Time for change

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Earlier this year ArrowXL, a two-person delivery company in the UK, decided to develop a new centralized and standardized training structure. Zoe Sinclair, ArrowXL’s director of people services, explains how the company has modernized its strategy and built a new learning center

I am a great believer that most challenges can be turned into opportunities, so when I joined ArrowXL and realized that there was a lack of traceability, consistency and overall link between training and business goals, I saw this as an opportunity for change. It was clear that as a business, we were unsure exactly what training had been delivered in previous years, and it was proving difficult to collate information from different areas. This meant the senior management team was unable to identify the relevant skill sets of their colleagues in order to benefit the business.

It was clear that we needed to act swiftly to resolve a lack of strategy in leadership and development. Our key objective was to enable the company to focus even further on colleague development and enhancing the overall employee experience, as a way of driving growth and nurturing the business leaders of tomorrow. So, we made the decision to create a centralized and dedicated training structure.

Central and standardized
We started with the basics, ensuring that all training within the business was standardized by a newly formed department and full audits carried out and governance put in place. We scheduled monthly standardization meetings and trainer observations and, as part of this, a number of Safe Systems of Work (SSoW) and briefing documents were completely rewritten by the internal team.

The ArrowXL Development Academy
As these plans for centralization and standardization were being delivered, we also pushed ahead with proposals to develop a new best-in-class training hub. In July 2018, we officially launched The ArrowXL Development Academy to further enhance service levels for retailers and their customers, while also boosting employee engagement.

As part of this we completed the construction of a purpose-built apartment in the Wigan headquarters that allows specialist delivery crews to train and hone their skills in a real-life environment. The apartment includes a working kitchen, a child’s bedroom and a living room, plus two classroom-style teaching areas. This provided the perfect opportunity for the crews to practice deliveries, as well as the company’s portfolio of in-home solutions such as installing/plumbing white goods, furniture assembly and connecting TVs. Some of our clients such as Feather & Black (bedroom furniture) and Smeg UK (white goods) donated popular products for training exercises. A mock version of the back of an HGV and a tail-lift was also installed to allow delivery staff to train and practice moving different products on and off vehicles.

All company-wide training programs now sit in The ArrowXL Development Academy, including those relating to health and safety, leadership and management development, and compliance. All new starters also have a tailored induction at the academy, including delivery crew members, who receive a two-day core program and a two-day assembly induction for those performing in-home Platinum services (installation, etc).

A foundation for future learning

Since the Academy opened it has provided a foundation for new learning, leadership and development initiatives. These include:

Squad Program: A management and leadership program to help to engage managers, develop key skills and identify future talent to sustain business growth.

In-House CPC Training: Last spring we received Joint Approvals Unit for Periodic Training (JAUPT) accreditation to deliver Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (DCPC) modules in-house.

We had previously utilized the services of third-party suppliers to deliver some of our training; however, under the new centralized structure, we decided to bring the entire operation in-house – fully managed by our dedicated eight-strong team. We are now also using the Miracle HR Solution to document, record and monitor training sessions.

The results
The centralization and standardization of the company’s training function, and the launch of the ArrowXL Development Academy, has had a profound effect on the business. The Academy has provided more than 1,200 training sessions across the business since May 2018, including driver DCPC, inductions, Materials Handling Equipment (MHE), Institution of Occupational Safety & Health (IOSH) modules, First Aid, Customer Service and Squad Program.

Dedicated training has allowed us to further improve service levels for retailers and their customers. Since launching the Customer Satisfaction Score in September, we have delivered exceptional levels of service, with survey scores comfortably surpassing 75% each month and we have achieved an industry-leading Trust Pilot score of 9.3. I am also pleased to say that employee engagement has risen, and this includes a huge growth in the return rate for the annual company survey – up from 42% to 71%. We still have work to do but this is making a real difference for our people and our business.

About the author
Zoe Sinclair is director of people services at ArrowXL, the UK’s two-person home delivery specialist. A passionate and tenacious people leader with over 12 years’ experience in HR, Sinclair joined ArrowXL in 2017 having previously held a number of senior roles at Eddie Stobart and as an HR consultant with The Three Partnership.

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