Increasing learner engagement by 20% for Halfords

Halfords is the UK’s best-known retailer of car parts, as well as cycling, camping and touring products. It also offers MOT services and vehicle repairs. A FTSE 250 company founded in 1892, it operates around 780 retail stores and auto-centres in the UK and Republic of Ireland.

Halfords’ people development team was keen to deliver consistent and structured learning to all of its 8,500-plus employees via the Halfords HUB, a Totara Learn learning management system (LMS) developed with another supplier. But they were experiencing problems with cost, hosting reliability and project turnaround times. The site was awkward to use and a raft of unnecessary customisations had made it unwieldy to maintain.

We were tasked with creating a Totara Learn learning management system (LMS) to deliver a strong return on investment and improved user experience.

Halfords needed an LMS that would:

  • Enable them to prioritise the right training at the right time, including aligning to seasonal activity and retail offers.
  • Give leaders clear insights into each employee’s capabilities, so that stores and auto-centres are consistently staffed with people with the right knowledge and experience to deliver the range of services expected by customers.

Small steps to big improvements

We developed a three-stage plan to deliver maximum return on investment with minimum disruption for Halfords. Initially, we migrated the site to our robust hosting infrastructure, upgraded to the latest version of Totara and took over full project management and support of the LMS.

In the next stage, we created a bespoke Totara Learn theme with improved user experience, customised homepage layout and responsive design for mobile and tablet. We also added new features, including the development of a customised course completion status tool; enhanced tag search functionality for improved search results; and a featured courses area to promote courses relevant to each user’s role or interests.

Stage three of the process saw us add gamification features to the Halfords HUB’s certifications, programmes, courses and activities to make training more fun and bring a competitive element to course completions.

We’ve removed the traditional home page in favour of user dashboards, which ensures that each learner is greeted by information that’s relevant to them when they login.

Over time, we’ve also been gradually streamlining the site by stripping out unnecessary customisations and unused features, delivering a cleaner user experience for learners and a platform that is easier to maintain for administrators.

20% jump in active learners

Our improvements to the user experience, interactivity and hosting stability of the Halfords HUB created a 20% spike in the number of employees using the site, with 12,500 learners now registered in the UK, Ireland and Asia.

Better business processes underpinned by the improved LMS have led to the introduction of company-wide HR reporting; enhanced compliance, knowledge and engagement-related training; and knowledge-based pay and pay supplements for employees.

The results have been a significant improvement in employee retention rates, increasing Net Promoter Scores and Halfords placing 18th in the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For list in the period since we started working on the Halfords Hub.

“We’d recommend Synergy Learning (and have done so already) because, unlike most suppliers, they work with us to find and implement the best possible solution. They don’t chase the pounds and their focus is solely on what will support us going forward. Synergy Learning’s honest, flexible and scalable approach has been invaluable for us, not only allowing for rapid deployment of new learning projects but also in ensuring the solutions are delivered in the most cost-effective manner.”

Laura Dangerfield | People Development | Halfords

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