How Rent-A-Center Engages Learners

A revamped Sales Leaders Tool training program engages learners through increased interaction with the system and their managers.

Over the last year, retailer Rent-A-Center strived to move from a training culture focused on ensuring compliance to one focused on developing competence. One of the first examples of this shift involved the rollout of a customer relationship management (CRM) application called the Sales Leads Tool (SLT).

The company decided early in the process to monitor user feedback more closely during the rollout and to proactively identify opportunity areas and any missed gaps. Once identified, Rent-A-Center made any changes to the program it felt would improve adoption and usage of the system. The company used Kirkpatrick Level 1 user feedback and adoption/usage statistics provided by the business owner to help determine how the rollout was progressing.

Taking Feedback to Heart

Rent-A-Center analyzed the feedback it received from users and managers in the field. After the first wave of rollouts, only 38 percent of learners felt they were “very knowledgeable” SLT users after completing the training, and nearly all of the users requested more hands-on time with the system.

The company determined that delivering the training solely via simulations and demos in the learning management system (LMS) drove the old compliance-focused behaviors. So it decided to revamp the training mid-rollout to address the users’ feedback. In addition to the e-learning demos and simulations, Rent-A-Center developed a workbook with scenarios for users to work through in a fully functional sandbox. It also developed a certification model that required the manager in each store to certify that each user was capable of completing required functions in the system. The entire program was tied together with a participant’s guide that led the learner through the process.

As a result, Rent-A-Center moved from a fairly passive learning program to one that engaged learners through increased interaction with the system and their managers. This, in turn, drove the accountability for managers, who act as learning coaches. The certification model made the manager an owner of the learner’s knowledge/skill development rather than simply an owner of the learner’s training completion.


After revising the training, Rent-A-Center saw a 55 percent increase in system usage and a 300 percent increase in revenue per call in stores where 100 percent of the SLT users had been certified to use the tool. The company also saw a 62 percent increase in learners who rated themselves as “very knowledgeable” after completing the course in the two years between the initial launch and the final version of the training.

Edited by Lorri Freifeld
Lorri Freifeld is the editor/publisher of Training magazine, owned by Lakewood Media Group. She writes on a number of topics, including talent management, training technology, and leadership development. She spearheads two awards programs: the Training APEX Awards and Emerging Training Leaders. A writer/editor for the last 30 years, she has held editing positions at a variety of publications and holds a Master’s degree in journalism from New York University.