Unilever Food Solutions – Employee Training

ldquo Mindflash is a very user-friendly system for both the trainer and trainees. It can save you a lot of time. rdquo
Beverly Looney
CD Capabilities Training Manager
Unilever Food Solutions

About the Organization

Unilever Food Solutions is a food service manufacturer that also offers solutions that creates delicious, time-saving ingredients and provides ideas and inspiration to help businesses keep menus fresh and exciting. The company, which has been at the top of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for 14 years running, delivers top-known brands such as Knorr, Hellmann’s, and Lipton to hotels, restaurants, businesses, schools, and independent operators in 74 countries. In addition to quality brands, Unilever Food Solutions support its customers with great service, market insights, and innovation.

Situation

Unilever Food Solutions has a widely distributed workforce across Canada and all 50 of the United States, with a diverse sales force led by Distributor Development Managers, Chain Development Managers, Business Development Team and Sales Leaders. Sales is further split into various teams with different areas of expertise, such as distributor, large chains, military, supermarket and deli, convenience stores, Club Stores, and healthcare facilities. The logistics of training are a major challenge since not only do courses need to be delivered across a vast area, they also need to be tailored to meet the needs of specialized teams.

“We don’t have the resources to get together all the time,” says Beverly Looney, Unilever’s CD Capabilities Training Manager. “We need a way to get out training materials easily and quickly, in a user-friendly format.” Previously, the company was holding a lot of live meetings over the phone. Training materials were not readily available, making it difficult for people to review courses without asking someone else to search for a file and email it. “Plus, it was very difficult to reinforce training,” says Beverly, “and it’s important that we ensure that employees not only understand the materials but also retain the information.”

Solution

Beverly uses Mindflash to create multiple variants of courses aimed at the various specialized sales teams. There are around 250 active trainees, all of whom have used the program. Most training programs are geared toward new hires and range in focus from finance and marketing to culinary ideation and food safety.

However, Unilever recently kicked off training program called UFS-University, which is focused on delivering continuing education to all of the salespeople at the company. Courses are created by a team of 5 to 10 people, and then Beverly uploads the materials to Mindflash. Trainees are required to complete courses, fill out related activity sheets and submit results through, while Beverly tracks progress to see who has completed the assignments.

For Beverly, the number one priority for training was that the tool be easy to use. “I didn’t want a complex solution that required an IT degree to be able to use,” she says. “Mindflash is very user-friendly–anyone can get the hang of it.” The company reviewed several other online solutions, but Mindflash was the easiest for both trainers and trainees to understand.

Beverly also likes that Mindflash:

  • is easily accessible to the sales team when they are in the field, and that they’re able to go back and review materials at any time
  • allows trainers to go back in and change a training program even after it’s been activated
  • makes it easy to copy pieces of one course to create another that’s slightly different
  • can be managed by several different people
  • offers the ability to stagger training times

Results

In about a year, Beverly has used Mindflash to create five series with a total of about 30 courses. Unilever is now able to send training materials in advance and offer Q&A review sessions, which has resulted in training review calls dropping from 90 minutes in duration to 30 minutes. Employees are much happier with training since it saves them time and is easy to use.