eXtra Stores is the biggest electronics retailer in the Middle East, with 3,000 employees working across 47 stores in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman, ranging from large mall locations to smaller standalone stores.
In 2014, eXtra Stores recognised a growing need to offer consistent training for store employees in remote locations. Their stores are spread out across the Middle East, which required a lot of travelling, so eXtra Stores decided to upgrade their learning management system from an existing Oracle implementation that wasn’t fit for purpose. Embedding learning into eXtra Stores’ company culture was also a top priority for them. They chose to partner with iLearn ME, who helped them set up Totara Learn.
The learning platform was to be used for internal training, onboarding new hires and talent development, with a strong focus on mandatory training for new products. Crucially, the activity logged in Totara Learn would tie into KPIs for everyone in the business, affecting bonuses and development opportunities, meaning that they also needed a way to comprehensively manage performance alongside learning.
eXtra Stores knew that they needed a wide range of content to engage their diverse audience, and so their Totara Learn platform hosts SCORM e-learning, checklists, assessments, coaching plans, classroom training and more to ensure that all the bases are covered. There are currently three training types in the system, with level 1 content being simple PDFs and presentations, level 2 being interactive activities and level 3 being more complex scenarios and roleplay activities.
One of the unique aspects of eXtra Stores’ solution is that it goes outside the scope of learning. Every year, eXtra Stores holds a massive sales event across its electronic products, lasting around five days and welcoming two million people into its stores. The flexibility of Totara Learn means that it works perfectly for supporting preparations for this event, as well as hosting surveys.
In terms of performance management, the system is used to set KPIs for everyone in the organisation, including the CEO, at the start of the year. Everyone must submit their goals and get them approved by their manager and their manager’s manager. Mapping and managing competencies for everyone in the organisation would be virtually impossible to do manually across 3,000 employees, making Totara Learn an integral part of their performance management process. The appraisal process then takes place at the end of the year to check whether employees met their KPIs, ensuring everyone stays on track, can be supported in reaching their goals and rewarded with bonuses if performance is good enough.
iLearn ME helped eXtra Stores launch the LMS with course teaser content and explaining the link between KPIs, learning activity and bonuses to help motivate learners and embed learning into the organisation’s culture.
“Our previous LMS was not sufficient. I’ve worked with Saba, SuccessFactors and lots of other LMSs before but Totara Learn is by far the best learning platform in the market.”
Over the years eXtra Stores has used Totara Learn, they have seen excellent results. After just the second year of using the platform for setting KPIs and managing performance, they have seen a KPI submission rate of 99%, with appraisal coverage of 99.8%.
Totara Learn and iLearn ME have given eXtra Stores the freedom to save $600,000 USD a year by reducing time and money that would otherwise be spent on travelling to in-person training sessions.
100% of employees use the system, with more than 80% logging in regularly to access training. The platform has already seen 22,000 hours of training completed, and 100% of new hires access the system from day one at the company, highlighting the freedom to learn Totara Learn has unlocked for eXtra Stores.
Last years, eXtra Stores competed against 200 large public and private organisations and won the award for the Most Distinctive Learning & Development Strategy awarded by GCS Governance HR.
eXtra Stores say that iLearn ME is one of the best of the 200 partners they work with. They are flexible, understanding of their unique challenges and work with them to solve issues in a timely manner. They also have the expertise and technical knowledge needed to ensure the success of the platform, and they provide continuous support day or night.
In the future, eXtra Stores is working on a suite of level 4 content, which will cover immersive content including VR, simulations, gamified learning and experiential learning, all of which will be hosted on the same Totara Learn platform. They will also increase the use of 360 feedback, launch a new leadership development programme and introduce continuous performance management to better support employees.
“When you have an LMS platform, the expectation would be just manage the learning cycle. Totara is going above and beyond by providing us with full talent management and touch points for the whole employee experience within the organisation; which has a positive impact on people, the business and financial results.
Totara is easy to use and very customer friendly. It’s a flexible system which offers lots of different types of activities. We use it for training purposes, for performance management and much more. We can also easily integrate our learning platform with any other sites we have.
iLearn is not considered as a provider, but as our success partner. They are very flexible and have a good understanding of what’s crucial and important to our organisation. We enjoy working closely with them. They have the expertise and technical knowledge we need, and offer continuous support.”
- Mahmoud Al Amir, Training & Development Manager, eXtra Stores