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Lidl’s Learning System Helps Employees Control Their Own Development

Career development from within an organisation can often be a tedious and time-consuming exercise for HR departments and employees alike. Traditional methods involved sitting down in the staff room filling out forms and exercise books ad-nauseum with little or no way to measure their effectiveness in helping employees gain a promotion.

These old-fashioned methods add up to little more than box ticking exercises, necessitating a new way of handling career development. Thankfully there are digital solutions such as learning management systems which can help employees take control.

Lidl's Learning Platform

Budget supermarket brand, Lidl has been making huge gains around the world in the past decade and today operates more than 10,000 locations in 28 countries across Europe and the US and employs over 300,000 staff.

This creates a mammoth HR challenge when it comes to developing the careers of such a large and international workforce. To meet this challenge, Lidl wanted to implement a digital learning development system, which would support its employees in their development, while also allowing them to take responsibility for their own learning.

“Lidl’s key question when overhauling our learning programme was, how can we support our employees during their career at Lidl with smart tools in their needs for work and personal development?” said Director of HR for Lidl The Netherlands, Sophie Geerts Jaspers. “We have a clear vision on this and wish to give employees more space and responsibility in their personal development.”

A Tailored Experience

Key to the new programme was the ability to tailor each employee’s learning with personal lessons, allowing them to develop in alignment with their own goals. Lidl already had a comprehensive graduate development programme which allows recent university leavers to get hands on experience and further qualification in the grocery retail space, and this needed to tie into the new platform with bespoke career pathways.

“Our graduate training plan is bespoke, depending on your current skills and career path,” said Lidl’s Graduate Programme Manager, Evanna McGrath. “Our exciting 18-month Graduate Management Development Programme consists of several different areas which will give you a full understanding of our business. You will also spend some time in our stores and warehouses to gain a thorough understanding of the key business areas before entering your chosen department.”

The online platform can assess the strengths and weaknesses of employees and suggest ways for them to improve the latter and build on the former. The clear, and easy to understand interface invokes the feeling of a social media feed, presenting users with a format with which they will be immediately familiar.

For those with a more competitive streak, there are gamification elements such as achievements and leaderboards. These features help keep employees motivated by always giving them a new goal to work towards and aims to create some break room banter as they engage in friendly competition with one another.

The learning management system contains workshops, hundreds of learning resources, and over 800 eBooks which can all be accesses from any connected device, whether a desktop computer, smartphone, or tablet. Topics include how to use popular software packages such as the Microsoft Office suite and more, and guidance and tips for delivering confident and engaging presentations. Employees can learn skills which will be immediately useful for the average supermarket employee as well as building a knowledge base which will equip them to be able to enter management roles and other career pathways.

Harnessing Data

Crucially, the platform can collect and analyse the huge amounts of data generated by its use. This data can then be put to work assessing the effectiveness of the various resources, as well as employee engagement. One of the most important elements of employee development is to make sure you are always open to changing things up when it becomes apparent something isn’t working. Stubbornly sticking with a course of action which isn’t working helps nobody, so having the tools necessary to assess and make changes is crucial to effective ongoing employee development.

"At Lidl we work goal-oriented and result-oriented,” said Senior Manager of Leadership and Development for Lidl The Netherlands, Skanda Kock. “This means that we want to make quick progress and in this we found a good partner in learning. As a result, we have created a fully-fledged and attractive learning environment in less than three months, with which employees can improve the quality of their work and take control of it themselves."

Making the most of new technology to assist in the HR role is set to be a hot topic at HR360 European Summit 2019, taking place in June at the Hilton Vienna Danube Waterfront. Please download the agenda today for more information and insights.

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