Lidl is a German discount supermarket chain, operating over 10,000 stores across Europe and the US. They have over 430 stores, 6 regional warehouses and over 18,500 employees in the Netherlands alone, and they have ambitious global expansion plans.
Lidl wants to support employees in their professional and personal development with online learning activities and resources, which are available on one learning platform. Their goal is to help employees to get the best out of themselves in order to serve their clients every day.
Their key question when redesigning their learning programs was: “How can we support our employees during their career at Lidl with digital tools for work and personal development and make learning at Lidl futureproof?”. They wanted to do this by giving employees more autonomy and responsibility for their professional and personal development.
Lidl chose to work with Dutch Totara Partner UP learning for a local partnership. Together, they implemented Totara Learn, giving them a flexible learning management system that would support their evolving needs over time.
Their original Totara Learn solution did everything it needed to do, but Lidl recognised that there was so much more they could do with the LMS. That’s why they decided after one year to take the next step and release a new version of the system, focusing on two areas: a refreshed look and feel and a restructure of the content.
The LMS content is split into two sections: mandatory learning and optional learning. The online catalogue comprises content including audiobooks, around 200 e-learning modules (most of it available in both Dutch and English), ebooks, audio books and expert talks.
Based on the performance management conversations taking place in the organisation, employees create a learning plan that aligns with their own development needs. This learning plan can include content from both the standard program and the optional program, putting the power firmly in learners’ hands.
Lidl is subject to a lot of legally required training around safety and escalation processes, so they use the LMS to enroll learners for compliance certifications. They then receive automatic reminders at pre-set times before their next certification is due, replacing the previous Excel files and automating the process to help save time.
UP learning helped Lidl introduce a “learning points” system, whereby each learner is allocated a specific number of points and can then “go shopping” in the course catalog. They can then select courses to add to their “trolley”, up to the limit of the points they have received. This encourages learners to carefully consider which courses will be most beneficial, which increases the efficacy of the self-directed learning approach.
The LMS particularly proved its worth during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. Lidl used their Totara Learn platform to create a separate learning environment for coronavirus blended learning materials and online sessions, including managing a team from a distance, working from home, managing change, time management and stress management. This was recognised as an extremely effective way to deliver this vital content quickly and consistently across the company.
Lidl’s LMS has attracted around 3,500 active users working across their head office and regional offices, along with store managers. There have been almost 60,000 logins since 2018, and 2,500 course completions in 2019, focusing on communication and feedback, delegation and developing others.
The learning points system has proved incredibly effective for Lidl’s employees. Lidl has noticed a sharp decrease in the number of people dropping out of courses, as they are no longer just accessing learning, but they feel like they “own” the learning as they purchased it with their own points.
The LMS has evolved dramatically from a simple way to register for classroom training to a comprehensive hub for all learning activity. For instance, learners can now access “pre-work”, including assignments and e-learning modules, in the LMS before they attend a classroom session, and the trainer can evaluate the pre-work to help with their overall assessment of the learner.
"We took digital learning at Lidl to the next level with Totara Learn. We are not only using it for registration for our classroom trainings to our employees, but we now offer them solid blended learning programs. This strengthens their learning experience and makes learning at Lidl more flexible and accessible.
Our LMS is the backbone for our Lidl Academy. Through the LMS learners access their personal environment guiding them through their learning programs and as a gateway to our extensive online e-books and audiobooks library.” – Katrijn Meurs-Knaapen, Senior Manager Leiderschap & Ontwikkeling, Lidl Nederland GmbH"