Beauty e-learning also show a significant increase in sales compared to the average;
  • Travel Insurance – stores completing e-learning show a 100% increase in sales over those that have not;
  • There has been a tangible improvement in the sales of vitamins just three weeks after the launch of a vitamin basic module.

Customer Care – in the period Oct 08-Mar 09, the top 10% highest engaged stores show a 3 percentage point increase in their score compared to the average score in that period.

Impact on Great Place to Work Score – When considering the question ‘I have the training I need to do a great job’, the top 10% highest engaged stores show a 5 percentage point increase compared to the average score for the question.

Efficiency Savings – e-Learning has been used to support 3 key HR projects:

  • Performance Leadership
  • Employee Offer
  • Recruitment Transformation

 10 top tips to take away

Terrific results and here are the top 10 hints & tips that you can learn from this story:

  1. Don’t be constrained by history and past training preferences
  2. Respect the diversity of your audience and understand their needs
  3. Secure senior management commitment and buy-in
  4. Balance high quality with low costs
  5. Align learning to key organisation values and goals
  6. Undertake a ‘pilot’ to demonstrate success and identify key obstacles and likely resistance
  7. Develop and implement a plan to overcome obstacles and resistance
  8. Establish a strong brand and communications strategy for e-learning in the organisation
  9. Establish ‘e-learning champions’ in ‘local’ stores (locations)
  10. Demonstrate value and benefits to the organisation in terms of improved business performance, increased sales, staff satisfaction and customer care.

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