A tray of fresh bagels

Identifying Gaps in Training Programs (and Refining Your Efforts to See Results!)

Wisetail | 4 min read

As learning and development professionals, there is a never-ending aspiration for better. We want better onboarding. We want better training programs. We want better retention. And – ultimately – we want better teams. L&D professionals understand the infinite potential of endless learning opportunities. Nick Kyle, Manager of Training at Bagel Brands, is always striving for better. Prior to 2021, he and his team pinned down an ingredient in their better recipe: training delivery. For the following year, they tested out that recipe and found value with hard data to support their vision of people-centric onboarding and training.

As they say, there is proof in the pudding. Bagel Brands refined the focus within their onboarding and training efforts, leading them to winning company-wide retention goals.

So, how did they do it?

Fresh bagels being taken from the oven

A Little Background

Bagel Brands is the collection of four-separate literal bagel brands: Einstein Brothers Bagels, Bruegger’s Bagels, Noah’s Bagels, and Manhattan Bagel. Combined, they have 988 bakeries in 44 states that facilitate a combination of corporate and licensed/franchise-style management.

Identifying Gaps in Onboarding and Product Training

Nick and his mighty team of two (yes, that includes himself!) recognized that their gap was in onboarding and product training. Bagel Brands had a top-down approach to product launches. They performed very lengthy role-based training that was delivered primarily on paper (no trackability!). They recognized that the translation of materials was not being cascaded down effectively and that the team members that were actually engaging with guests were the least engaged with training materials. As Nick says: “It was a game of telephone; As we kept on communicating, we kept losing details. It created an inconsistent guest experience.”

Two Bagel Brands Employees standing side by side

Re-strategizing Training Modules

They shifted the delivery of learning materials, changed content messaging, and went from handing-out text-heavy deployment guides with several different links within modules to creating e-learning content that was more intuitive. They created more engaging content – videos, the why behind the what, why the favor profiles connected with seasons launched, and shortened the length of time required for each training.

“It connected with team members because they were able to communicate about the product more intimately with the guests. There was a connection that created a better overall satisfaction of the guests,” he said. Nick and his team went from never exceeding a 70% completion rate to a 93% completion content launch all due to identifying gaps in cross training, making their LMS an essential tool, and recognizing the learning journey within their organization.

Three Bagel Brands employees laughing

Recognizing Staff Talk and Thinking People-Centric – Seeing the ROI of it All

One final action Nick made was recognizing how his staff preferred to be communicated with and empowering them to build their own learning journey.
Nick and his team began communicating directly with team members, instead of through their managers – again, losing the telephone experience. What this meant was that team members were receiving their own email updates and alerts via their LMS platform instead of hearing those alerts via their managers. It provided ownership to the team members. It also shortened the average time to complete by… let’s just say a lot.

Check out the entire webinar recap below!