What we made
An animated, gamified onboarding experience
The client wanted an onboarding experience that welcomed new hires to the family and inspired a feeling of confidence from their first day.
Any good pet owner will tell you that their animal counterparts are just like family. And, when pet owners are looking for ways to make their furry family members healthier, happier, and more comfortable, our client is their first stop. When this pet retailer came to ELM looking for a better onboarding experience for new employees, they already had some basic training in place. The problem was that it didn’t serve to make new hires feel like family, which is why ELM stepped in with a fresh perspective and updated approach.
The client wanted new hires to feel confident from day one. Their past onboarding attempts had been along the lines of a standard-issue PowerPoint: plenty of information, but the delivery was lacking. When released “into the wild” of the retail space, employees weren’t always empowered to make suggestions and find products for customers.
The client already had a lot of content ready for new training, but wanted a fresh look at the material. ELM sent that content directly to the LXD team, where one of our designers went through the material as if they were a new recruit. ELM noticed that while the information was great, some words and terms would be unfamiliar to someone new to pet retail. Identifying areas of improvement set ELM on a path to more objective onboarding that made more sense for new employees becoming part of the family.
From there, the project moved to the “look and feel” phase. ELM knew that emotional connection would play a vital role in welcoming new employees and seamlessly integrating them into a family-first, friendly, and confident culture. The training, for its part, would set the tone for every interaction past initial training, so it was important that it was both approachable and engaging. The goal was that even brand-new employees would feel empowered to take to the retail floor and confident in their abilities to answer questions and recommend the right products.
By wrapping the entire program in bright, engaging graphics, new employees received the message from the first frame: this is a great place to work. After a module led them to understand the client’s history and a little about what the retailer stands for, the real onboarding began. Learners would progress through a series of “Explore Your Store” training modules. These modules were designed to help employees get more comfortable with their store layout on a location-based level. Animation easily worked to direct focus on highlighting different areas of the store so learners had a visual confirmation of where to find various products, where they could find different habitats, and even tips of where they could go when customers asked for specific recommendations.
Naturally, the training didn’t end there. ELM also built practice scenarios into the onboarding. After training, learners could safely test their knowledge by choosing a product or recommendation to prove their master. These simulated interactions serve to build confidence and understanding so that learners feel more prepared to make recommendations when customers walk through their location doors. A gamified, points-based system of gameplay encouraged learners when they chose the right product or advice, while gentle feedback helped course correct so they could get back on track and build confidence.
ELM and the client worked seamlessly together, offering real-time collaboration and feedback as a team. By creating a familiar story around a family getting their first pet, learners forged an emotional connection between themselves and the training material. They aren’t just training for a retail job, but preparing to become part of the retail giant’s family and, by extension, the families of those they serve.
Thanks to the care and detail the client and ELM shared at the beginning of the project, the pathway to better-prepared new hires was clear. By wrapping engaging animation and gamified scenarios in a familiar storyline, learners quickly saw their role take shape. Armed with their new training and approach, employees are ready to make recommendations and help customers create happy, healthy homes for their fur families.