Last year Kingfisher’s businesses continued to provide tailored training to the people who are in the front line of delivering customer satisfaction – our store teams. These programmes took a number of different guises across the world but all shared the common goal of improving the service we provide.
B&Q’s ‘friendly experts’ build customer confidence
In March 2009, B&Q UK began a national roll out of two vocational training programmes it launched in pilot form the previous year. Both programmes offer qualifications backed by City & Guilds, the UK’s foremost vocational awarding body. The first, the NVQ (National Vocational Qualification) Retail Skills Level 2, has now been achieved by 10,000 customer advisers. The second, which is the UK’s first fully accredited Home Improvement Knowledge Qualification, has courses tailored to decorating, gardening, building and room solutions. Some 5,500 employees had achieved this qualification by year-end.
Last year also saw 120 B&Q staff – ranging in age from 18 to 70 – begin their Retail Apprenticeship. This is a new City & Guilds-accredited programme which brings together six nationally-recognised qualifications and is designed to fast track high potential employees towards more senior positions within the Company.
In September 2009 B&Q launched its Showroom Academy, aimed at employees who work with customers seeking complete room solutions. The Academy offers a range of courses focusing on product knowledge and selling skills, with more than 10,500 places taken during the programme’s first three months of operation – a ratio of just under three courses for every member of the showroom team.
Training underpins B&Q China transformation
B&Q China recognises the vital role its store staff will play in the drive back to profitability. As stores are revamped and the customer interface shifts from vendor representatives to B&Q’s own staff, a series of bespoke training programmes have been implemented to help store teams to grow into their new roles.
A total of 72 one-day product knowledge workshops were held in stores during the year. In addition more than 2,500 product knowledge workbooks have been distributed to customer advisers. Each 50-page workbook is tailored to a different category, with kitchen, bathroom, paint & decorative, tiling, flooring and building covered so far and more to follow throughout 2010. After completing the workbook employees must sit an exam to test their understanding of it, with the first of these exams taking place from March 2010. B&Q China has also developed its own 5-Step Selling training course, which has already been delivered to almost 2,000 customer advisers.
The training focus has not been confined to the shop floor, however: more than 160 managers have received training in the core principles of project management, while members of the product buying team have attended bespoke range architecture and category management training as well as getting the opportunity to improve their negotiating skills.
French businesses underline commitment to training
Employees at our two French businesses, Castorama and Brico Dépôt, have participated in a broad range of learning and development programmes. At Castorama, almost 8,800 members of staff have now taken part in half-day customer service workshops entitled Client Attitude, while around 4,000 took advantage of e-learning courses focusing on areas such as product knowledge and selling techniques. Meanwhile Brico Dépôt continued to roll out its established vocational training programmes, with more than 8,000 employees receiving training in areas such as marketing, IT/systems and management skills throughout the year.
Gallup engagement survey gains traction
Two years ago Kingfisher rolled out the Gallup Q12 survey – a globally recognised means of measuring employee engagement – to more than 1,300 leaders across the Group. In 2009/10 we began to see the survey’s initial results being used to create targeted programmes to boost engagement. The effects of these initiatives could be seen in the final survey of last year, which saw our GrandMean score for the leadership population (the biggest indicator of engagement levels) reach 4.23. This is defined as a ‘statistically significant increase’ of 0.28 on the final 2008/09 survey of the leadership population when measured on a like-for-like basis.
Last year also saw B&Q UK, which pioneered the Q12 process within Kingfisher, record its highest-ever GrandMean of 4.26, a figure that Gallup considers ‘world class’.
Molly Motsi, from B&Q’s Enfield store, achieved her City & Guilds qualification in January, one of over 15,000 staff to achieve this accreditation