Your LMS is a Communications Superpower
Jason Bacaj | 4 min read
What do you do when something previously under your radar suddenly changes everything? What can you do? These are some of the questions percolating in the minds of businesspeople ever since the pandemic hit.
Hello Alfred — a hospitality industry startup that helps its members with recurring chores and tasks (it’s named after Batman’s butler, Alfred Pennyworth) — immediately reacted by flexing its communications superpowers.
The company’s leadership decided to launch a new service: Alfred Delivers. The new offering had employees, known as ‘Alfreds’, help members with errands outside the home while people were advised to stay home.
“Whatevers open, we will go and get it for you. Our team makes multiple stops, so there’s less foot traffic coming to your door,” explains Hannah McWilliams, who’s in communications at Hello Alfred. “And you also know that the person making the delivery is taking all the appropriate precautions.”
Part of the challenge in rolling out the delivery service was communication. Hello Alfred operates in about 20 major cities across the country. Keeping the Alfreds informed with proper safety guidelines and relevant details for each city’s different situation was of the utmost importance.
To handle those myriad, frequent communications efficiently and effectively, Hello Alfred turned to its Learning Management System, which they named the Batcave.
“Our main priorities are always: clear communication and ensuring teams are well trained,” says Ally Martinelli, Operations Project Manager and LMS admin. “We move really quickly at Hello Alfred and consider speed to be a habit. But our current speed is much quicker than we ever could have imagined.”
Ally and Hello Alfred’s learning and development team developed a three-pronged approach to critical communications. The approaches are: top-down guidance, bottom-up news and insight, and connection.
This prong is the more traditional method of company communications: information passed down from the powers-that-be.
In addition to personal protective equipment, the company had to provide Alfreds with safety guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control. It also had to provide information about proper handwashing technique and sanitizing your phone, among other things. Also, the company had to adjust to fully remote work.
Ally and her small team of roughly five people built out modules with all this and new standard operating procedures, but they didn’t stop there.
Hello Alfred considers itself a learning academy as well as a business, so they also started hosting weekly seminars over Zoom. The L&D team then takes the important takeaways from the seminar and posts them to a dialog board in the Batcave so everyone can access the information and it doesn’t get siloed off.
“The platform was really key for us communicating those changes out to the field,” Ally says. “I am a very strong believer in the importance of packaging information for our teams, as they have a lot to manage on a regular basis. We were able to do that within the platform.”
News and insight from the bottom up
Ally and her team launched a dialog board called Street Smarts, which is built off of a survey that Alfreds complete each day they’re in the field.
The insights can be anything from which grocery store is stocked with what, to ideas for more efficient shopping and better customer service. Already the channel has yielded improvements: for instance, Hello Alfred updated its app so shoppers can sort groceries — a small but ingenious tweak that relieves a potential source of frustration.
“We share all of that information out to learn and create new habits across the nation. And, really, just stay connected with our teams and make sure they’re prepared for whatever’s coming,” Ally says.
Hello Alfred is a dynamic company and its people like to keep up with one another beyond simply working together on the typical day-to-day business operations. For instance, there’s a Hello Alfred Run Club on Strava. Ally and her team plugged a live feed into the Batcave, so everyone across the company can check in and keep up with one another.
Some other fun and interesting ways they’ve used the Batcave for more cultural communications is in a daily newsletter that launched after the pandemic began. It offers updates on new initiatives in the business, as well as guessing games and pictures of comical situations one inevitably finds out in the world.
“It’s fun to see now because there’s so much information to download,” Ally says. “There’s definitely high engagement. And people want all the resources in here, which is step one in the process.”
Every L&D Superhero needs a Superpower! For the training team at Hello Alfred, that superpower is their Learning Management System.
If you and your team are thinking about how to navigate in these times of unprecedented change, you won’t want to miss this discussion on how the Hello Alfred team relied on their Wisetail LMS to supercharge communications and empower their team of Alfreds.
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By Jason Bacaj
Jason is a content creator with Wisetail. Through research and interviews, he works to help L&D pros grow the breadth of their knowledge. He’s a recovering journalist fascinated with learning.