- Home-improvement chain The Home Depot introduced a mobile app that uses gamification strategies to help train new hires while they're on the job, according to a press release by the company. The PocketGuide app has product information and learning activities that reduce the need for traditional backroom training. Employees in the gardening department will be the first to get the app, which will then expand to other departments of Home Depot stores.
- The company also introduced a mobile self-service tool to help job applicants more easily schedule in-person interviews with hiring managers ahead of the busy spring season that the company plans to fill more than 80,000 positions for.
- Home Depot said in the release that about 80% of job candidates have used the mobile scheduling tool since its pilot in November. Last year, the company saw a 50% jump in candidates after introducing a variety of easy application features such as a 15-minute application, mobile apply and text-to-apply features.
A common frustrations for shoppers in any store is the inability to quickly find good information and advice from store employees who are new to the job or poorly trained to handle customers' questions. That's especially true for more complicated products like home electronics, appliances or tools for home improvement projects.
Home Depot's PocketGuide is a progressive way to train employees while they're getting hands-on experience in the aisles, freeing up training managers and other employees to focus on other tasks in the store, instead of having them teach store policies and processes behind the scenes. The app is a reflection of the popularity of mobile devices that can be harnessed for a variety of on-the-job tasks for stronger employee training and customer service capabilities, removing some of the friction in customers' shopping experience.
Apps in general have become an important tool in training employees about workplace hazards. Last year, Nationwide Insurance introduced a "Hazard Spotter" app to train agribusiness workers about safety procedures while on the job. Nationwide saw a need for better training of employees who handle heavy equipment to process grain, especially after the company's gross incurred losses for workers’ compensation claims from grain-elevator accidents doubled to almost $20 million from 2009 to 2016, per a blog post. The Nationwide app uses virtual reality to train employees about wearing protective gear before completing tasks such as housekeeping and preventative maintenance.