Digital board game helps line managers improve their performance

Walgreens Boots Alliance interactive board game case study

Key facts and figures

Business priorities: Improving managerial capability
Sector: Retail pharmacy
Lead contact: Chief Human Resources Officer
Employees in the picture: 400,000 people
Locations: Europe, Asia and North America
Lead time to launch day: 6 months

“Working with the The Big Picture People was a great experience from beginning to end. We approached them to work with us as we’d heard great things about their bold and innovative approach to learning and development. What started as a conventional but highly engaging board game that would be delivered face to face, pivoted to be an inspiring, creative, digital game workshop that would be delivered virtually as people worked from home. The Big Picture People’s passion for creating something innovative and unique was pivotal in the success of our learning offer.”

Chief Human Resources Officer

Our client’s challenge

As a global player in retail pharmacy, strong leadership is paramount to Walgreen Boots. With a portfolio that includes brands such as Soltan, No7 and Soap and Glory, the company’s 480 line managers play a crucial part in its success.

Walgreen has heavily invested both time and resources to developing the skills of these managers, many of whom have been promoted from within. However, the organisation acknowledged that it had not focused on consistently establishing expectations of what a good manager looks like. This was demonstrated when Walgreen ran its employee engagement survey, revealing a lack of willingness amongst managers to take accountability for their people.

To address this, the company created a new framework which outlines what is expected of their line managers. The Manager Effectiveness Model (MEM) is a foundational tool to help both new and existing managers, and Walgreen Boots was looking to embed this in a memorable and engaging way. This is where The Big Picture People stepped in, with its gamified approach and digital board game helping achieve this.​

Our solution and results

When The Big Picture People were originally engaged by Walgreen Boots, the initial plan was to make a physical game which groups could use in a face-to-face setting. However, the COVID-19 pandemic meant a change of direction and the product was switched to a digital board game, which could be played remotely through Microsoft Teams.

Working with the client, The Big Picture People were able to develop a bespoke, engaging and interactive ‘gamified’ workshop which would be delivered in sessions lasting 2-3 hours. The game was based around the MEM model and looked to achieve several objectives. It demonstrated the broader context of the model and allowed players to explore their strengths and development areas. It also gave them the opportunity to connect with each other and crucially, it helped them apply the components of MEM to real life situations.

The digital board game was rolled out in June 2021 and since then has helped employees across the globe, reaching continents such as Europe, Asia and North America. This methodology has been used consistently across the business and its engaging learning atmosphere was continued in The Big Picture People’s Train the Trainer sessions, where over 40 facilitators were given the skills to deliver the programme. Overall, this unique approach proved hugely successful for Walgreen Boots.

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