#RetailEXPO19: Digital helping Costa Coffee reimagine employee learning

Costa Coffee is shifting its focus away from pushing content to employees as part of an education process and is instead looking at sharing information that helps them perform their roles better.

Anthony Williams, global learning design manager at Costa Coffee, said at RetailEXPO in London: “We’re trying to look at better ways to do it. We’re shifting away from ‘education’ and instead starting with understanding our people – the baristas, the areas managers – and we’ve introduced ‘action mapping’. This identifies the business goals, identifies what people need to do for this, and involves designing activities that help them to do it.”

This increasingly involves digital. A key development is the use of video, with 70-80% of Williams’ team’s time spent on producing resources that are predominantly based on video content for its employees. This is then shared on Instagram.

Such communications lead to interactions and the sharing of content and experiences between its employees, which Williams said is the concept of “social learning”. “It’s where people learn from each other. We’ve got 15,000 experts [in coffee] working for us,” he said, adding: “It’s about making it work without spending millions on technology. It’s not ‘big technology’ but it makes a difference.” 

In addition, Costa has virtual reality and augmented reality in its sights. Williams says the latter enables gamification to be introduced and cites the example of McDonald’s which brought in a new till system and developed a game for its employees that showed them how to use the till through game playing.