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Learning pays off - IT support for training and operational education at Lidl

Lidl is on a growth curve. The discounter is currently represented by branches in 26 countries. From 2017 it will even be represented in the USA. Each day seven million customers shop in the company’s 10,000 stores, which are supplied by 140 logistics centers. Worldwide, more than 200,000 employees work for Lidl.

Success required qualified workers

Personnel development at Lidl is supported by the three pillars of basic training, further training and development, for each of which tts develops a specific learning solution. Each of the three areas is facilitated by its own system solutions. In particular, Lidl relies on the intermeshing of IT-supported and practical learning within the framework of basic and induction training. The challenge in this sub-domain consists of achieving the blended learning approach, since most employees do not have their own access via a PC.

The on-premise SAP Learning Solution (SAP LSO) forms the technological platform for system support. All systemic personnel development processes are managed via a global personnel system, accessed by the individual countries.

Basic and induction training with “leon”

As is the case everywhere in retail, Lidl has a relatively large number of casual employees and the accompanying high level of turnover. Moreover, the operational procedures in store branches, for example the introduction of automatic baking machines, are often affected by changes. Typically a large number of people are involved when new workers are inducted: the (already trained) colleagues, the store manager, the sales manager and the personnel department. In the past, a blended learning approach, in which theory and practice were closely combined, proved itself effective. The aim, within the framework of this project, was to find an IT-supported solution whereby the induction of new workers can be completed within four weeks.

In the leon basic training system Lidl opted for a kiosk- solution in the form of an employee terminal that is easy to use, similar to a large iPad, and which is made available in the stores’ staff rooms.

Tina Dosch, Team Leader IT Systems & Learning Solutions, Lidl Stiftung

In the leon basic training system Lidl opted for a kiosk-solution in the form of an employee terminal that is easy to use, similar to a large iPad.

 

Tina Dosch, Team Leader IT Systems & Learning Solutions, Lidl Stiftung

The kiosk solution

In the leon deployment, employees complete e-learning units or tests directly at the terminal. In addition, the store leader can plan induction via the terminal, allocate induction plans and decide when specific units should be completed.

Via his / her iPad, the sales manager gets a good overview of the current training status. People who are additionally involved in the process, such as the personnel department of the logistics center, and the personnel management in the country headquarters, can likewise access information on the employees’ current training status.

Training units with theory and practice for everyone

A training unit aligned to a specific role within leon consists of a variety of modules and always starts with the theoretical phase, in which the basics are communicated via e-learning. Each theoretical phase concludes with an interactive test.

In the practical phase that follows, the employee deepens the knowledge acquired at the terminal in day-to-day work in the store. This phase is moderated by a trainer, who is, as a rule, an experienced salesperson or cashier. The practical phase ends with a feedback module. This makes it possible to ensure that the employee has actually mastered all of the content learned in the theoretical and practical phases. 10,000 employees have already used leon since June 2015 and the rollout is planned to start for the whole of Europe in October. By the end of 2017 employee terminals for inductions will be installed in all of Lidl’s 10,000 store branches.

As is the case in all large companies, Lidl is also asking itself the question: when, and in what form, does it make sense to migrate from a Lidl-specific on-premise solution to a cloudbased solution?

 

Tina Dosch, Team Leader IT Systems & Learning Solutions, Lidl Stiftung

Structured further training

Alongside a systematic induction, Lidl also sees further training of established employees as a further success factor for effective personnel development. In this sub-domain of personnel development Lidl makes a distinction between formal and informal learning. Even at the time of the migration of the ERP systems to SAP the question arose: How can we make the necessary knowledge available to employees at their precise moment of need (informal learning)? The answer: tt knowledge force. Small e-learning sequences are built in-house using tt knowledge force, which the employees can call up via a web portal at any time while at their place of work.

Alongside this informal learning, Lidl also provides formal learning in the form of classical seminars or more complex e-learning units, which are administered via a web portal based on the SAP Learning Solution. The key users in the management of the various individual country businesses and logistics centers manage the training administration, invite (or, where training is not required, disinvite) employees to training and supervise them.

Development initiative for store managers

In 2014 Lidl commenced with its most extensive program of development activities with its “Store Manager Offensive”. The objective was to equip managers in the store branches with improved management and leadership qualities and to implement the entire project in just six months. As well as offering an optimized development program, Lidl aimed to set up a system that binds the leadership team into this process at all times. Thus store managers complete a development day in which they are inducted in competences that still need to be deepened. To support this process with a system-based solution, Lidl worked with tts to develop an app that makes it possible to create and manage individual development plans.

Toolbox MSS App

The available development activities can be individually selected by employees from a defined toolbox and linked to a development plan. As well as the development activities, the sought-after objectives can be stipulated, which makes it easy for managers to evaluate the success of the activities. If required, further training, group training, classical seminars or onthe- job training can be planned by the key users via feedback to the SAP LSO (HR portal). It is no longer necessary to provide information to personnel management outside the system: the key user receives this information via SAP LSO. The MSS App is already live in 20 countries; it has enabled the collection of 2,000 development plans and the development of 10,000 store managers.

Outlook

Lots is happening: besides the global rollout of the employee terminals, Lidl has set itself the objective of offering an integrated personnel development process and an integrated system solution to all employee groups over the next years. The already successfully implemented blended learning approach is to be strengthened; in addition to the classical training seminars, employees across the company will be able to acquire new knowledge, also via e-learning.

Moreover, in the course of optimizing and standardizing processes and systems within personnel development, manager-self-service and employee-self-service possibilities will also be offered.
As is the case in all large companies, Lidl is also asking itself the question: when, and in what form, does it make sense to migrate from a Lidl-specific on-premise solution to a cloud-based solution? Thus the topic of personnel development is, and remains, thrilling. Lidl is looking forward to the up-coming challenges, for which it has already laid the foundations.