Kettle Foods is an international manufacturer of chips, popcorn and snack foods, best known for brands such as Kettle Chips and Metcalfe’s. Its main headquarters has been based in Norwich for over 30 years, though rapid growth has recently seen the company expand to additional sites across the UK.
Kettle Foods currently employs roughly 430 staff, many of which form part of its substantial offline manufacturing team.
Food and Beverage
Number of employees:
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Employee discounts, employee reward and recognition, employee communications
As one of the largest snack food manufacturers in the UK, Kettle Foods needed a reward and recognition platform that would engage all members of staff across each of its three sites. Previously, its HR team relied on an outdated reward system that catered solely to Kettle’s HQ and facilitated employee reward initiatives on a monthly or quarterly basis.
This made it very difficult to generate any sense of immediacy when recognizing great work, especially for employees that were based 100 miles from the main site. The system also didn’t allow for design customization or any type of peer-to-peer or cross-departmental recognition – all of which was integral to the type of culture the HR team were trying to build internally.
That’s when Kettle decided it was time to invest in a new platform, one that was agile, fit for growth and brought its Employee Value Proposition to life. Led by Engagement & Communications Officer Kelli Copping, the team set about booking demos with a few select providers to see how far their budget could go. After an extensive search process, they decided on Reward Gateway as the ideal option to meet their needs as an organization.
“Along with the sheer ease of use and variety of engaging rewards on offer through the platform, what really impressed me about Reward Gateway was that it had the potential to become a central hub for all our employee communications. Once we’d seen the full scope of what it could do, it actually fulfilled a lot more of our needs than we initially anticipated.”
– Kelli Copping, Engagement & Communications Officer, Kettle Foods
Kettle Foods made it very clear from the start of the project that the platform needed to feel like an extension of its core brand identity, not just a third party app. Reward Gateway quickly got to work by customizing key elements to match the company’s guidelines, also forming a two-pronged attack with Kettle’s Brand Team in the process. This ensured that every banner, icon and eCard looked visually engaging, familiar and fully on-brand.
"It was crucial that every inch of the platform met our visual standards, and that wouldn’t have been possible without Reward Gateway’s ongoing support, especially from our account manager Glenn,” says Kelli.
Dubbed "Kettle Kitchen," the hub now showcases a creative range of employee rewards, discount vouchers, wellbeing initiatives, a live company news feed and links for employees to access their L&D platform. For Kelli and her department, having everything in one place has also cut down a lot of the admin work and time spent dealing with repetitive employee requests.
“Both our staff and HR team used to complain about being bombarded with internal emails,” Kelli adds. “It’s made everyone’s lives so much easier simply by being able to store factory processes, audit documents and company policies on the platform. The vast majority of staff have now bought into using the new system and are finding it really easy to use, even those that are less tech-savvy.”
As well as providing a central hub for important documents, Kettle Kitchen has also become a key communications tool for Kettle Foods. Senior leaders and managers have taken the opportunity to post regular updates, blogs and informational articles, something which has proven crucial in maintaining communication with employees throughout the course of 2020.
Reward Gateway worked closely with Kelli and her team to create a reward system based on three clear levels: peer-to-peer, perk cards and monetary rewards.
“The peer-to-peer system has been fantastic,” explains Kelli. “To be able to see Joe Bloggs in the factory thanking Josephine Bloggs in technical for the great support she provided last week is a huge plus for our day-to-day culture and personal recognition among staff. We’ve then got our perk cards, which line managers now use to recognize excellent work by sending staff a free cup of tea, an extra break on shift or even a VIP parking spot right by our front door!”
Beyond that, Kettle Foods also wanted to establish a monetary reward system that could be managed solely by their Executive Team. Reward Gateway tailored the system accordingly, granting specific permissions for senior managers to be able to log into the platform, pick a card, write a personalized message and send an employee $30 or $40 for a job well done.
The company now also uses this level of functionality to reward first-aiders and send out Christmas gift cards to their entire workforce before the holidays. The system itself has freed up a lot of admin time for Kelli’s department and finally allows them to rest easy knowing that employees are no longer losing physical vouchers.
Kettle Kitchen has proven to be a clear success for Kelli and her team. In just over a year since launching, 93% of staff have registered as active users on the platform. This stat is even more impressive when you consider that the majority of employees don’t use a computer as part of their job role.
Over 300 eCards have been sent using the three-level reward system, many of which are instances of peer-to-peer recognition across different departments. Employees have also saved a total of $16,500 through discounts on household items and everyday purchases.
Not only that, the sheer amount of time Kelli and her team have saved on repetitive admin tasks and employee requests has led their department to become more efficient than ever before, with Kelli adding that it has "transformed the way we operate as a team."
“It’s also been a great way to engage new starters and get them up to speed with our reward system and wider Employee Value Proposition as quickly as possible," she says. "In fact, it’s nothing new for many of them because this level of digital service is what people expect nowadays.”
Kelli is also quick to point out that the platform has proven essential throughout Kettle Foods’s response to the pandemic:
“We definitely hadn’t appreciated how important it was going to be to have this all-in-one hub to keep all our staff updated on key changes, measures and company news. There’s no doubt it has accelerated our intent to go completely paperless as a department, and Kettle Kitchen has turned out to be the perfect solution to doing just that.
For me, it’s also great to see the hub become an everyday topic of conversation throughout the entire organization, to the point where other departments now want their own dedicated section on there. We finally have the living, breathing platform we were looking for. Looking ahead over the next 12 months, I think it will continue to evolve to fit the shape of our business even more than it is already.”
employee uptake on centralized engagement platform
employees have sent and/or received rewards or recognition