Tati was founded in 1948, and is known for its four key areas of expertise: ready-to-wear, household equipment, weddings, and health and beauty. A very unique market profile! Over the years, this retailer has been a competitive player in the low-cost sector. In order to maintain its lead, four years ago, it renovated its image through a “fair cost” concept, the theme for its new strategy. The company now offers products that are not only affordable, but on the cutting edge of fashion.
To support this transformation, Tati called on CrossKnowledge to design an overall certification training program tailored to their needs. It combined digital training, classroom training, and individualized training in the workplace.
Drawing on experience to drive transformation
Our 1,800 employees are dedicated to their brand. It’s rare for a company to be able to count on such a strong sense of belonging from its employees” explains Nadège Plou, HR director. The typical Tati employee is 40 years old, and has worked for 10 years at the company. Facing increasing competition, the retailer had no choice but to change its strategy after filing for bankruptcy and being bought by the ERAM group in 2004. A new store concept, the creation of a purchasing agency, and recruitment of fashion designers have all been part of an extensive rebranding of the business. But Tati has stayed true to
its roots, which are its people. “We’ve continued to focus on our teams, whose experience we see as a true strength, but it was imperative to help them grow” says Nadège Plou.
HR revolution in a business context
“An informal approach towards participatory management is in our blood, but it needed to be more structured” Nadège Plou explains. In 2012, Tati launched its Campus Agora platform. “We began by training the executive board, then rolled out the program to managers using the same operating methodology.” This first step established a foundation – and the ambition to go further. Tati chose to work with CrossKnowledge and began its first large-scale project to deliver more than 100,000 hours of training to 350 managers in the field. In 2014, store managers underwent 378 hours of training, 161 of them in classrooms, focused on 12 learning modules including sales promotion, leadership, merchandising, inventory shrinkage, fostering client loyalty, and business software. This is a new approach for the retailer, which is integrating digital training into its training programs for the first time, alongside individualized training in the workplace. Combining these learning methods helped cope with he operational constraints faced by retailers, where every minute spent off of the sales floor counts. Assistant managers joined the initiative a few months later. As an additional motivating factor, each participant receives certification, validated by the French Labor Ministry, upon completion of the program. All store managers receive an equivalent of two years of higher education, while assistant managers get the equivalent of one year’s higher education.
Embracing digital methodologies
“E-learning was a completely new thing for Tati. We provided all managers with portable PCs and installed WiFi in our stores. This allowed us to update the skills of the participants and to modernize” Nadège Plou explained. Despite the concerns of the head office, digital tools were adopted without resistance. “Even those over 50 have tablets at home. The technology has made its way into people’s lives. or 95 per cent of the managers participating in the training, there was no problem at all, says Nadège Plou. CrossKnowledge didn’t try to apply off the-shelf products to our problems. They took the time to listen to our concerns, and their teams visited our stores.”
A few months after the launch, Tati began seeing real communication between its managers. “Until then, they didn’t talk to each other, since our stores are separated by region. Now the barriers are gone. They contact each other on subjects that are not necessarily associated with the training. That is bringing about much smoother relations within the company” adds Nadège Plou.
Targeting all employees
“Following the large-scale certification of its managers,Tati saw an increase in requests from non-management employees seeking evaluation and accreditation of skills gained through work experience. Once again, Tati called on CrossKnowledge’s expertise in implementing certification programs, from designing learning methods to handling all of the administration and logistics, including designing financing. Beginning in June 2015, Tati’s remaining 1,400 employees gradually began a training cycle of 196 hours, spread over nine days of classroom training provided by Campus Agora. Tati also extended the use of digital training by incorporating distance learning modules into each phase. After the initial cycle of training is complete, managers then support employees with additional training on-the-job. Once their training is completed employees have the opportunity to obtain professional accreditation from the French Labor Ministry. The heart of this initiative is the spirit that has driven Tati since it began: “The sales floor has always been a source of talent that has worked upwards to the highest level of the company, Nadège Plou concludes. If you want to learn, we will teach you. Where before, we only supported employees informally in their careers, now Tati is giving employees formal opportunities for career development within the company.”