The perfect poké bowl and beyond: How gamified training is upskilling Island Poké’s ohana

If you need a delicious, nutritious grab ‘n’ go meal, you need to visit Island Poké.

52% of playthroughs happens on the employees free time in the evening
100% of users say they prefer this way of training compared to other methods
85% knowledge gap closure

How gamified training is upskilling Island Poké’s ohana

Bringing the traditional Hawaiian dish to Europe, Island Poké has been trailblazing the grab ‘n’ go market since their first bricks and mortar ‘island’ opened in 2016.

Through fresh, quality Pacific ingredients, like Ahi tuna, and lomi lomi salmon, Island Poké hopes to tickle the taste buds of poké fans worldwide.

As part of their rapid expansion, Island Poké decided it was time to take a different, modern approach to train their ohana (family). And when their COO, Richard Zivkovic, saw a video of LEON’s Attensi solution, he knew where he needed to go.

As well as Richard, we met Junior People Partner Marnie Hanson, and General Manager Angela Meza-Mayhew to find out more about their experience with gamified training.


The 101: What a new Island Poké ohana member needs to know

Richard and Marnie highlighted the main challenges for any new starter at Island Poké.

  • Practical knowledge: Building a bowl, portioning, ingredients, tills and points of sale
  • Customer service: Understanding the Island Poké interactive customer experience and how to give that consistency to customers

Consistency is a pillar of what makes Island Poké a success. Increasingly, Richard noticed that there were discrepancies between managers and islands. Managers were rightly encouraged to be themselves, but that meant that in some instances, consistency of training was suffering.


What Island Poké training looked like before Attensi

Below their London Victoria Island lay the Pok-ademy. On this mock island, new starters would go and learn the ropes. An employee’s first day would be classroom-based training, mixed with masterclasses and practical demonstrations.

But as Marnie explains, keeping a new starter engaged for a full day with a high volume of information is difficult. Knowledge retention following the day was also proving to be a challenge. Richard, Marnie and the rest of the team noticed that one day of intense information wasn’t always remembered – especially when someone may have been nervous or overwhelmed during their first day on the job.

Following the training, Richard comments that understanding where people were at in terms of progress was highly manual. This had a direct impact on the consistency and needed to change.


First impressions of Attensi: A slice of the future

For Richard, someone who has always had innovation at the forefront of his career, this modern training is ‘of today’ and extremely appealing.

Building on this, Marnie adds that because it’s so easy to revise and add new training modules means the learning content will always be accurate, current, and relevant. For a business with future growth and international expansion plans on the horizon, this has been a critical feature from Attensi.

Highly engaging

All three commented on the highly engaging content that Attensi has brought to Island Poké.

“The gamification mechanics really appealed to me,” says Richard. Feedback from the team across their islands has been that they particularly like the friendly competition gamified simulation training encourages.

“And we still have so much to explore. It’s very exciting.”

Marnie Hanson

Junior People Partner | Island Poké

Marnie explains that they usually allow up to two weeks for a new starter to complete their training. However, since they’ve implemented their Attensi solution, they’ve seen an increased number of team members completing their training in a matter of days because they’re so engaged with the content.


For Marnie and the rest of the team creating learning content, CREATOR has been an eye-opener.

“It’s very straight-forward but very in-depth. Just a few clicks and you’re done!”

Marnie Hanson

Junior People Partner | Island Poké

The active approach vs. the passive approach

Richard, Marnie and Angela talk a lot about the interactive customer experience that Island Poké is proud to offer their visitors. As well as the practical knowledge of building a bowl and the ingredients that go into it, their ohana needs to have knowledge that goes ‘beyond the bowl’.

Taking an active approach to learning has so far worked well for the team members at Island Poké.

Completing their Attensi training in conjunction with their practical work on-site is encouraging repetition and therefore aiding knowledge retention. New team members can gain the confidence they need to provide the consistent, excellent customer service Island Poké has become known for.

Marnie adds that it’s a fantastic feature that players can always access their materials if they need to refer to anything at a later date. This allows the individual to take ownership of their own learning and feel they’ve truly mastered the material and customer skills.


A lifeline during Covid

Island Poké was just one of the millions of hospitality venues that had to adapt to the global pandemic. Fortunately, Richard and the team had been in conversation with Attensi about their new training solution just in time.

Described as a ‘great and accessible training resource’, staff members were still able to engage with their training and their colleagues during isolations and lockdowns. The result? They were ready to get stuck in when the time came to open the doors once more.

Feedback: The ohana have a taste for gamified training

Responses to Island Poké’s new training solution has been extremely positive. Amongst the feedback from the ohana, comments included:

  • “I like that the solution is so flexible and players can complete it on their preferred device at a convenient time for them.”
  • “Allows for organization-wide challenges and specific island team challenges. There’s so much detail – it’s amazing!”
  • “A great welcome for new starters.”
  • “It’s so easy to amend the materials.”
  • “Love the leaderboards.”


Building more bowls together: An exciting future partnership between Island Poké and Attensi

With plans for further growth ahead, Richard and Marnie both observe that there’s still so much to learn about the capabilities of their Attensi platform.

As the business evolves and continues its path away from the pandemic, we can’t wait to be right there with them as they expand their islands and their ohana.

If it’s time to modernize your retail training, you can speak to our expert team now. We’ll be happy to help.

Are you ready to level up your training?

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