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Alshaya's global LMS for retail and hospitality employees attracts ~500 new users every single day

Alshaya is a multinational retail franchise operator that is headquartered in Kuwait, and operates more than 70 customer retail and hospitality brands across 19 markets.

Some of Alshaya’s brands include Starbucks, The Cheesecake Factory, H&M, Victoria’s Secret, Estee Lauder Companies, Pottery Barn, Harvey Nichols and many more.

The Challenge

Alshaya needed a bespoke LMS to address the organisation’s complex needs. As a very large, multi-faceted business, there are many different requirements throughout the organisation, meaning they needed an LMS which was flexible and customisable enough to address each of these needs and offer different learning experiences for learners in different parts of the business.

As well as this, the system they chose would be accessed by learners across 110 different nationalities speaking almost 1,000 languages collectively, with most learning being delivered in English and Arabic. These learners span eight career levels (with H being entry-level roles and A being senior management roles), and content needed to be tailored for each different level.

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The Solution

Alshaya approached around 10 LMS vendors to ensure they were making the right decision with their large-scale, custom solution. However, they found that many proprietary solutions were not flexible enough to accommodate their varied requirements, and could not be customised to support their learning vision.

Eventually, they decided to work with Totara Partner iLearn, who showed them how an open source, highly flexible solution like Totara Learn could help them deliver learning throughout the organisation, and decided to call the platform Learning Links.

The e-learning content produced covered the what, how and why of employees’ roles. For more junior employees, content primarily focused on the day-to-day what and how of their roles, with more ‘why’ content introduced for more senior employees.

With many learners based in the Middle East, where work tends to be very process-driven and prescriptive, Alshaya needed content to encourage employees to be more flexible in the face of more complex challenges in the workplace.

With such a wide variety of learners across age groups, seniority levels, markets, languages and roles, iLearn knew that they needed to customise Alshaya’s LMS platform to ensure it met their complex requirements.

Also, with only around 10% of Alshaya’s learners having access to computers in their day-to-day roles, it was important to ensure that the LMS was mobile friendly and suitable for a BYOD strategy, enabling learners to access content on their own devices as and when it suits them.

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The Results

The platform launched in October 2016, originally in a few select markets before rolling it out into other markets in June 2017.

However, the platform proved so popular that learners in these other markets already started accessing the platform on their own devices ahead of the launch date.

The platform has met employees’ hunger for learning and personal development, and for the first time, any employee at any career level can access learning content online.

In total, the platform currently has over 35,000 users and sees around 500 new registrations every day, with over 11,000 employees registering on a single day in January 2017.

Although it’s still early days, Alshaya are still keen to understand what type of content drives learners to the LMS, and they will be monitoring which content is most successful in the coming months.

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In the future, Alshaya aims to move more learning onto Learning Links and significantly reduce the amount of face-to-face training delivered.

In 2016, they offered over 100,000 face-to-face sessions, taking an average of 3-4 hours each, which was both costly and time consuming, so it is hoped that Totara Learn will help make learning more efficient.

As well as this, they want to support learners who want to learn from one another, as well as empowering managers to better share useful and relevant information with their employees.

With so many different brands needing completely different content, it was essential that each brand had their own space in which to learn.

iLearn ensured that each Alshaya company could login to its own fully branded area within Totara Learn to maintain privacy and to make sure each learner only saw the content relevant to them.

iLearn has helped Alshaya implement a wide range of features within Totara Learn. These include forums, votes, organising meetings, feedback forms and reporting, as well as experimenting with Open Badges to see how they can be used to improve the learning experience.

Alshaya is particularly impressed with the fact that Learning Links opens up a two-way conversation between learners and managers, whereby managers can request feedback on learning, presentations and meetings to help them improve over time.

“In Totara Learn, the communication is two-way – we have immediate feedback. We know how our users engage with our content.”

Andrew Stott, Head of L&D, Alshaya