Following a period of rapid growth, Lush North America needed to adapt – and a new learning strategy put its mission center stage. Hear Shauna Grinke, Head of People and Culture, share her insights into these changes. Find out how connecting your people with your purpose can see real results, and explore why the human element is key to effective retail L&D.
Play this episode
Top tips for sparking a learning revolution
Don’t have time to listen now? Here are some top tips from Shauna:
- Connect people with purpose: Create a learning strategy that supports your mission – use a blended learning approach to create consistent and effective messaging.
- Get aligned and work together: Everyone should be working together to achieve your mission. An organization-wide learning strategy enables you to connect and respond at speed.
- Relate learning to results: From increased sales to improved engagement, measurement is key. Assessing your results validates your approach.
- Keep it human: Retail is all about great customer experiences. Make elearning part of a blend to ensure you don’t lose the human touch.
1. Connect people with purpose
A clear mission is key to success in the demanding world of modern retail. From recruitment to development, this purpose should inform all your decisions. So, how do you create a learning strategy that supports it?
Shauna is passionate about Lush’s mission: creating a cosmetics revolution to save the planet. This purpose informs everything Lush does. It’s the foundation of their new learning strategy – an approach that has enabled consistent messaging across the organization. It has translated product innovations into customer conversations on the shop floor. This empowers learners to become passionate advocates who live Lush values.
“Our evolution to a blended learning approach with elearning at the foundation has allowed us to be much more consistent in our messaging. We are also more intentional in what we’re saying. Staff can learn foundational knowledge and then get on to the sales floor. They work with a sales ambassador to apply that knowledge in a way that’s going to be really valuable to the customer.”
2. Get aligned and work together
During periods of rapid growth and change, you need to be able to respond at retail speed. But moving quickly doesn’t always mean moving in the same direction.
Your mission will only be successful if you work together to achieve it. For Shauna, collaboration is key to competing in today’s dynamic retail environment. The rapid growth of Lush led to siloed ways of working. Experts in manufacturing, supply chain and retail developed their own systems. Introducing a new organization-wide learning strategy made the company more interconnected.
“There is a considerable amount of work you have to do slow to go fast. Make sure that you have the alignment first, before you jump to action. What we’re doing now is getting senior leadership aligned with our context. It is our focus on our purpose that enables the organization to change quickly.”
3. Relate learning to results
In an organization with a mission, the aim of learning and development is clear. Everything you do should work towards achieving that mission. So how do you know you are heading in the right direction?
For Shauna, measurement is key. It confirms that staff feel empowered to be advocates of the brand. And their pilot results showed that they successfully achieved this. The new learning strategy saw a significant impact. From customer conversion to staff engagement, Shauna saw improvements across the board. Anecdotal feedback showed that the learning encouraged conversation and informal collaboration.
“In the last year, elearning has become an important part of how we communicate. And how we validate that the messages have landed. The pilot results over the holiday season were significant. They demonstrated the impact of the style of delivery of knowledge.”
4. Keep it human
Technological and social changes have left people craving human connections. In this landscape, unique customer experiences can be a true competitive advantage. So how does digital learning fit with these human retail experiences?
For Shauna, the human touch is important across the whole system of learning. It’s not only building skills and knowledge. It’s about creating the right culture and attitudes. As part of a blended approach, bite-sized elearning can help achieve this. In fact, it can be more effective than face-to-face training.
“Even with the most inspiring trainer, sitting in a hotel room for a day-long training event might not be the best way to help people learn. Giving them bite-sized learning in short segments, and augmenting that with inspiring trainers who support them in applying the learning seems to be the secret sauce.”
A quick recap
Lush North America has seen a period of rapid growth. In response, Shauna has moved to a blended learning approach. And she’s seen significant benefits from this strategy. Shauna has four tips for ensuring your strategy is successful. Connect your people with your purpose. Get aligned and work together. Relate learning to clear results. Keep the human element. Want to find out more? Check out the full podcast.
Shauna has headed up the People and Culture function at Lush North America for over five years. She’s responsible for everything from employee relations to learning and development.
On Shauna’s reading list
Find out which books are Shauna’s must-reads for success in retail L&D.
What kind of business do you want to be? How you can build a more positive future? Shauna recommends Conscious Capitalism to help you explore your company’s mission.
A seminal book on managing change. Shauna has returned to this book many times since it was first published.
A guide to getting the best result from the corporate learning function. Shauna describes this book as an oldie but a goodie.
Looking for more reading tips? Check out our book blog.
Join the conversation!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.