Two years ago, ICC Home in Indianapolis was experiencing a challenge common among independent specialty retailers: high employee turnover, particularly in the sales department. Employing 80 people across three locations, the ICC team was using the type of training for new employees that many retailers traditionally use: job shadowing combined with product knowledge presentations from a variety of vendors.  

“We realized we needed a formal training program, and we decided to modernize the process through software,” said Cam Haughey, co-owner, ICC Home.

Over the course of a year, the team took on the momentous task of compiling a library of flooring-specific training content based on existing product knowledge, internal processes, and general intel from seasoned employees. 

“Our goal was to create a simple, yet powerful, training platform developed specifically for the flooring industry,” said Blake Powell, director of marketing and training, who manages the project. 

The outcome was Floorish, an online content training platform powered by Lessonly, an Indianapolis-based software provider. 

“They're basically the engine and we're building the car around it, so it’s great because we can focus on the content and they are our IT support,” Powell said. “Lessonly is continuously improving their training software based on what they see working for their three million users.”

The modules Floorish presents are aimed at building business, fostering team culture, and developing consistency among sales teams so that they can earn veteran-level revenue faster, Powell said. The online content modules also ensure consistent communication no matter how many locations or employees. In addition, the platform helps managers measure an individual’s success without manual tracking, while improving customer service and employee engagement.

“As we documented our processes, it exposed weakness in our business,” Haughey said. “What we found talking to other NFA members was that we are all experiencing the same challenges as an industry. By documenting everything into training modules, we can ensure that everyone is using the same methods, speaking the same language, and working on the same plane.”

In 2019, the team began working with McSwain Carpets and Floors in Cincinnati as a second test case. The business employees 100, including 30 salespeople across a variety of departments—retail, builder, property management, and commercial. 

“[Lessonly is] basically the engine and we're building the car around it, so it’s great because we can focus on the content and they are our IT support.”

– Blake Powell

“This shortens the cycle from start until the employee is ready to sell,” said Bibi Lovell Gadd, director of talent development and e-commerce, McSwain Carpets and Floors. “For a commission salesperson, that is extremely important because you're not making any money until you are selling, and in the flooring industry, it usually takes a bit longer if they have no experience—there is so much to learn and so many different types of flooring.”

Gadd said working with Floorish is a turn-key process.

“I’m excited because all the information that they have gathered is already put into content. It was pretty much done except for our company-specific information, such as the onboarding section, which includes an introduction to our company that discusses our culture and values.” 

That onboarding content, along with processes modules, are unique to each retailer, and can be easily added to or updated to reflect company values and business strategies. 

“As more millennials come on board, the training for them needs to change,” said Jason Waggoner, vice president of sales, ICC Home. “They are looking into the culture of a business. Millennials also want a clear track to run on, and this training provides them with a means to learn and get up to speed quickly and help them feel like they are part of a team.” 

Time is money, and a key benefit of Floorish is helping management determine quickly if a new hire is a fit to help alleviate costly turnover.

“The testing is one of the best things about Floorish,” Powell said. “It just gives you a way to measure how a person is coming along with the training and if they are a good fit. It avoids keeping someone on for two years when maybe you shouldn’t have kept them more than 30 or 45 days.” 

The platform can also be used as a re-training tool for longtime employees. 

“If we're changing a policy or the way that we want to handle something, it's easy for us to send the lesson out to everyone to make sure they understand it, take a test on it, and then it provides us with accountability,” Waggoner added. 

The results of Floorish speak for themselves.

“Two of our sales reps, who each have less than a year of experience, went through the training in August,” Waggoner said. “Now, they are number one and number two in our store—they both cracked the $100,000 mark per month, which traditionally took someone one or two years to achieve.

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The Floorish team formally rolled out the platform to NFA dealers in January; however, they are planning to make it available to all retailers and wholesalers. 

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