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Measuring up for positive learning

Creating a cohesive learning experience for one of the UK’s favorite retailers.
Industry Sector
Learning Performance Benchmark

The Challenge

One of the UK’s most popular fashion retailers, River Island wanted to define its people strategy and develop a high-performing learning culture.

What’s more, it wanted employees to take the lead with their development. To identify where and how it could improve L&D, River Island completed our Learning Performance Benchmark.

This helped:

  • Create a clear and accessible learning strategy
  • Provide insights to support development in the current system
  • Create an easy-to-follow model to progress L&D


The Solution

Our Learning Performance Benchmark let River Island identify areas for change. This allowed the organization to progress its L&D strategy and really meet the needs of employees.

Nebel Crowhurst, Head of People Experience at River Island, says:

“The Learning Performance Benchmark gave me the evidence I needed to demonstrate a correlation between management development and bottom-line performance.”

“I used the Learning Performance Benchmark data as a tool to give the team some acknowledgement that we have a long route ahead, and as a platform to build some of our aspirations from.”

Why it works

Our Learning Performance Benchmark shows organizations where they need to develop their L&D. And offers insights into how to achieve these changes – creating a strategic approach to follow. River Island used findings to define a three-year plan that laid out what they wanted to deliver across the business, all backed up with metrics.

These insights helped build a clear path to:

  • Identify gaps in the current L&D design
  • Implement tools for continuous assessment and growth
  • Shift the focus for L&D to meet the needs of the individual
  • Deliver a structured approach to make positive change

Learn more from River Island

Watch the River Island learning and development team share more about how the Learning Performance Benchmark has helped transform their organization.

Video duration: 8 minutes 43 seconds

The Results

The Learning Performance Benchmark gave River Island direction to build a successful L&D strategy.

On completing the Learning Performance Benchmark, River Island scored 12.86 out of 100. This low score inspired a change within the company.

As Crowhurst says:

“There was part of me that was pleased. I needed it to be low so I could show the business we were so far beneath where we should be that we really need to work differently.”

By providing evidence of where to improve, River Island could identify and address the changes required. The organization focused on three areas: strategic alignment, learning technologies and management development.

Each year, River Island returns to the Learning Performance Benchmark to check its score and use the data to guide improvement. In this way, the retailer managed to bring its score up to hit its goals.

As Crowhurst observes:

“Now we are in a place where we have more of a blend. We have got mechanisms in place for people to become more self-aware of their leadership and management style. That’s been a real shift over the years that I’ve been here.”

Our Learning Performance Benchmark helped River Island create a positive attitude toward learning. Now, employees and managers benefit from a cohesive learning experience.