Sofology is one of the UK’s leading sofa retailers, employing over 1,000 colleagues across its over 50 stores and main support office in Golborne, Warrington. The company first reached out to Reward Gateway back in 2013 with a mission to deliver a colleague benefits platform that’s easy to access, simple to scale and engaging for everyone to use.
We caught up with Nicola Leyden, Junior People Business Partner at Sofology, to discuss the initial stages of her team’s journey and why they decided to partner with Reward Gateway over other providers.
RG: What was your selection process like when looking for a new reward platform, and what made Reward Gateway stand out?
Nicola: So originally we had been with another supplier for about two years and, to be honest, the offering wasn't as good, the platform was clunky and we got very little engagement through it. We also didn’t get a lot of help from their support team, and that prompted us to start looking for alternatives.
I remember when we were shopping around, one of our previous advisors mentioned that her husband used Reward Gateway at his place of work and that she always used to borrow his login details for employee discounts because it was so simple and easy to use. She was a great brand advocate for you guys, actually! From there, all the providers went into the pot and we met with each of them to talk through our specific needs. The presentation from Reward Gateway stood out because it matched exactly what we wanted and made us think more broadly about what we were trying to achieve.
How important was it to have a platform ‘showcase’ presented to your colleagues, especially those in your warehouse teams?
It was so important! The showcase gave our colleagues the opportunity to see the platform for themselves, understand what it was about and buy into its benefits straightaway. It built a lot of excitement in the early stages around launch. Our account manager at the time was able to really sell it and share all the amazing things that were now available to us.
It was also crucial that our logistics and warehouse teams had full visibility of this because many of them didn’t spend much time at one location, or with a computer. We wanted to make sure we were engaging them just as much as colleagues in our stores and support teams. Having the chance to demonstrate what the platform could do – and specifically where they could save money – definitely increased their level of engagement. In fact, that engagement only got stronger and stronger as we continued to add further benefits like Cycle to Work and SmartTech™. It was so successful that we even won the award at that year’s Engagement Excellence Awards!
Once we launched Reward Gateway, the support team also organised a roadshow, which meant our colleagues could quiz them about how best to use the platform and certain functions such as top-up cards. Over the years we’ve continued to share new benefits with our colleagues and Reward Gateway has always supported us with this, whether that’s speaking to our colleagues directly or providing us with marketing materials. It has all helped increase the number of people engaging with what we offer.
How does the platform help contribute to your wider engagement strategy?
We absolutely use the platform to measure engagement. It's been really important for us to understand how our colleagues are using the platform and which benefits they are using the most. This allows us to spot where we might need to make some changes or flex the benefits so our colleagues can make the most of what’s available.
Like so many businesses, we’ve also seen firsthand how our colleagues’ wellbeing can be affected over the past 18 months.
If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we need to look out for each other and support our people as much as we can. Reward Gateway has helped us with many aspects of our colleagues’ wellbeing in that respect – financially, physically and socially.
We've definitely come a long way since we first launched in 2013, and have taken every opportunity to boost our offering in line with the evolution of what Reward Gateway can deliver. That’s been great because it feels like we’re never standing still or stagnating. We can keep things fresh and engage our people in different ways through the platform, and that’s why it’s been a core part of our internal brand for so many years now.
The benefits are plenty with this platform and I know it will be a key part of our plans as we continue to develop our approach to colleague reward and engagement in the future.
Curious how Reward Gateway can help you exceed your business goals? Get in touch with our team to learn more about how to gain a competitive edge in today's market.