How One Company Used an LMS to Scale Their Workforce During COVID-19: A Case Study, November 16, 2021, Ali Knapp

One of a company’s most valuable assets is its people. For companies in the tech industry, which is growing so rapidly that it now makes up 14% of the entire global workforce, this is especially true. However, the coronavirus pandemic resulted in millions of lost jobs and organizations across industries switching to remote work. With many companies making do with smaller workforces, having technology in place that can improve communication and continue employee development is imperative.

A learning management system (LMS) can tackle these two issues and more. According to the LinkedIn 2019 Workplace Learning Report, 94% of employees said they would stay longer at a company that focused on learning and development. One company that took that stat to heart is Philz, a San Francisco-based coffee shop.

How Philz Implemented an LMS

In the 1970s, Phil Jaber owned and operated a small corner store in the San Francisco Bay Area. The shop was known for being a lively spot for locals to find community. While Jaber was known for his role in the neighborhood, he always dreamed of opening up a coffee shop.

Jaber was raised in Palestine, where the ceremonial process of serving coffee symbolizes generosity and a welcoming environment — a tradition he dreamed of sharing with others. In 2003, Jaber hung up his keys as the neighborhood grocer and opened a coffee shop. Today, Philz has over 58 locations and dozens of employees.

Philz decided to implement an LMS in 2018 to help integrate communications and focus on learning new protocols. The LMS allowed Philz to implement new COVID-19 safety training with all staff members to ensure everyone was up-to-date on the latest regulations and safety protocols. The platform also operates as a central hub for team members to learn, grow and experience everything going on at Philz.

Adapting to New Challenges

Like many other organizations during the pandemic, Philz re-opened its shops to in-person orders but faced new challenges such as balancing online orders with in-store orders. While both sets of customers had different needs, they both wanted a safe, positive experience in picking up their coffee orders.

Philz’s LMS ensured their new operating service standards were clearly communicated and routinely updated. In addition to central communication and training, Philz enrolled nearly 400 employees through a series of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) workshops through its LMS. The platform’s scale, flexibility and data tracking made this task a breeze.

Customization, Microlearning and Collaboration

With interactive, customizable features, LMSs allow companies to actively train and interact with their staff. Most LMS platforms are equipped with an intuitive, user-focused design that companies can customize to feel like an extension of the brand. Intuitive user interfaces lead to increased adoption, and brand-forward customizations increase employee engagement.

An LMS can also help companies offer microlearning — short training sessions that can easily flow with an employee’s work day. These quick training programs worked great for Philz’s as they fit perfectly into employees’ breaks and helped improve retention for the learner. In addition, an LMS platform allows for flexible mobile learning options so that employees have more accessible options for trainings.

As operations change for organizations going through challenging times, a central hub allows for collaborative and creative interactions as a team. Most LMSs also have built-in tracking capabilities. Companies can track users’ individual checklists and completed trainings and tasks for compliance and reporting purposes. By tracking this data, organizations can see where they are getting the best return-on-investment (ROI) and how to fine tune training programs for the future.

Investing in new tools and technologies gives companies a competitive advantage. Ultimately, an LMS is one of many options that support companies in their training and onboarding efforts.

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