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How a learning culture is helping Brown Thomas Arnotts to reinvent retail

4K+

team members training through LearnUpon

54K+

enrollments in the first year

Part of the Selfridges Group, Brown Thomas Arnotts is a renowned department store providing luxury shopping experiences for millions of customers worldwide. With a rich 175 year heritage, the company has stayed at the forefront by continuously reimagining its approach to retail. 

Now, with increasing digital buying, and the rise of a more environmentally conscious customer, the learning and development team is using LearnUpon to equip their people and business for the future, through a strategic approach to training their 4,000+ team members online.

“The shared vision of the Selfridges Group is to reinvent retail. We exist to imagine and create a sustainable future for our people, customers, and communities. Everything we do in terms of training and development within LearnUpon aligns to this.”

Aisling Fowler

Learning and Development Specialist at Brown Thomas Arnotts

The challenge: How to bring learning to the next level 

Brown Thomas Arnotts is no stranger to learning and development. Having previously delivered induction, compliance, and customer experience training, it was all done through in-person sessions and an in-house content repository. 

Reliance on in-person training was costly and limiting, and – with a lack of tools – improving learner engagement and tracking the business impact was an almost impossible task.

“A lot of training was classroom-based and all at once. It was difficult to get everyone together and we were managing everything across inboxes, spreadsheets and forms.”

Aisling Fowler

Learning and Development Specialist at Brown Thomas Arnotts

Recognizing the potential of its human capital, the business decided to invest in a new strategic, future-focused approach to learning and development, with a learning management system at the core of the plan.

“Our people are one of our key strengths. We wanted to really focus on human capital and the potential for a strategic approach to L&D to create positive change in the business.”

Malgorzata Wagner

Talent Management Specialist at Brown Thomas Arnotts

The solution: People-focused training guided by organizational goals

Brown Thomas Arnotts needed an LMS that would offer anytime, anywhere access to learners, and empower its L&D team to build a learning culture across 4,000+ partners, agencies, contractors and employees nationwide. 

“LearnUpon is the perfect solution to help us develop learning culture in an easy, accessible, fun and engaging way. It makes learning a great experience, and offers lots of features that make us more efficient, and training more engaging. It has brought us as a business and as a team to the next level.”

Malgorzata Wagner

Talent Management Specialist at Brown Thomas Arnotts

Sustainability at the heart of learning

Brown Thomas Arnotts puts sustainability at the heart of its vision to reinvent retail, and is one of only 19 Irish businesses to have its emissions-reduction targets approved by the Science Based Targets initiative.

“The business has made huge changes. With so much happening, we want to educate every team member in the business, showing them how each team plays a part in the success of the sustainability strategy. ”

Malgorzata Wagner

Talent Management Specialist at Brown Thomas Arnotts

Together with the Sustainability Team, Malgorzata and Aisling designed and launched the first company-wide sustainability training through LearnUpon. This training shows how every touchpoint of the customer journey has a sustainable element; from buying and selling responsibly, to eliminating single use plastic across stores.

Sustainability is a core focus in all ongoing training, particularly Brown Thomas Arnotts’ people initiative.

“Our diversity and inclusion initiatives are linked to sustainability and how we support people and community. We use LearnUpon as a platform to raise awareness, challenge behaviors and educate our teams - it’s something we had never done before. ”

Aisling Fowler

Learning and Development Specialist at Brown Thomas Arnotts

Great customer experience starts with a great people experience

Through LearnUpon, the L&D team creates robust learning programs that include interactive xAPI courses, videos, articles and podcasts. And they use a blended approach for several programs, combining content with live training scheduled, tracked, and managed through LearnUpon’s out-of-the-box Zoom webinar integration.

Across all teams and locations, everyone can access the training they need – management, personal development, sustainability, technical skills, health and safety, compliance, and more.

“LearnUpon has created a space for us to bring everything together in one place, and make it available to everyone - both live and on-demand. And when it wasn’t possible to have in-person training with COVID-19, we recorded training for our teams and shared it in LearnUpon.”

Aisling Fowler

Learning and Development Specialist at Brown Thomas Arnotts

Having a strong relationship with leadership at Brown Thomas Arnotts and stakeholders Selfridges Group ensures the L&D team stay aligned to key business goals. Together, they identified employee wellbeing and development as a focus area for training, and it’s making a real change in the business. 

“There’s a big need for wellness, mindset and resilience development - especially during COVID-19 times and the build up to reopening. We responded to that well and the results are amazing. Delivering our “Empower” program through LearnUpon is not only affecting personal wellness - it is positively impacting key organizational KPIs like engagement, productivity, decision-making, and problem solving. ”

Malgorzata Wagner

Talent Management Specialist at Brown Thomas Arnotts

Building a positive learning culture

For the L&D team, it’s vital that training creates something bigger across the organization – a culture of learning. And LearnUpon is helping them achieve this. 

To drive continuous engagement, team members “earn badges as they learn” with built-in Gamification. Surveys encourage learners to share ideas and feedback on course content, while automated email and in-app messages are used to drive awareness and completion. And to ensure users have easy, accessible development journeys to follow, the team members use one of their favorite features; Learning Paths.

Importantly, using data and analytics from LearnUpon, the impact of this growing learning culture can be proven and shared across the business.  

“We hadn’t really been able to report on training beforehand - it was all ad-hoc or excel sheets. Now we can see where the interest is and incorporate more of what the business needs in our learning strategy. And we can give managers greater visibility to see the development of their own team members. ”

Aisling Fowler

Learning and Development Specialist at Brown Thomas Arnotts

Up next: Creating a career development roadmap

What’s next for Brown Thomas Arnotts? For the L&D team, their goal is to keep maturing the learning culture. Through strategy refinement, they plan to create more programs that support the company’s vision, and focus on career development that helps fuel every employees’ success. 

“We want to use LearnUpon more to develop managers on their journey, educating them on what that lifecycle is and giving them direction in terms of what they can do to get to the next level.”

Malgorzata Wagner

Talent Management Specialist at Brown Thomas Arnotts