IT training: John Lewis case study

Tracey Andrews, manager, learning and development, John Lewis, explains how the company is using e-learning to bring consistency and accessibility to its training.

When I joined the L&D team at John Lewis, all of our branches were carrying out their own learning and development. That meant both our new and existing partners (staff) were encountering very different levels of L&D support, depending on which branch they were in. That also meant customers quite often received a different level of service.

So my team and I developed a new learning and development offer. It was head office-driven, and covered both soft and technical skills – we called it ‘Horizons’.

We also developed the John Lewis selling academy, a technical programme for anyone who is going to interact with our customers.

The selling academy has three key areas: shop keeping; product knowledge; and customer service. Partners can access around 800 resources through the group’s intranet – the resources are split according to time commitment, depth and complexity of information.

We have had fantastic feedback from staff, but if I were to do it all again, I would push for greater investment in technology, to make it web-based, rather than through our intranet. I think the power of having your learning offer available any time and anywhere is immense.

To date, we’ve had around 10,000 partners access this online learning offer. We have a ‘Horizons Suite’ in every branch, and internet cafés in dining rooms, and have committed to releasing partners from shop floors so they can develop themselves.

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