How we adapted to deliver immersive brand training virtually
The team at Stellar discuss how they trained a team of 80+ across 8 different markets in a new retail environment.
At Stellar, we are full-blown, unashamed people people.
We invest time, attention, and of course, money, into our teams and as a result, are rewarded with hard work, loyalty, and productivity.
Before the pandemic changed the world, new recruits attended immersive training over a number of days with us, in person, to bring them into the fold and fully up to speed on everything to do with the brand they represent.
We traveled to various markets in Europe each month to deliver the training to new brand ambassadors or to visit and check-in with our current teams, ensuring they felt valued and informed of any changes.
During these visits, we were also able to meet regularly with clients to discuss demo support or make future plans.
Then, in March, lockdown arrived and we were no longer able to reach people physically but began making plans immediately to enable us to maintain the connections we had so carefully forged.
Once the first peak of the coronavirus passed and bricks and mortar stores re-opened, we were still unable to travel due to quarantine restrictions, and training staff in person was simply not an option.
But the show must go on and Tom Hall, our senior European account manager, had a plan.
Recruitment by Stellar continued at this point, almost as normal, but onboarding and training were adapted and successfully shifted online.
In order to recreate the immersive experience usually offered to new team members, they were each sent the products they would be working with, which enabled them to get hands on with them at home.
Senior brand ambassadors then connected with the new recruits virtually and took them through the exact same training they would have received in the flesh, giving them the same opportunity to learn about and try the products, as well as the chance to ask questions and form working relationships.
In addition to our training programme, a stand-out date in the Stellar calendar is our bi-annual two day conference, which was scheduled this time around for September.
It is an event the team really looks forward to as it brings our brand ambassadors together with our client, Sage Appliances, and we gain great insight from all parties.
Success stories are swapped, new products are showcased and we collaborate on overcoming challenges, sharing tips and hints.
Faced with the prospect of postponing the event until February next year, or at best delivering a business update over Zoom, Tom decided that simply would not do.
Once again plans were made to recreate the event and make it fit with virtual delivery on a European scale.
New products were shipped to all attendees and we worked closely with the client to devise a fun, and engaging educational programme for all to enjoy.
The product was a Sage cooking appliance, the Fast Slow Pro so recipe challenges were set for the team to follow, all the while getting the chance to really use and understand the product.
A foodie competition was also organised with our European teams each submitting delicious and fabulously creative dishes to delight their peers and inspire them to recreate them at home – exactly how Sage loves to see their products being used.
More than 80 people joined the event over the two days, for three and a half hours each day.
As well as the recipe challenges and foodie competition, we also delivered an exciting array of content and activities such as business updates, performance recaps, Q&As, cook-along, latte art throw-downs, coffee tutorials and outlined future plans.
With teams from eight markets across Europe involved, the content was predominantly delivered in Sage’s business language of English, but breakout rooms were also available to allow for language and market specific presentations to be shared.
These breakout spaces enabled smaller groups to work together on particular activities relating to their own market.
It was so wonderful to see our teams coming together virtually across the miles, whether from their sofa, kitchen table, or dining room, connecting and sharing a common goal.
More than 100 dishes were put forward in our foodie competition alone and this brought great excitement and enthusiasm to the event.
We are proud of each and every person for embracing the new Stellar way of doing things while we are unable to physically be together and, of course, for anyone unable to attend, the whole event was recorded so can be shared for them to enjoy and learn from.
Despite the restrictions of the global pandemic still very much in play, our online conference served only to boost morale further and saw our community pull together harder than ever.
Find out how we can transform your retail performance