Best L&D initiative – private sector

Greencore Group


Greencore Group, the world’s leading pre-packed sandwich distributor, was no longer content with the idea of learning as a one-off, single event. The strategy hadn’t worked for the business – managers reported employees didn’t apply their learning when back at work and said they felt ill-equipped to do their job.

Investment in classroom learning was not paying dividends, there was no system for accountability and new talent was being lost through flat role descriptions and dwindling engagement. Retention was also a huge problem: among front line staff, turnover ran at 27 per cent.

The picture looked bleak, but the group’s innovative solution would breathe new life into the company. In essence, it meant breaking down the classroom walls and rebuilding them from the ground up. But the added challenge was a huge cohort of employees in numerous different locations, carrying out a huge variety of roles in often challenging factory conditions.

Crucial to Greencore’s vision was ensuring all managers were on the same page. The L&D team asked: what is the job of a first line manager? This catalysed into a Line Manager Framework, a succinct, page-length guide to success.

Next, the business had to change the way employees thought about learning. The answer was to replace classrooms with a sleek, 24-hour service that could be used any time, anywhere.

Grow with Greencore, an online learning platform, put managers in control of their own progress. Its resources provided them with the knowledge, skills, experience and climate to best do their jobs. With a newly adopted 70-20-10 philosophy, 92 per cent of the learning materials taught lessons that could be easily applied to daily interactions, such as meeting a customer.

Starting with a blank page, the group built the framework and platform in-house. From the CEO to the newest team member and selected customers, the shared contribution was huge, against a daunting time frame.

Playing the long game paid off. Greencore rebuilt its L&D strategy in a thoroughly modern way and today, managers and employees alike are more engaged than ever. Three quarters of employees are making use of the learning platform, and video content is particularly popular. Proof that even in a highly dispersed business, the power of learning will always shine through.

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