‘Don’t overcomplicate the message’: The Body Shop

by John Hilton04 Dec 2015
L&D at The Body Shop requires a multi-faceted approach to effectively see their people grow. John Hilton interview Sarah Reeves, National Learning and Development Manager at The Body Shop for her insights.

What does L&D look like at the Body Shop?

The Body Shop is an omnichannel business and so L&D here needs to be multi-faceted. We have 89 retail stores and a thriving direct selling business known as The Body Shop At Home. We focus on customer service training product knowledge for all of our retail store staff, as well as management development for our store management teams.

Our Body Shop At Home channel is our independent consultants. They start off their business by purchasing a starter kit and with that they go out to people’s homes and encourage further bookings and sell Body Shop products. We need to tailor our learnings for them as well so that they are able to grow a successful business within The Body Shop. We have face-to-face workshops and we also have e-learning courses in product knowledge.

At The Body Shop we are very big on the 70:20:10 learning and development framework so our face-to-face is that 70% on the job. It’s working every day, it’s getting feedback from your manager or its debriefing each interaction.

What do you find are the most interesting aspects of L&D?

For me, it would be the ability to see people learn and grow through the positive experience.

But from my current role’s perspective, retail is a very fast-paced environment and there is always something new to support, and to work on partnering with the business to drive strategy through learning initiatives. Also, seeing the results of efforts is probably what I find the most rewarding.

What are the greatest lessons you have learnt with regards to L&D?

For me, it’s don’t overcomplicate the message. I think sometimes the tried and true concepts are really effective in meeting learning objectives. It’s just how you package it and how you relate it to your audience. Rather than trying to come up with some new message and theory, a lot of the stuff that’s been around for a long time is still absolutely valid and it just needs to be introduced in different ways.

What are the greatest challenges you are facing in L&D?

For us it would be the transfer of training. That means ensuring that it is happening when the learners leave the training room. The Body Shop has a team of trainers who spend time out in store at the shop floor with the retail staff to observe the skills and behaviours and identify any gaps that may still be there and provide further coaching as needed. Also, setting your staff members up for success, particularly during peak trade.