Can you tell me about MECCAversity and what it’s all about?
MECCAversity is the hub for all things learning at Mecca. It supports every area of the business (retail, support centre and distribution centre), partnering with the People and Education teams in the relevant departments. Education has always been and will continue to be a key pillar for Mecca, as our founder and co-CEO Jo Horgan passionately believes that education leads to empowerment and unlocking innovation.
Democratising learning by becoming digital first was one of the strategic priorities going into 2020 and we managed to fast-track this goal with new and inventive thinking that came with the pandemic – we like to call it one of our silver linings of Covid-19! We utilised the opportunity to create the MECCAversity platform, expand our (already) impressive education offering, extend it beyond product training and explore new ways to think about career pathways at Mecca.
Version 1.0 of MECCAversity launched in May 2020 with a focus on wellbeing for our team members during the unprecedented lockdown crisis and, with continued development, Mecca’s entire education offering moved under the MECCAversity banner, which opened learning opportunities across all areas of the business. Creating a digital-first learning platform ensured our education programs were more readily accessible and a consistent experience for team members, regardless of their location and role within the business.
What are the kinds of topics that team members can learn?
MECCAversity services all areas of the company and, as each department has different learning needs and are at different stages of their development journeys, we have an array of content that is tailored to the specific teams. Content includes everything from deep dives on product and brands, Mecca’s omnichannel customer experience including services and Beauty Loop loyalty program, to supply chain and warehouse operations. We also have a strong focus on incorporating content that inspires and motivates all teams from Mecca’s partners, in addition to recordings of keynote speakers including athlete and motivational speaker Turia Pitt, Patty McCord and former Prime Minister Julia Gillard from previous internal events.
One of our most popular programs is the Virtual Discovery, where store hosts can learn more about Mecca’s areas of specialisation. They can “try on” their next career step, whether that’s becoming a Mecca makeup artist, a skin or fragrance specialist or a member of our store operations function. Team members love that they have greater insight and control of their career paths as well as having a well-rounded awareness of what each step will look like along the way. All courses for retail team members have success measures and are reliable, regular and constant with at least four courses every week and four or five larger-scale events being held each year.
How are the courses developed for MECCAversity?
We have a human-centred design approach to developing the courses, which is a strong collaboration between our subject matter experts from all areas of the business and our People and Education department. Our team of incredibly knowledgeable specialists build content around MECCA’s brands and products for retail team members. This ranges from day-long summits, 20-minute e-learn sessions, masterclasses, quizzes, reference documents and videos. New content is delivered to the entire retail network of 4,000+ team members each Tuesday.
The Design & Innovation Team are there to support the specialists in getting their visions across the line and manage the technological, system and design side, as well as video editing. They also manage the content roadmap, the build and delivery for our two other audiences – support centre and distribution centre.
Lastly, our program manager delivers the structure and discipline to ensure the major projects of MECCAversity get across the line, including our MECCAversity launch, partnerships and ensures the elements that touch on all areas of the business are represented in a holistic way.
What are the benefits of an initiative like MECCAversity and why should retailers adopt similar initiatives in their companies?
Education is at the core of Mecca’s values and by launching a platform like MECCAversity, we have not only been able to significantly increase the reach, accessibility and impact of our learning opportunities, but also place education in the users’ hands. We believe that an initiative such as MECCAversity is key to driving a competitive edge within the industry that incentivises the best candidates to apply and continues to aid them as they grow and thrive within the business with the right tools. Furthermore, the platform helps our team members recognise that they can build rich careers in retail with diverse opportunities.
What has the feedback from MECCAversity been like so far?
We have had an incredible initial response from team members, with over 105,000 hours of content being completed in the first six months of the platform being live. Strong success measures on our education initiatives are in place and we regularly review our data to gain insights on what our learners love and how they learn.
We have 100 per cent reach across the retail network, meaning that all team members have engaged in our training and continue to participate in the programs at least annually. Our content satisfaction rate is above 4.5 stars on average, whether that’s our short form content, our day-long trainings, virtual or in-classroom.
Finally, our engagement scores are an average of 80 per cent meaning that team members who begin a course go through to completion. This is fantastic when you consider that a large percentage of our content is completely voluntary, meaning team members complete this all on voluntary time, but we do often encourage completion with product incentives.
What are your thoughts on retail training in general and what do you think could be improved across the industry?
We have found there are endless benefits to ensuring there is an alignment with our CEO and the overarching goals of the business to empower employees to switch from a ‘have to’ to ‘want to’ mindset when it comes to learning and taking control of their development and career path. MECCA’s Founder and Co-CEO Jo Horgan fiercely believes in the power of education and is passionate about investing in learning and development, along with support from the wider leadership team, as she believes it leads to empowerment of team members.
By reducing the barriers for education adoption, we have created a learning culture that is embedded into everything we do at MECCA, including our philanthropic arm M-Power, which aims to help 10,000 girls finish secondary school by the year 2025 through our work with The Skyline Education Foundation, Stars Foundation and CAMFED. We strongly recommend ensuring the business’s values are aligned with the training program and are demonstrated throughout the learning and development opportunities.
Mecca recently launched its first Career Expo. What did that look like and what did it involve?
The MECCAversity Careers Expo came from listening to our team member feedback where there was a call to learn more about the career opportunities across the store network, Support Centre and Distribution Centre to discover career paths.
We began by surveying our team members and uncovered the topics they wanted to learn about most, then found the right experts both internal and external to the business who could deliver information that would resonate with team members from our singular store in Tasmania through to our complex and largest George Street, Sydney flagship store.
The Careers Expo had 45 different sessions and 70 speakers: a four-week scheduling and filming effort. Some sessions were filmed in our amazing MECCA studio (where Covid restrictions and geography allowed), whilst others were over Zoom. From there, we created four different sessions with the themes of retail careers, professional development, careers outside the retail stores and how to take a next step. Throughout the expo we had experts hosting a live chat, we awarded over 100+ prizes including books, coaching sessions and vouchers, and the content was loaded directly onto our learning platform for team members to watch back with over 2,500 session completions so far.
Out of this, we have seen deeper and more diverse career conversations and an increase in the quality of internal applications and development plans. We’ve also opened the lines of communication across the business and are using the content on our careers page so that teams can be encouraged to put their best foot forward and truly own their own career journeys.