Aiming to drive capability and engagement amongst staff, a customised Live Online leadership offer was created to cater to the geographically dispersed locations of participants. Swinburne Edge (formerly Swinburne Professional) adapted the program to Specsavers' unique needs and as a result, the company was able to reap rewards including an increase in staff retention rates, greater customer service satisfaction and strengthened team morale.

Specsavers is a multinational optical retail chain that operates mainly in the UK, Ireland, Australasia and the Nordic countries. Specsavers offers optician services for eyesight testing and sells glasses, sunglasses, contact lenses, and hearing aids.

Specsavers wanted to evolve the quality of their leadership offer as part of a strategy to continually drive capability and engagement with personal development. They saw an opportunity to create peer-based learning forums across Australia and New Zealand despite time-zone challenges.

The training needed to engage their audience and meet long-term employee development and customer service excellence goals. Swinburne Edge's approach addressed the participant locations as fully virtual delivery allows for cross-regional attendance without travel.

Participant satisfaction rates and outcomes

Gained valuable skills and tools 
Satisfied with facilitator
Increase in emotional intelligence
  • “I really don’t think anything could be improved. It was a challenging learning journey that has made me tremendously improve and grow in all aspects of my life."

    Specsavers participant

The solution

Leveraging our expertise in Live Online delivery, Swinburne Edge customised and delivered the remaining units of the BSB51918 Diploma of Leadership and Management to Specsavers’ existing program cohort.

The program was designed to address some specific needs within the company’s capability framework and was updated to the new qualification code. Notably, we unpacked and re-packed the entire diploma using specific units of competency that align with Specsavers’ requirements.

Specsavers participants meet on Zoom

To meet the needs of Specsavers’ chosen delivery modality, the program delivery schedule was amended from the standard nine days of face-to-face delivery, to 20 x three-hour sessions run fortnightly. In light of the duration of each workshop, it was critical that an experienced and engaging facilitator who could maintain participant interest was assigned to the project.

Our Learning and Development Team adapted all standard materials to ensure they were suitable for Live Online delivery and trialled the teleconferencing prior to service delivery. An introduction session was delivered for all participants so they could gain the most out of the workshop sessions. Online materials were provided in advance of each session via Canvas, Swinburne's Learning Management System. Additionally, a hard copy textbook was provided by mail.

The results

Our agility in adapting this program resulted in a considerably high participant retention rate. Eighteen out of 22 participants graduated, despite headwinds in March and April 2020 due to COVID-19 which saw the entire Specsavers workforce stepping down.

Each participant successfully completed their individual qualification-aligned work-based projects and presented them on program completion. With all participants reporting a significant professional learning curve and personal growth as a result of this program, Specsavers note their partnership with Swinburne Edge as a valuable success.

Personal outcomes

  • 18 per cent increase in emotional intelligence which drew teams closer together.
  • Critical thinking capabilities encouraged open-mindedness to change among long-term employees.
  • Positive development of communication skills by 20 per cent created a cohesive and trusting culture.

Professional outcomes

  • Increase in customer service satisfaction among mystery shopper ratings.
  • Strengthened team morale which had a direct impact on the participants' store rankings.
  • Growth in average order value across the majority of stores.
  • Ability to guide teams through change during the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent uncertainties with temporary store closures.
  • Increase in staff retention rate as participants wish to continue at Specsavers due to being offered this professional development opportunity.
Duration: 2019-2020
Graduates: 18
Location: Australia and New Zealand
Delivery model: Live Online
Participant satisfaction rate: 87%

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