Staples Business Depot of Canada believes that an e-learning program it has rolled out to all stores gives it a competitive advantage in hiring, especially among young people, says Joanne Taylor, senior manager of corporate human resources and development with Staples Canada. “People ask about the training and the fact that we offer this and others don’t gives us an advantage in hiring,” Taylor says.
Staples started an e-learning program two and a half years ago with web-based product briefings for store associates. It since has added eight management courses and plans to add seven more this year. “E-learning was working so well with the product briefings that we wanted to introduce management courses,” Taylor says.
Especially younger employees have been receptive to e-training, she says. “For Generation X and Y employees, continuing education is a motivator,” she says. “They understand that continuous learning is important to their career development.”
Staples uses the InsightU product of The Insight Group Inc. to create the educational material. Each course costs about $10,000, she says.
Some employees have taken to the learning method so well that they access the training modules at home. “That was a phenomenon that surprised us all,” says Kevin Dixon, director of business development for InsightU.
Staples requires employees who will take e-learning classes at to obtain authorization first. Employees who learn at home get paid for the time they spend in the course.