Walking through any of the 2,200 Home Depot stores across North America probably doesn’t conjure up ideas about technological innovation—but it should.
“There's this connotation that everybody who thinks about Home Depot, they immediately make that association with the apron,” says George Boone, Software Engineer, Senior Manager. “And that's what we want. But behind the scenes, we're a massive organization that's truly powered by technology.”
To stay competitive, The Home Depot needs software engineers, security experts, UX pros, merchandising and data scientists to fill many of those orange aprons at an increasing pace.
“Technology is changing so quickly,” says Chief Architect Barbara Sanders. “We’ve had to adapt the way we bring it to life and make it a lot more flexible.”
“When you think about all of our supply chain systems and planning and forecasting, everything from the cash register to our digital e-commerce website, technology has to be able to enable that,” says Anthony Gregorio, Director of Technology Enablement. “And to be able to build these things, we have to have skilled associates.”
Barbara adds, “It’s incumbent upon organizations like Home Depot to be vested in continuing to build those skills to keep up.”
Who we are
The Home Depot is the world’s largest home improvement retailer founded on a simple premise: Put customers and associates first. To do that in more innovative ways than ever before, the DIY giant is doubling down on its investment in technology skills development.
The Home Depot by the numbers
Agility is a must
“It’s about getting concepts and ideas to market quickly. In the past we could have taken years… now literally in weeks our business is asking for features that they believe will meet customer's needs.”
Barbara Sanders, Chief Architect at The Home Depot
What we're learning:
OrangeMethod: Upskilling and onboarding with speed
To create a pipeline of skilled associates to fill upwards of 1,000 technology roles, The Home Depot rolled out an immersive skills boot camp dubbed “OrangeMethod.”
“We looked internally, and we said we have 400,000 people that wear aprons for us. There's got to be a pool of associates passionate about technology who are passionate about what we do. So let’s start there,” George says. “When we can find a store associate with years of store knowledge, that's very, very powerful for our teams.”
Barbara adds, “If we can build [store associate’s] technology skills they can bring the domain knowledge to the table, and it's a great marriage.”
Cashier turned software engineer Jennifer Oberstadt says, “When the boot camp opened up, I was like, ‘Wow, this is perfect,’ because I want to keep learning and growing. I don't want to ever know exactly what I'm going to do from day to day. I want there to always be a problem to solve.”
Through OrangeMethod, Jennifer and her cohort participated in technology skill development in the classroom, and they used Pluralsight to supplement their coursework and inspire innovative solutions to problems.
“Since OrangeMethod was very fast paced, Pluralsight allowed me to slow down and delve deep into everything and reaffirm what I learned in class that day,” Jennifer says.
OrangeMethod leaders leverage Pluralsight analytics to track progress and see what their new technologists are interested in, so they can incorporate the latest and greatest into upcoming curriculum and, eventually, into customer and associate experiences.
“Pluralsight's been a strategic partner since day one,” says Anthony. “When you look at the content, it aligns perfectly with the technology stacks that Home Depot sees as a competitive advantage for us going into the future.”
The key benefits of Pluralsight for The Home Depot
Developing technology talent for the future
Technology continues to power strategic investments, enabling associates to build better solutions.
Multiple avenues to skilling up
OrangeMethod participants can learn on their own time through Pluralsight video courses, transcripts, or hands-on experiences.
Wide breadth of content
Learners and leaders appreciate the breadth of skills they have access to: from legacy to emerging technologies at levels ranging from beginning to expert.
Analytics inform the future
As new technologists explore the skills they need for innovation, leaders can track their progress and interests and apply insights to future initiatives.
Skilling up improves customer experience
“OrangeMethod and Pluralsight have empowered me, which helps customers. They're trying to get back to their work site or the project they're working on. To not have our technology impeding that process is crucial.”
Jennifer Oberstadt, Cashier turned Software Engineer
Results and next steps
Skilled, innovative, “orange-blooded” associates
With each cohort, OrangeMethod and Pluralsight continue to transform hourly Home Depot associates into salaried technologists.
“To have a job waiting for me at the other end was a little unbelievable,” Jennifer says. “Now I use Pluralsight to work with technologies that my team is interested in. We've started to get interested in Go, and that's something I had no experience with, so I just started looking on Pluralsight.”
George says, “I think the true benefits of Pluralsight are it puts everything together in one platform that's very simple to use. The videos are very high quality, and they're indexed to save time. You can get right to what you're looking for.”
Barbara adds, “With the rich catalog of courses that Pluralsight brings to the table and the vehicle to deliver it when our associates need it and it’s convenient to their schedule, it's just such a tremendous enabler for our folks to keep up.”
And, with the pace of technology change only increasing, having a strategic partner in technology skill development has never been more critical for companies seeking the competitive advantage.
Investing in associates yields tremendous impact
“Our people are the power of The Home Depot, so it's incredibly important that we continue to give them the opportunity to grow. Through that there's productivity gain, there's engagement gain. So tremendous impact, not only for us as a company, but for the individuals as well.”
Anthony Gregorio, Director of Technology Enablement
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