In 2009, Pep Boys, the nationwide auto parts and service chain realized that their traditional ways of educating their employees about theft—through posters, classes, and meetings—weren’t really working. They turned to a new Canadian-based startup called Axonify to try a different approach, where the information was stripped down to the most critical concepts and presented more like mobile games: quick sessions that employees could complete on their phone in just three minutes each day.
Using the system was voluntary, with the incentive of earning points that could be redeemed for rewards. The program didn’t take long to prove its worth. Unlike many corporate learning systems, not only did employees use the system, but doing so generated measurable business results: Pep Boys saw their losses due to theft at their more than 700 stores drop by $20 million in the first year alone, because their employees were better able to identify suspicious behavior and report it properly. Before the experiment, “they took for granted that employees knew what to do,” says Axonify CEO Carol Leaman, but it turned out that they needed to actually learn theft prevention tactics, not just be exposed to it.