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Case Study: HMV tops the training charts

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Investors In People
As part of its large expansion plan, HMV organised structured staff training to ensure its skills requirements were met; read on to discover what happened.

The challenge:
HMV has been expanding since the late 1980s and plans to open over 200 UK stores within the next five years. The company already had a well established programme to support management development, but in-store learning was less structured and lacked consistent application across the business.

HMV saw the Investors in People standard as a framework to accelerate the effectiveness of the company’s response to an opinion survey sent to all staff in 1998.

The solution:
A development package called the ‘Continuous Development Plan’ was created to provide a structured framework and comprehensive development materials for in-store learning. The aim was to increase the knowledge and skills of management and staff in the critical elements of HMV store operation.

Four key knowledge areas were identified and the minimum knowledge for each staff level was defined. A national assessment was carried out to identify existing levels of knowledge, which resulted in every person receiving an individual development plan and workbooks to support their development. In addition, each store nominated a coach who was fully trained to support daily coaching activities in-store.

Quality was assured by aligning the key new development initiative with an external standard. It would also help to raise awareness and recognise the commitment the organisation has to the development of its staff.

Progress is reported monthly to HMV’s board of directors, whose support has been key to the programme’s success.

HMV has supported this initiative with considerable additional resources, including 15 development centres across the UK and Ireland, expanded course options for staff, and a larger learning and development team.

Benefits:
In-store training is now structured, fully supported by staff at all levels and recognised as an everyday activity.

Head of Learning and Development Steve West said: “Working with the Investors in People standard has helped our employees recognise the importance of daily development. People can clearly see the knowledge and skills they’ve already developed, and what knowledge and skills they need to become managers. This has been critical for developing future managers and supporting our expansion plans.”

Just one year after the programme’s launch, knowledge in critical areas increased by 20 per cent. This has impacted considerably upon the efficiency of stock management and has also helped to raise customer service standards.

West added: “Investors in People helped us to communicate the dynamic career opportunities that are open to people who join HMV. It has also helped to provide a structured framework to continuously support and stimulate the development of existing staff.”

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