The 210-unit coffee and tea brand relies on training modules that help engage and retain employees. 

Nicole Vermolen, retail field support training manager at Peet’s Coffee, believes the “Great Resignation” is a bit of a misnomer. To her, the term seems to disparage workers. 

“I really think it should be called the ‘Great Realization,’” Vermolen says. “Many people are rethinking what they want to do with their professional lives and that’s understandable.” 

The philosophy speaks to the way Vermolen and her team at Peet’s Coffee approach recruiting, training, and retaining employees. With 210 locations and over 4,000 employees, the Bay Area- based brand takes its identity as an employer of choice very seriously. The brand believes that proper protocols, training, and education for its team members will make Peet’s Coffee a place where team members can cultivate careers rather than just have a job. 

At the heart of that training and ongoing development of its employees is what the company refers to as “Vine Street,” which is the company’s learning management system (LMS) portal, created by Wisetail. Team members can log into Vine Street and learn key facts about Peet’s five different seasonal menus, for example, and become familiar with nuances of the brand’s menu items. Quizzes are available that help track each employee’s progress and understanding of new menu rollouts and initiatives. Designed specifically for the digital-first generations, Vine Street instills a sense of pride in the workplace, Vermolen says, and helps build up the culture of Peet’s Coffee. 

“The mantra that we live by is ‘pursuit of better,’” Vermolen says. “That means better coffee, better employees, and a better customer experience—all of it, we want to do it better than anybody else. If we didn’t have Wisetail, we wouldn’t be able to do it. It helps with everything that they are doing in their jobs, from seeing if their store is performing over or under par, to where beans are roasted and how you grind them. We are able to push out all of this information and they absorb it so quickly because they have that digital savvy.” 

One of the initiatives Peet’s Coffee has been able to roll out alongside Wisetail’s LMS revolves around the company rewarding employees who record high scores on training modules with swag—like beanies, hoodies, and pins—that can be worn during shifts. Vermolen says these rewards help drive a sense of camaraderie that is then passed on during the customer experience. 

With the backdrop of the labor crisis—or the Great Realization, as Vermolen refers to it—a training platform that is able to create brand consistency and keep employees motivated, connected, and engaged is crucial, Vermolen says. One thing she especially enjoys about Wisetail is that the company is constantly searching for ways to help Peet’s Coffee uphold and even improve its status as an employer of choice. Whenever the coffee brand gives Wisetail feedback on something that may not be working optimally, it’s swiftly addressed, Vermolen says.

“I think one thing that makes us unique is that this isn’t just about training employees,” Vermolen says. “It’s a continuous learning process and cycle that helps employees have the confidence that they are a great employee. It builds up their knowledge. Wisetail helps them see their own progress. They really, truly enjoy logging in and earning points and obtaining swag. There’s a loyalty we are showing them in investing in them that we then receive in return.” 

For more on Wisetail’s influence on training and retaining employees, visit the Wisetail website

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