Why online training can’t beat beer and pizza

Shriro Australia’s Sydney showroom was abuzz with Harvey Norman proprietors and floor staff in late July when the company held a special event to launch the new range, thank Harveys for their support and provide some in-depth product information, Current reports.

Harvey Norman teams from throughout Sydney, as well as far flung towns like Bateman’s Bay, Griffith, Port Macquarie and Fyshwick, packed buses to travel to the event. In total, more than 24 different Harvey Norman stores in New South Wales alone were represented.

The franchisee at one of those stores, Ben Maddison from Caringbah in southern Sydney, received a huge cheer of support when he declared it “the best attendance I’ve seen for a Harvey Norman trade night in the last 10 years”.

This pronouncement came after a 20-minute product presentation and the introduction of the Blanco sales team. The showroom was packed with Blanco appliances and there were plenty of Shriro staff available to talk the Harvey Norman staff through the new range.

Although there is a general consensus that nothing beats face-to-face training and networking, the once-common practice of hiring a room and providing dinner and a drink in return for some brand indoctrination has slipped, replaced by online learning modules.

The success of the Blanco trade night suggests this situation should be re-evaluated, according to several suppliers and retailers.

Panasonic Australia has been conducting e-learning for the past few years, with staff rewarded with a free jacket for completing the course. Sources at the company have said that while some staff take it very seriously and score well on the tests, others simply hit the ‘Next’ button without reading any of the pages, fail the test and then still demand the free jacket.

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