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Avon Gets Made Up With Workflow Learning

Roberta Gogos
Feb 22 2022

We’ve been on a roll talking about workflow learning and how organisations can design L&D programmes using a ‘performance-first’ approach. In part I of the series we took on some big questions about learning design with It’s Time to Consider a New Way of Looking at the Learning Journey, and in part II, we examined the 5 Moments of Need in L&D. And since nothing proves a theory like a solid example in action, in our most recent post, we showed you how Fuse customer Vodafone is reaping big results with its re-designed workflow learning programme.

Today, in the final part of our workflow learning series, we’re building on our Vodafone example with another heavyweight Fuse customer that has delivered exceptional results with workflow learning. It’s time to delve into Avon’s journey to show the impact the global retailer saw when shifting its L&D strategy from a traditional to workflow learning model. Get set to be amazed! 

Avon Moves to WorkFlow Learning and Learning in the Flow of Life

It should come as no surprise that Avon’s L&D global ecosystem is vast and highly orchestrated. When you’re selling to 51 different markets and you have over 150,000 active learners looking for knowledge to do their jobs, it’s important to get L&D right. 

The problem was, Avon’s traditional, training-centric approach wasn’t cutting it even before the pandemic hit. Its existing learning journey was what Avon describes as a ‘here’s the course, complete the course, now you’re trained!’ approach. 

With this traditional, course-centric approach, Avon was struggling to measure both the effectiveness of its training and the impact of that training on business performance. Combine that with a pandemic, where Avon’s traditional selling model had to undergo a rapid digital transformation, and L&D was in a bit of a crisis. 

Avon’s Digital Experience Manager, Andy Stamps, who led the learning transformation in partnership with Fuse, explained:

We had too many learning management systems and they weren’t engaging our beauty entrepreneurs in any meaningful way. We knew we needed a different, more appealing model - one that would create positive and habitual learning behaviours.”  

In short, Avon knew it needed a collaborative platform that would enable not only workflow learning, but also ‘learning in the flow of life.’ This describes beauty entrepreneurs’ need for engaging learning experiences that, crucially, also fit into their busy lives and promote a sense of belonging. 

Workflow Learning: Continuous And Engaged

Avon’s primary target audience is ‘direct sellers,’ or beauty advisors and entrepreneurs who are Avon representatives who sell to customers. The aim in implementing Fuse and workflow learning was to improve not just their performance in terms of sales as a volume, but also their attention.

The company had also identified a 90-day tipping point problem with retention, so knew it had to create better experiences for its direct sellers. Many have 9-5 jobs and childcare responsibilities on top of the work they do for Avon, so it was about making their lives easier by integrating the right learning content at the right touchpoints.

Fuse was implemented so that Avon’s world of direct sellers could have quick and easy access to the knowledge that would help them sell in the here, and now. The platform became a hassle-free way for them to access helpful knowledge either at home or on-the-go - and crucially, all within the natural flow of life.

Success was immediate. The introduction of workflow learning was so highly effective that it began driving a culture of continuous learning and engagement. Moving on from the ‘train and done’ approach, Avon’s learners got into the habit of coming back to the platform to refresh their understanding, to search for new answers to problems, to drop in to see what new knowledge they learn from - or simply to stay updated and be part of the community conversation. Andy says:

We analysed different metrics such as completion rates, consumption of content and levels of interaction, but the data very clearly showed that it was the frequency with which our beauty entrepreneurs were coming back to the platform that made the biggest difference rather than the volume of content and how long they spent learning each time they logged in  - this is where we saw the really dramatic uplifts in business performance. It was definitely a jaw-on-the-floor moment.”

These habits of learning and the frequency of visits to the Fuse platform became the biggest indicators of both L&D’s impact on commercial success and longevity of employment. In only 90 days, Avon saw an increase in revenue and employee retention, proving that actively engaged learners can impact business performance directly.

Avon Learners and the 5 Moments of Need

In shifting away from formal training to workflow learning, Avon has also been able to cater to learning across the 5 Moments of Need, including learning for the first time, to wanting to learn more, and in particular, learning when something changes. 

This is particularly relevant when supporting representatives who want to discover new ideas, and new ways of using new products. Using Fuse search, Avon’s learners can find the new knowledge they need quickly and easily. 

They also have the option to get more formal training via Fuse with built-in structured topics and learning plans via a progressive learning journey and structured path. 

Workflow Learning - Achieving Jaw Dropper Results

In looking to transform its learning journey, Avon could have taken its existing training and simply put it all online, but thankfully, it didn’t. Instead, the company turned to Fuse, for a proactive, open-minded approach based around workflow learning. It’s a great example of just how agile a direct selling retailer of this size can be when it comes to addressing new requirements and pivoting quickly to changing market and workforce conditions. 

It turns out it’s also a great example of the tangible results many companies are seeing with workflow learning, particularly from a performance perspective. 

With the incremental increase in monthly visits to the platform - the difference between low frequency (1 to 2 visits per month) and medium frequency (3 to 4 visits per month) - Avon saw dramatic uplifts of +320% in aggregate sales over a 6 month period. 

It’s proof that by removing barriers and making knowledge available in the flow of work,  even a retail giant was able to quickly reap results from a new learning journey. If you’d like to learn more about how you can introduce changes to your learning journey to discover jaw dropper results, get in touch today.

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