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Transitioning from a Training Culture to a Learning Culture: Sobeys’ Peter Tulumello

by Dani Johnson and Stacia Garr | August 23rd, 2023

Peter Tulumello is changing the culture at one of Canada’s largest grocery retailers. As a grocery chain, Sobeys has a large segment of frontline workers and with it, their own unique pain points. To understand the problems that the frontline faces, Peter recognized that he needed to get into the stores to understand frontline workers’ day-to-day roles. Listen to this interview to hear how Peter identified major problems and came up with valuable solutions. 

Peter’s role at Sobeys 

Peter Tulumello is the Director of Learning and Development at Sobeys in Canada. Sobeys is a large grocery and convenience retailer with 1500 stores across Canada. He supports organizational transformation and drives enterprise learning and skill development.

Peter has been in the L&D space for ten years but wasn’t originally trained in instructional design, so he brings a fresh perspective to his role. He has been in his current role at Sobeys for 9 months and is looking to transform the traditional ways of training and development at Sobeys.

Sobeys has a large number of frontline workers

As a grocery store chain, they have a large number of frontline workers. Peter defines frontline workers as deskless workers. Like many frontline organizations, one of their number one challenges is employee retention. 

Because of this, they spend a disproportionate amount of time on onboarding. Peter realized that if they could streamline their onboarding process, then they could cut some of the labor hours dedicated to this process. Even simply cutting an hour from the onboarding process could have a huge impact on the whole organization.

How they streamlined the onboarding process

The ultimate goal of onboarding is to help new employees begin to perform their job faster. To improve the onboarding experience they had to look at the whole onboarding process over the entire organization. 

From there then they utilized an LMS to redesign the experience by designing separate learning pathways based on the type of work the employees performed. They utilized technology and micro videos to create a more specialized learning experience. 

By questioning the entire onboarding process they were able to cut down on the hours involved and create a specialized experience for their employees. 

Transitioning from training to learning

While the organization does a great job of training its frontline employees, it still had a challenge with learning. Peter wanted to create more of a learning environment that goes beyond training at Sobeys. 

To do this, he needed to focus on the challenges that their employee population faced. This caused him to consider how their workforce is made up so that he could come up with solutions. He began to think about how to engage the employee population and what kind of learning would be valuable to them. 

He had to consider what learning and growth mean to each segment of the population. This type of learning may not necessarily be something that could advance their career, it could simply be learning for learning’s sake. Listen in to hear the kind of solutions Peter and the rest of the team at Sobeys came up with to engage their employee population and go beyond training to become a learning organization.

Connect with Peter Tulumello

 

 

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