ERT Awards Supporting Information

Training Provider Award

BSH Home Appliances Ltd

Training Provider Award Entry – BSH Retail Training Team

Why should BSH win the Training Provider Award? Because not only has the pandemic not slowed us down, but this year has actually been busier than ever for the BSH Retail Training Team. We pivoted to an all-virtual training programme without missing a beat – updating our software and re-training our trainers to facilitate this. And at the same time as ensuring we met the needs of our retailers, we were looking ahead and innovating with future projects such as live streaming and self-paced learning. We didn’t just survive in 2020, we thrived – and the following explains why.

The situation before lockdown: At BSH we offer our dealers a combination of classroom training in our Milton Keynes HQ, bespoke training for a particular retailer or area in hotels or in store, and virtual classroom training for retailers. Before lockdown, we had a complete programme of training planned – which all changed when face-to-face training was cancelled in March 2020.

The challenge and the opportunity: We’ve always known that the virtual classroom is an excellent way to deliver training. A positive of this year is everyone has seen what is possible in terms of digital communication. And because we already had our virtual classroom in place, we were ideally placed to continue with our training programme when many other manufacturers couldn’t.

How we adapted quickly: We made it a priority to update our training software to allow delegates to dial in from home. So, instead of having to be on a PC, they could now attend the course from any device – perfect for delegates who might only have an iPad at home. Once people realised that getting onto the system was easy and convenient the average number increased. In fact, our delegate numbers went up by an incredible 424% between 2019 and 2020!

Evolving the training programme: There were so many unknowns last year that it was important to learn as we went along, and adapt the training program according to what we could our dealers needed. We increased the number in each session to 15 rather than 12 – though to keep the sessions effective, didn’t go above 15 people to ensure everyone can interact as they learn. We also started running evening sessions for the first time. And once a training session filled up, any additional requests went onto a waiting list. When the waiting list filled, we put on another course at a different time. One month, we doubled the number of sessions delivered!

Training our trainers: Our two trainers are used to providing face-to-face learning so this year we’ve trained them in to how to deliver and facilitate online learning within a virtual classroom. They’ve learned how to put together slides for digital viewing and we’ve also upskilled them with training in live streaming, how to work with cameras and how to create a piece of digital learning for self-paced learning. They’re developing from being traditional face-to-face trainers to multi-channel trainers, which has been a real learning curve for them in an already challenging year.

Course content was as varied as ever: Our delegates are all interested in what’s new, so we always focus on what we’re bringing out – ‘what’s new in cooling’, ‘what’s new in dishwashers’ and so on. We will also communicate anything they need to know about a particular range or campaign that will help them sell it in store. This year we’ve also introduced more consumer research into our training. For example, if our consumer research has shown that people are shopping less and need more efficient, flexible and larger refrigeration, we then show our delegates the products and solutions we have in place that meet that need.

Bespoke courses with tailored content: As well as standard course content, we delivered 19 bespoke sessions virtually to individual retailers or a selected retailer within an ABM’s region. Instead of going to a hotel, day-long sessions were split into two virtual sessions with a break in between. But, as with face-to-face bespoke courses, they covered whatever the retailers requested. Certain retailers really got on board with this and booked lots of training – they took the attitude that if they couldn’t sell, they might as well learn! And we were delighted to be able to facilitate this.

We’ve doubled our engagement with retailers: In total, we delivered 116 virtual sessions for the dealers, engaging with 52% of BSH’s accounts across the country. In 2019, we engaged with about 26% – so we’ve almost doubled our engagement using the virtual classroom. We’re proud of the fact that not only did we embrace and run with the challenge of an all-digital training programme, we reached far more delegates than ever before.

Constantly assessing our courses: At the end of the session, we ask delegates where their knowledge on the topic was at the start and where it is at the end. This varies according to whether the topic is new or a refresh, but, for example, for Siemens freestanding we had a 71% knowledge shift, which is great to see. But what’s important is that by tracking this, we can evaluate any courses were the knowledge shift is consistently low and alter the content accordingly. 

Developing future projects – live streaming: Despite the challenges of last year, we’ve kept innovating. We created and piloted a live-streaming session that was tested on delegates between lockdowns. The aim is to be able to offer practical sessions to our delegates via live streams from the Milton Keynes showroom. In the pilot, for example, we demonstrated ‘how to change the oven door on a NEFF Slide&Hide’ and demonstrated cooking on four shelves to showcase NEFF CircoTherm cooking. Thanks to the testing, we’ll be ready to offer our live-streamed first session ‘how to install a venting hob’ towards the end of July.

Investing in self-paced learning: In September 2020 we also began a major project to bring self-paced learning to our delegates. We are creating our own learning management system where we can host all our digital courses. Because not everyone can attend courses at certain times, the next stage is self-paced online learning. Delegates can log in and learn at a time that is convenient to them. Our hope is to offer this by Q3.

And the reaction from our delegates: The feedback to our virtual training sessions has been overwhelmingly positive. For many, the ease with which they could engage an online session and still learn was a pleasant surprise. Comments have ranged from ‘I would 100% do another’, and ‘very informative, friendly and useful’ to ‘I’ll definitely do another class – and will get my colleagues to come to the next one.’ The only negative seemed to be that they miss the Bosch coffee machine!

To conclude, the pandemic hasn’t slowed us down: Thanks to the work put in over the last year, by the end of 2021 we’ll be able to offer face-to-face training in store, face-to-face training at Milton Keynes, digital online learning with a trainer, and self-paced learning that people can do on their own. It’s going to be an exciting year.