Building a global workforce that creates great customer experiences

Great brand experiences don’t just happen. Your people make them happen. Hear how Kathleen Mattie, an experienced Global Learning and Development Director for many large-scale beauty brands, approached a global program of brand education. Find out how she managed a centralized learning model across 42 countries. Explore the impact of personal development. Discover why looking to consumers will give you metrics that matter.

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Top tips for successful brand education

Don’t have time to listen now? Here are some top tips from Kathleen:

  1. Create brand experiences to drive sales: In a changing retail landscape, memorable brand experiences are invaluable. Give your people the skills they need to make this happen and you’ll see results.
  2. Start centrally, support locally: Make a centralized learning approach your foundation. Adapt and support it locally to maximize your impact.
  3. Make development personal: No one knows your people like your managers. Give them the skills they need to support personalized learning and individual development.
  4. Look to the consumer for metrics that matter: Use customer reviews and manager observations to assess your program. Customer impact is the best way to measure success.

1. Create brand experiences to drive sales

Increased choice and online shopping are changing consumer expectations. If retail is going to keep pace, it needs to adapt. So, how can you create retail experiences that draw people into your brand? 

After analyzing what her customers wanted, Kathleen developed a Client Emotion program. From greetings to purchases, the program explored seven customer touch points. A blended learning approach combined face-to-face training and elearning. Each element focused on key customer service skills, including listening and empathy. Everything needed for a great brand experience. The results were impressive. 

“We did a pilot test of the program. Taking a client from the front door all the way through to what happens when they exit – the seven touch points to ensure that their journey was a really good experience. And everywhere we piloted it saw a double-digit growth in sales. So, it works!”

2. Start centrally, support locally

Creating consistently great brand experiences isn’t straight forward. Rolling it out globally adds another layer of complexity. If a global retail program is going to be effective, you need to be open to adapting it.

A centralized learning approach was the foundation of Kathleen’s program, but the regions, stores and managers felt empowered to deliver it in a way that worked for them. It wasn’t just a case of providing resources and letting people get started. Kathleen needed to support this localization to ensure it translated

“There’s a very good chance that resources are not going to be the same in a different language. The nuances are going to be different. So, it’s really important to communicate with your global stakeholders to make sure they understand. I have to make sure that I’m giving them the best service I can. And the best material so they can take it and they can localize it.”

3. Make development personal

For any program to be effective, it doesn’t just need to work for regions. It needs to work for individuals. Putting personal development at the heart of your program is the key to its success.

For Kathleen, it’s essential you understand what’s happening with your people. Are they completing your elearning? How are they self-assessing? Are they getting good feedback? And – most importantly – do your managers see behavior change? Think about your managers as your compass. They support individual learning and development. But they can also help you understand what’s happening on the shop floor. 

“Each person needs to be treated differently. Each person has different soft and technical skills. The manager is responsible for having these conversations – saying, let’s look at the competencies that the company expects. Let’s look at your skills, and where you want to go with your career. Let’s do some comparisons and get you into some training. It’s very personalized.”

4. Look to the consumer for metrics that matter

Digital learning platforms and feedback tools have made it easy to get information. But if you want metrics that matter, you need to look to the consumer.

Increased sales were a clear indicator of the success of Kathleen’s program. But that wasn’t the only metric she explored. Customer feedback was key. From online reviews to manager observations, she measured success through consumer impact. These insights were then used to adapt and improve her program.

“Customer feedback is one of the ways that you can quantify a better customer experience. Asking ‘how was your experience today? with reviews on websites and in stores. And, of course, it’s also the manager being abreast of what’s happening with their people. So, if they have five people and one is receiving complaints versus one that always has five stars.” 

A quick recap

Faced with a changing retail landscape, Kathleen knew she needed to focus on the consumer. Her Client Emotion program transformed their brand experience. She has four strategies for effective retail L&D on a global scale. Create great brand experiences and you will drive sales. Start with a centralized approach but adapt it locally. Enable your managers to support real personal development. Look to your customers to measure your success.

Want to find out more? Check out the full podcast. 

About Kathleen

After over 19 years’ L&D experience at L’Oréal, Kathleen joined Estée Lauder in 2020. As Executive Director of Global Learning and Development, she’s responsible for building and executing their global learning strategy.

You can find out more and get connected with Kathleen on LinkedIn.

On Kathleen’s reading list

Find out which books are Kathleen’s L&D leadership must-reads.

The Future of Leadership: Rise of Automation, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence, Brigette Tasha Hyacinth

This book is essential preparation for the ongoing digital revolution. It’s Kathleen’s must read if you’re working at a company that’s going through this kind of transformation. 

Conscious: The Power of Awareness in Business and Life, Bob Rosen and Emma-Kate Swann

Faced with increasing complexity and uncertainty, many of us feel unprepared and ineffective. Kathleen recommends this book for exploring how self-awareness can help you lead effectively.

Looking for more reading tips? Check out our book blog

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We’d love to hear your thoughts on our podcast, so feel free to get in touch on Twitter @learningatlarge with any questions or queries. You can also email Simon, our podcast host, at As always, don’t forget to subscribe to Learning at Large in your favorite podcast app and leave us a 5-star rating if you enjoyed it. Thank you for joining us, and see you next time.

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