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Halfords achieved a 20% increase in learner engagement with Totara Learn

Founded in 1892, Halfords Group PLC is a retailer of car parts, car enhancement, camping, touring and bicycles. Listed on the London Stock Exchange and a constituent of the FTSE 250 index, Halfords successfully operates around 780 stores and centres in the UK and Republic of Ireland.

The main business units include Halfords Retail, Halfords Auto-centres and Cycle Republic. Halfords Retail offers a range of sub-brands as part of the product portfolio including Apollo, Bikehut, Boardman Bikes, Exodus, Pampero and Ripspeed while MOT services and repairs are offered in the Halfords Auto centres. 

The organisation continues to go from strength to strength expanding the product portfolio and service offerings to ensure that Halfords has all customers covered for ‘All of life’s journeys.’

Halfords Totara LMS homepage

The Challenge

Within the Halfords Group there was a need to deliver a consistent level of learning in a structured format, so that colleagues and the business could recognise personal and corporate capability levels.

Working across a network of 460 stores, across UK and Ireland with 8,500 colleagues, Halfords needed a solution that brought strong return on investment and a great user experience. Halfords chose Totara Learn as their preferred Learning Management System (LMS) to fulfil these needs.

Working with a different supplier at that time, Halfords decided to migrate their existing Totara Learn site, known as the ‘Halfords HUB’, to a new Totara Learn Service provider as they were experiencing issues with hosting, long development project turnaround times with value and costs proving factors.

They chose Synergy Learning as their preferred supplier to oversee the switching of this project from their existing suppliers.

Synergy Learning has been hosting Halfords Group PLC entire Totara Learn infrastructure since June 2015 that has now evolved considerably and is host for all business areas across the Halfords Group.

Halfords Totara LMS profile

The Solution

After in-depth scoping and collaboration with the Halfords People Development team, Totara Partner Synergy Learning concluded that Halfords needed an LMS that would: 

  • Enable them to focus their training at the right time for colleagues, aligned to seasonal and offer activity
  • Provide clear insight into employee capabilities to enable leaders to ensure they have the right capabilities in the place to deliver customer offers effectively and consistently across all Retail stores and auto centres
    Halfords reports LMS Totara

Synergy Learning identified a three-step phased approach to develop and progress the project.

Actions – Phase 1 (Implementation of core services)

  • Migration of Halfords HUB, the Totara Learn data and database including an upgrade of the site to the latest Totara Learn version
  • Hosting of Halfords HUB to include a 12 months fully managed hosting of Halfords HUB
  • Totara Learn Licensing set-up for up to 20,000 active users
  • Implementation of an Unlimited Hours Priority Totara Learn Support Contract
  • Full Project Management provided by Synergy Learning
Halfords LMS Totara My Team

Additional services – Phase 2 (Development)

  • Totara Learn Development project to provide added features and enhancements to the Halfords HUB platform. These included:
  • Development of customised course completion status feature to enable administrators to identify individual user progress and course completion details
  • Enhanced tag search facility to produce accurate user search results
  • Implementation of a featured courses area where users can search for courses information tailored to interests and individual learning needs
  • New course content flag
  • Appraisal notifications to allow line mangers to be notified when their employees’ appraisals are due
  • Enhanced Seminar Management plugin enabling seminars to be managed in a more robust, centralised manner

Additional Services – Phase 2 (Design)

  • High-level Totara Learn theme design. This included a unique theme, concept design, responsive or fixed width options, homepage layout and design
  • Development of mobile and tablet responsive support for new Halfords HUB theme
  • Individualised theme design for the Cycle Republic product range

Additional services – Phase 3 (Development)

  • Development of a gamification block based on the certifications, programmes, courses and activities that a learner has completed across the site. This will encourage interaction and add an element of fun to the overall user learning experience.
Halfords LMS Totara My current learning

The Results

Business Outcomes:

In the last 2 years Halfords have seen significant enhancements to business processes by the LMS. These include:

  • Compliance, knowledge and engagement learning programmes
  • Pay supplements and knowledge based pay
  • Face to face workshop bookings for all business areas
  • Company-wide HR reporting
  • In addition Halfords have seen significant improvements in employee retention, growing Net Promoter Scores (NPS) and growth in engagement including:
  • “Being placed 18th in the Sunday Times Best Companies Survey”
  • All of which is growing top and bottom line sales.

Specific LMS Outcomes:

  • 12,500 Halfords employees registered on the Halfords HUB across the UK, Ireland and Asia.
  • Halfords reported a 20% spike in employees using the HUB since Synergy Learning provided Totara Learn services
  • Halfords employees can register for access to a range of online interactive and informative business modules
  • Halfords employees can be part of and engage with an online community to share information
  • Halfords now have a robust, reliable and secure hosting solution
Workshops Halfords LMS

Future Developments

Synergy Learning are working with Halfords to further enhance the LMS. Current and future projects include:

  • Offline SCORM player
  • Improvements to Enhanced Seminar Management
  • Interactive career map and PDP support
  • Site Gamification – XP, site rankings and leaderboards

Key features of the project

  • Hosting – large-scale load-balanced environment
  • Totara Learn licensing
  • Ongoing support
  • Ongoing development work
  • Theme design – updating the brand and design of all sites (Halfords HUB and Cycle Republic)
  • Ongoing consultancy
Halfords Totara LMS

"Since partnering with Halfords, Synergy Learning have supported the People Development team in growing the use and effectiveness of eLearning through the deployment of Totara Learn. A mix of learning styles and content is used across the Halfords HUB. Synergy Learning's honest, flexible and scalable approach has been invaluable for us, not only allowing for rapid deployment of new learning projects but also in ensuring the solutions are delivered in the most cost-effective manner.

New development projects to enhance the LMS are scoped in detail and a project timeline is always agreed in advance to ensure the development feature (s) are ready for the go-live date specified by us. We'd recommend Synergy Learning (and have done so already) because, unlike most suppliers, they work with us to find and implement the best possible solution. They don't chase the pounds and their focus is solely on what will support us going forward."

Laura Dangerfield, People Development, Halfords