Kroger, the nation’s largest grocery retailer, on Wednesday joined with employee training firm Axonify to launch Fresh Start, a new personalized training program to support greater associate engagement and retention.
Utilizing Axonify’s modern learning platform, Kroger will continue to invest in the development of its nearly half a million associates, helping them to feel more knowledgeable and connected to goals of the organization.
“Across our organization, we have been focusing on investments to improve our associates’ experiences and ultimately create an environment where everyone continues to thrive and advance,” said Senchal Murphy, Kroger’s senior director of training and onboarding. “Fresh Start with Axonify helps us deliver a more personalized, digital experience for associates through purposeful, bite-sized training that enables them to learn and grow in a fun and engaging way.”
Through the Fresh Start with Axonify app, associates can access their personalized training quickly and easily in the course of their day. The solution is being launched in a phased approach across Kroger’s business. With continual learning performed in less than five minutes per shift, each associate’s training experience is tailored to their individual needs and knowledge gaps via the app using gamification.
“Axonify is proud to help further coach and train frontline grocery associates like those employed by the Kroger organization as they strive to help build a more knowledgeable and engaged workforce,” said Carol Leaman, CEO and co-founder of Waterloo, Ontario-based Axonify. “As one of the world’s largest grocery retailers, the Kroger Family of Companies recognizes the importance of shifting from a one-size-fits-all training approach to a continuous, personalized model focused on providing associates the knowledge to succeed in their current and future roles.”
Cincinnati-based Kroger, which operates more than 2,800 stores under a variety of banners, has more than 465,000 employees. Since March 2020 and the onset of the COVID pandemic, Kroger has hired more than 100,000 new associates and invested more than $1.5 billion to reward workers and protect associates and customers through a range of COVID-19 safety measures. Most recently, that included one-time payments of $100 to all associates who receive full COVID vaccinations, as well as a $100 store credit and 1,000 fuel points to hourly frontline grocery, supply chain, manufacturing, pharmacy and call center workers under an additional $50 million investment.
As part of the recently completed Restock Kroger strategic plan, Kroger said it has been investing to raise the wages of frontline associates, including an incremental $800 million in increases from 2018 to 2020, $300 million more than the originally planned. The company reported that the investment lifted the average wage rate to more than $15 per hour and, including its comprehensive human resources and retirement benefits, the average hourly rate exceeds $20. Kroger also has invested nearly $1 billion to stabilize associates’ pensions.
In 2021, the company plans to invest an incremental $350 million its workforce, a move expected to lift the average associate wage to $16 per hour.
In addition, Kroger said it provides on-demand, role-specific training and resources through FEED desktop and mobile and modern learning platforms such as Axonify, along with leadership, career advancement, and diversity, equity and inclusion training.
“We want to meet our associates where they are and provide them with tools and pathways to grow as individuals and with our organization, because the jobs of the future will grow and evolve just like our business,” said Tim Massa, Tim Massa, senior vice president and chief people officer at Kroger. “Today’s growth-minded associates will deliver tomorrow’s solutions for our customers.”