Retailers reaping rewards of technology-enabled learning strategies, research reveals

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Written by Seun Robert-Edomi on 16 June 2015 in News
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Retailers report that learning technologies have had a significant impact on business outcomes. Compared with traditional training methods, they report a 34 per cent improvement in their ability to change procedures or products, a 44 per cent improvement in their ability to roll out new IT applications and a 26 per cent improvement in customer satisfaction, which they attribute to the use of learning technologies

Retailers are improving revenue, productivity and behavioural change amongst employees as a result of adopting technology-enabled learning, but there is still more opportunity to be had.

That’s according to the latest Towards Maturity study - the Retail and Wholesale Trade Sector Benchmark Report – launched by benchmarking company Towards Maturity. It is the fourth in a series of reports that assesses the impact of a technology-enabled learning strategy across a range of industry sectors.

Retailers report that learning technologies have had a significant impact on business outcomes. Compared with traditional training methods, they report a 34 per cent improvement in their ability to change procedures or products, a 44 per cent improvement in their ability to roll out new IT applications and a 26 per cent improvement in customer satisfaction, which they attribute to the use of learning technologies.

More than half are using the learning they develop to inform their customers and suppliers of new products. Their approach to learning is 25 per cent more likely than average to reduce time away from the job and improve external customer satisfaction. Retailers are also 50 per cent more likely than average to agree that they are developing a better qualified workforce.

The study shows that retail L&D staff have a greater knowledge about the potential use and implementation of technology compared to other sectors. They are also offering their employees a wider range of skills. Innovation in learning is a driving force in the sector, with 84 per cent of the organisations surveyed now using mobile learning to help mitigate challenges with IT infrastructure and PC access, which is improving productivity, knowledge sharing and employee satisfaction.

Rob Caul, CEO of Kallidus, said: “It’s good to see that retail continues to be one of the most innovative and committed sectors to investing in technology for learning and is clearly delivering tangible business benefits through technology-enabled learning. The report highlights that retailers are now offering their employees a wider range of skills compared with other industry sectors and that further benefits stand to be gained through more integrated learning and talent systems..”

The retail sector scored well above the private sector average for the impact learning technologies had on learners. The research revealed:

  • 70 per cent of retailers strongly agree that staff can access learning directly relevant to their job
  • 65 per cent have increased the proportion of staff who are now on learning programmes
  • 36 per cent strongly agree that learners put what they learn into practice quickly
  • 36 per cent have noticed positive changes in staff behaviour

Commenting on the findings, Towards Maturity managing director Laura Overton, said: “Our report shows the retail sector is making good use of technology, which is having a direct impact on business effectiveness. However, challenges remain around delivering on-the-job learning at the point of need. As with other sectors, L&D teams lack the skills to implement effective online learning. The opportunity here is huge; by understanding the needs of learners, L&D teams in the sector will be able to design and deliver relevant learning initiatives at the point of need.”

 

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