fy13: 55% fy15: 77%

Strategic delivery

3-Gears programme

Two years ago we launched '3-Gears', a qualification programme that trains and rewards colleagues for gaining expertise. The three Gears represent the different stages of qualification:

Gear 1 – Gear 1 applies to all colleagues and is completed over their first three-month period with Halfords. We use structured e-learning modules that cover retail skills, product knowledge and customer service. The outcome is that all store colleagues will be qualified to serve customers.

Gear 2 – Gear 2 involves a nine-month training programme which leads to an expert level of product knowledge, with a specialism in either Auto & Leisure or Cycling. Tuition is both through e-learning and face-to-face training programmes. There are regular refresher courses for Gear 2 colleagues and a pay award for those who attain this level.

Gear 3 – Gear 3 colleagues are our Gurus. They are product experts who are qualified to train others. They keep their skills and knowledge current and market leading - through workshops, attending product and trade shows and by linking with and visiting suppliers. Our Gurus also receive leadership development and a pay award.

By the end of FY15 46% of our colleagues had qualified for Gear 2 and we had over 300 Gear 3 level colleagues. We anticipate around 80% of colleagues being Gear 2 qualified by the end of FY16, along with two Gear 3 Gurus in most stores.

We are already seeing the benefits of the investment in training. Firstly, we have more multi-skilled colleagues. Rather than having one fitter per store, we have many colleagues capable of replacing bulbs, wiper blades or batteries, or child car seats, enabling us to meet demand. Secondly, we are already seeing an uplift in sales metrics, with average transaction value, number of items per basket and average gross profit per basket all up several percent. Finally, the Net Promoter Score has improved significantly, with a final quarter result of 77% compared to 55% two years ago.