Mr Price Group is a high-growth South-African-based fashion-value retailer of apparel, homeware and sportswear. The Group comprises five divisions: Mr Price, Mr Price Sport, Mr Price Home, Miladys and Sheet Street. The Group’s operational environment has 1,029 corporate-owned stores in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland, Lesotho, Nigeria and Ghana, as well as 26 franchise operations trading elsewhere in Africa, namely Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. The Mr Price Group Head Office or Support Centre is based in Durban. This is home to the merchant environment, their call centres, as well as the Distribution Centre.
A key imperative in the business is to grow the human capital resource by focusing on emerging leadership and key skills development.
What the client needs
Mr Price Group expressed the need for curricula to be defined for all roles in the merchant environment, as well as for eLearning programmes to be developed. An in-depth analysis of the effectiveness of the current classroom-based training programmes revealed that they did not meet the demands of this pressurised and deadline-driven environment:
Seven years ago Mr Price Group embarked on a journey to move from traditional face-to-face, instructor-led training to blended learning in their operations environment. This was successfully implemented nationally in stores across all fi ve divisions. At the time, we listened to their need and the creation of solid curricula and learner paths, the development of quality solutions, as well as a well-oiled project environment gave us the credibility to take on this challenge.
By following the same process for the successful implementation of eLearning courses in the operations environment, LRMG was able to deliver a number of training programmes (self-directed eLearning or blended solutions) that would be accessed on an LMS in the merchant environment.
As part of our analysis phase, DACUM workshops were held for each of the following Support Centre merchant roles: Buyer, Planner, Trend Forecaster, Visual Merchandiser, Graphic Designer, Quality Technologist and Quality Auditor. DACUM means Developing A Curriculum. This method is used to document workplace skills of specific job roles, i.e. the knowledge, skills, tools and positive behaviours that enable the worker to be successful.
Between five to twelve subject matter experts from the Support Centre, with the guidance of our qualified DACUM facilitator, listed the duties and tasks that must be performed in each specifi c job role. The DACUM supports performance-based training as it identifi es the skills upon which the training will be based. Once each DACUM chart was established, the participants grouped the tasks into areas that could possibly be trained together, forming programmes resulting in a suggested learner path and details of courses in a course specification document. This would then be the first draft of a competency-based curriculum for that specific role.
Once management approved the documentation, development of the programmes commenced. To confirm the information that was gathered upfront, further workshops were held with the subject matter experts in each role to define the framework for each programme. The programme framework details all the learning outcomes and objectives for the learning solution that will be developed.
In the design and development phase, the graphic elements and wireframe storyboards are signed off by the client at different stages of the project cycle. This ensures client involvement and approval during the development of the solution.
A blended learning approach was used in the design of the solution. It includes the following:
1. An eLearning programme with:
2. A paper-based Possible Answers booklet for the coach/management to ensure consistency during the assessment of workplace activities.
Once the full programme has been designed and developed, a test group is invited to test the functionality of the programme at a User Acceptance Testing. In these sessions, members of the target audience, management and the Learning and Development team have an opportunity to test the programme in a live environment.
Once the programme has been finalised, our development team works closely with the client during the implementation phase. This involves providing the client with the correct fi les that need to be uploaded onto their LMS and then testing it in the live environment before it is launched into the business.
Using the ADDIE model as a guideline for creating our solutions helps us determine the most efficient and effective way of reaching the desired outcomes for each of our learning solutions. This effective project management and great client engagement with this High Value Client has contributed to the launching of 67 programmes into the merchant environment.
Justin Bodill, Talent Development Specialist for the Merchandise Portfolio at Mr Price Group comments:
“As a business we have worked with LRMG for the past seven years. We see them as a strategic partner, but more so, an extension of our team. One of our company values is ‘partnership’ and it is a quality that LRMG embodies in all that they do. They offer a professional service, but a very personal service. We have forged close relationships with the teams we engage with at LRMG, and have found them to be very flexible, supportive and open to our ever-changing needs as a business.”