LRMG Performance Agency

Mr Price Group - Support Centre Environment

Client Introduction

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.

 

The Challenge

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:

  • Training was too time-consuming for merchants who could not afford to attend lengthy training workshops.
  • Availability of training was restricted. The timing and scheduling of training sessions needed to be flexible in order to coincide with the merchandise cycle.
  • Management was under time pressure to provide coaching and on-the-job support that conflicted with their travel itineraries.
  • Workplace application of learning was minimal. Practical application of knowledge learned in the workshops did not extend into the workplace.

 

LRMG's Xperience

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.

 

Our Approach

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.

  • Analysis
  • Design
  • Development
  • Implementation
  • Evaluation

 

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:

  • Pre- and post-modular and pre- and post-programme quizzes.
  • Interactive workscreens with multi-media (video and sound clips are used to enhance the learning experience).
  • Practical worksheets (that are printed and completed in the work environment and assessed by a coach/management).
  • A Quick Reference Guide (that can be printed upon completion of the programme).

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.

 

Successes

  • The shorter interactive eLearning programmes are less time-consuming than the classroom-based training sessions. The tracking and bookmarking built into each programme allows learners to stop at any time, and then resume the programme where they stopped working.
  • Accessibility to learning has increased due to the availability of training programmes on the LMS at all times. Learners can access training on their desktops or laptops.
  • Learning has become more relevant to learners, as they are able to assign programmes to themselves based on the current need in the workplace (in other words, where they are in the merchandise cycle) – they no longer have to wait for workshops or facilitated sessions to be scheduled.
  • There is more flexibility when scheduling time with management to work through the practical worksheets, as learners are not bound by classroom schedules.
  • Management has more time to coach and provide support as they are less involved in the classroom training.
  • Practical worksheets provide greater opportunities for practical application in the workplace.

 

Results:

  • From the launch of the first programme in March 2008 up until March 2013 a total number of 91,452 programmes have been completed.
  • From the launch of the first programme in March 2008 up until March 2013 the average post-assessment result across all the completions is 85%.
  • From the launch of the first programme in March 2008 up until March 2013 the cognitive gain achieved across all the completions is 22%.
  • Total Project Saving (ROI) from September 2008 to March 2013 is over R 85,000.

 

In Closing

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.”

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