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SERVE With Purpose Online Experience Helps Drive Cultural Change
2017 Brandon Hall Bronze Award, Excellence in Learning — Best Unique or Innovative Learning and Development Program
How does a global home improvement retailer with a rich history and a diverse workforce change its culture? That was the challenge facing Lowe’s as it embarked on a journey to become driven by purpose.
As Lowe’s redefined its purpose, culture, and values, it became evident that cultural alignment would be possible only if behaviors changed throughout the organization to reflect Lowe’s values, purpose, and servant leadership philosophy. As a result, Lowe’s refined and clarified its SERVE Model to include value-driven behavioral expectations for both leaders and individual contributors.
Recognizing that culture shift begins with leadership, Lowe’s first rolled out the updated model to more than 7,000 leaders across the enterprise through highly interactive and reflective instructor-led sessions that evoked leaders’ commitment to adopt the updated behaviors.
After the initial rollout, Lowe’s was challenged to find a way to help new leaders, as well as individual contributors, across the enterprise to commit to adopting the SERVE behaviors.
Specifically, the challenge was to transform a highly successful, face-to-face, reflective workshop into a 20-minute e-learning course that could be widely distributed, yet still be effective at changing mindsets and behaviors.
Lowe’s engaged Innovative Learning Group (ILG) to create the e-learning course that would replicate the instructor-led session to the greatest degree possible — to help learners understand and reflect on the SERVE behaviors, identify personal strengths and weaknesses, and create and share a commitment to change one or two specific behaviors to better support the culture.
In order to effectively drive behavior change, the solution:
The course included the following instructional elements:
Adaptive Learning to Meet the Needs of a Diverse Audience
To support the diverse needs of the audience, course branching enables learners to access specific content relevant to their role; e.g., a leader or an individual contributor.
Flexible Design that Encourages Learners' Exploration of Content
Not only does the design enable learners to access content specific to their roles, but it also provides access to all content in a way that is completely learner-directed. Learners can explore a topic as deeply as they would like through their menu choices (video, short description, or application activity). They also can choose whether to explore behaviors for their current role or learn about the expectations for other roles. This comprehensive access to content fosters a culture of trust and a feeling that everyone is on the same team, working toward the same purpose — an especially important message as Lowe’s continues to break down the traditional command-and control-hierarchy.
Opening "Hook" Video
The video portrays a Lowe’s employee who tells a compelling story of how she “lived out” the Lowe’s purpose while helping a customer and how her behavior affected her, the customer, and others in the organization. Immediately upon opening the course, the video evokes an emotional connection to Lowe’s, its purpose, and the course content.
Storytelling Through Rich, Personal Video Examples
Effective facilitation and rich, personal examples had made the “live” facilitated sessions highly engaging. The e-learning reproduces this effect by connecting learners, on a personal level, with other Lowe’s employees who share via video what SERVE behaviors mean to them.
To mirror the deep self-reflection that occurred during the workshop, learners select the selfassessment appropriate to their role (either Team Leader or Team Member). Learners complete the self-assessment, using buttons on a five-point scale for each item. Upon completion of the self-assessment, learners receive a printable summary of their top strengths and opportunities that they can use for action planning.
Commitment to Action
To create an action plan, learners begin by selecting items from the completed assessment. Free response space allows for customization. The action plan is printable and can be used as input into a final commitment statement that learners can draft and share with their teams.
During the first four months of deployment, the course reached 5,547 learners across the company, many of whom shared their commitment statements within their teams and across the organization.
Following the launch, a SERVE Commitment survey assessed how well learners have internalized the behaviors that support the SERVE Model to enable a culture supportive of purpose. The survey was sent to more than 1,500 employees, including both leaders and individual contributors. Among other findings, the survey indicated that employees feel strongly that SERVE plays an important role in Lowe’s evolving culture. Other data suggest an improvement in overall SERVE scores related to employee engagement and an increase in desired SERVE behaviors.
As the Lowe’s culture continues to evolve around purpose and values, the SERVE training program plays a vital role in onboarding, as a prerequisite to core programs, and as a support in each employee’s transition from individual contributor to leader.
To learn more about how Innovative Learning Group can create custom learning solutions to help improve your business results, contact us at info@innovativeLG.com.