American Eagle Outfitters: Employee Onboarding

The Challenge

American Eagle Outfitters commissioned the Gronstedt Group to develop an online learning program to introduce new employees to their product development processes.

The Solution

“Threads” is a Facebook-style learning game where employees are invited to compete in an intense, one-year product development cycle. “This online program helps our new hires get a better understanding of how we work together in cross functional teams from idea and design to manufacturing and sales,” says Lee Ann Rohan. Sr. Director of Organizational Development. Through friend requests, video updates, quizzes, and wall postings, users get to eavesdrop and participate in a cross-functional team to make the new “Cleo fit” become a best-selling jean during the next back-to-school season. In the process, they are challenged to prove superior design skills, canny business acumen, and quick thinking — all from the comfort of their chairs in front of their computers during a two-hour session. “The Gronstedt Group helped us develop a learning program that is engaging and fun,” adds Rohan, “it will help our new employees hit the ground running.” Working together in a cross-functional team from idea and design to manufacturing and sales, they are tasked with bringing down cost, pushing the design features, catching the next trend, and improving delivery time. The characters in the story line are played by professional actors and real AE executives appear in the video to bring home the learning points.

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