Retailers

Kroger Turns to Tech-Enabled Training

Axonify program offers ‘bite-sized’ learning
Photograph courtesy of The Kroger Co.

The Kroger Co. said its stores are launching a personalized and “gamified” online training program for hourly workers it said will increase their engagement and better fit into the way they work.

The program, called Fresh Start With Axonify, is being launched in a phased approach across Kroger’s divisions. It uses a learning platform from the Waterloo, Ontario-based company Axonify, allowing for its workers to access personalized training modules supporting continuous learning in “bite-sized” increments of less than five minutes per shift vs. a previous “one-size-fits-all” approach.

“We constantly strive to find new opportunities to create a more engaged culture, make our associates’ lives better and help them feed their futures with us. Fresh Start With Axonify is a digital-first tool that offers a modern approach to training that works the way our associates work,” Senchal Murphy, Kroger’s senior director of training and onboarding, said in emailed comments to WGB. “It helps our associates do their jobs better and helps them feel more knowledgeable and confident in and connected to their work, leading to improved engagement and retention.”

The move comes as the industry confronts an historic labor shortage said to have stemmed from effects of the coronavirus crisis. Companies such as Kroger are turning to various new technologies as a means to help; the retailer, for example, is separately working with DailyPay, a technology allowing workers to access compensation as they work, and with a firm called Brazen, which earlier this year helped Kroger streamline an online job fair.

“We recently held our first-ever virtual and in-person hiring event across the company with a goal of hiring 10,000 associates,” Murphy said. “Some of those roles were with our supply chain and Kroger Delivery teams while others were in stores, pharmacies and manufacturing.  Through that event, we were able to offer more than 5,000 offers in a single day—a record for Kroger.”

Kroger employs nearly 500,000 associates. It said the new training program would help them “feel more knowledgeable and connected to goals of the organization” and support a reputation that can attract talent.

“In today's highly competitive labor market, we know talent is selective and attracted to companies that offer competitive wages and benefits and are also leading with a clear purpose and offering an engaging culture where they can thrive and advance,” Murphy said. “At Kroger, we continue to improve every day and in every way. We are truly driven to be the best employer in America and one of the best places to work, no matter your skillset, role or ambitions.”

“Axonify is proud to help further coach and train frontline grocery associates like those employed by the Kroger organization as they strive to help build a more knowledgeable and engaged workforce,” said Carol Leaman, Axonify’s CEO and co-founder.

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