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Westfield's new approach to learning drives a 45% increase in compliance

Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (Westfield) is an international commercial real estate company with 89 shopping centres and 55 flagship shopping centres worldwide. They have 3,600 employees and more than 1.2 billion visits to their shopping centres each year. Notable centres include Cnit Paris La Défense, Westfield London, Westfield World Trade Center and airports such as Los Angeles International, JFK International and Orlando International.

Who is Westfield

The Challenge

In 2019, Westfield were managing their entire employee training scheme through Microsoft Excel, a method which saw them constantly finding gaps within their compliance training programs.

Compliance is key for any business, even more so when you are operating a portfolio of venues valued at €65.3 billion like Westfield are. The main issue for Westfield was the outdated way in which they were managing and delivering their training.

All training was managed within an Excel sheet. With more than 3,600 employees, 7 key compliance standards which apply to all employees, and an additional 90+ certifications and qualifications that only apply to specific roles, it was the unenviable task of Sue McKinnon, Training Manager, to manually go through and allocate training to individuals who needed it.

The problems didn’t stop there. Once Sue had identified who required training and when, Sue then had to action this within an external platform and ensure staff were aware of their training requirements. Again, this external platform was outdated and lacked flexibility so regularly frustrated Sue in her goal to achieve compliance for Westfield.

After much discussion, Sue was able to begin tendering for a new all-in-one e-learning solution for Westfield.

Sue McKinnon collaborated with her colleagues within the training department and drew up a list of requirements for their new learning management system (LMS), the key ones being:

  • Ability to automate the renewal of compliance training
  • Automated reminders to staff
  • Ability to manage both online and offline training in one single platform
  • Produce reports for management meetings quickly and easily

After much deliberation, it was found that Learning Nexus and their Totara Learn offering ticked all the boxes and were therefore awarded the contract.

The Solution

After a seamless and collaborative implementation of the Totara Learn platform, Sue and her colleagues were trained and on how to use the system, and were provided with some best-practice tips on how to achieve compliance quickly and efficiently.

Within weeks, Sue and the Westfield team had created their own compliance pathways and were well on their way to improve the compliance figure of 65% in 2019. They made the platform as easy to use as they possibly could, and ensured that all learners were receiving automated messages to remind them of their training requirements.

They also created dashboards and automated reports so that at any point, they could look at compliance for the whole Westfield company, or a specific team within the company.

Westfield Totara platform

All of this work had huge benefits. Within 12 months, Westfield had improved from 65% compliance to a staggering 94%. Sue had also cut her workload in half, and therefore took another plunge... Sue started creating her own e-learning.

Sue commented:

“Working with Learning Nexus has been a true partnership. The thought of implementing and developing an LMS on my own was very daunting, but Learning Nexus have been incredibly responsive during the whole process. The training I received was delivered in concise bitesize chunks which has enabled me to hit the ground running.”

“I was also faced with “selling” a new way of accessing learning to the business and Learning Nexus suggested quick wins and a staggered launch approach which worked exceptionally well. I now have a system which has improved and streamlined how we manage training and which performs far better than the business anticipated.”

As the relationship between Westfield and Learning Nexus was strong, Sue decided to work with Learning Nexus once again, but with one of their other products, the Adapt authoring tool. Sue wanted to use this tool to create the custom e-learning that Westfield needed, without paying the thousands of pounds to have the courses created for her. Sue asked the team at Learning Nexus to create a “custom theme” which enables every course she creates to be uniform and branded towards the Westfield corporate image.

Since then, Sue has created a number of eLearning courses for crisis management and employee inductions. Within these courses, Sue went to great lengths to ensure they were engaging by using another online tool called “GoAnimate” – a piece of software which enables you to create your own animations.

The versatility and ease of use of Adapt has enabled Sue to respond quickly to business requests such as building engaging and interactive short courses on returning to the office following the COVID-19 lockdown.

The feedback on the courses created in Adapt has been great, with many enjoying the “web-like” experience of scrolling rather than clicking next.

The Results

Westfield achievements with Totara Learn

Within just 12 months, Westfield truly modernised the management of their training, including propelling themselves towards 94% compliance for all health and safety training. 

On top of their impressive compliance improvements, they have implemented custom dashboards, automated learning pathways and started creating their own e-learning, which has completely transformed Westfield's approach to learning.

The Future

Sue and the Westfield team have some really ambitious goals over the next year or two. They would like to transform the culture of learning within their organisation, making it something people want to do rather than something they have to do. They want to embed a culture of self-driven learning, where employees and managers take more responsibility for themselves and their teams. This will give Sue and her team the ability to take a wider look at training, and focus on their training programs to help more people rise through the ranks at Westfield.