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Welcome to our new series, 'Behind the Scenes,' where we'll sneak behind the curtain of how leading employers are attracting, engaging and retaining their talent. First up is Nationwide...

Nationwide is the world's largest building society and one of the most popular mortgage providers in the UK, employing over 18,000 people with 700 branches. Despite an excellent reputation as an employer, the company decided it was time to revamp its employee recognition strategy and make a truly personalised experience by consolidating separate systems and processes into a single platform.

Having launched the new system, ‘Appreciate,’ in February 2021, we caught up with Claire Clarke, Reward & Recognition Specialist at Nationwide, to look back at the initial stages of their journey and the key factors that made partnering with Reward Gateway a natural choice.

Nationwide 'Appreciate' Hub mockup

RG: What were the main challenges you were looking to solve at Nationwide before partnering with Reward Gateway and launching the Appreciate platform?

Claire: Showing appreciation for others and receiving recognition ourselves is part of what makes the culture at Nationwide so special. We have a large workforce spread across our branch network, as well as a significant proportion of colleagues that work remotely. 

Whilst our previous recognition programme was fairly robust and had a good long-term service proposition, it didn’t feel that dynamic or flexible, and we didn’t have the ability to personalise things at an individual level. 

We also realised that the engagement with recognition was really different depending on where in the Society you worked, meaning that there was a really inconsistent experience for our employee base.

Were there any other inefficiencies with your previous reward systems?

Although the previous employee reward system worked for us for some time, the direction Nationwide was moving in meant that we needed something different for our colleagues. For instance, our 'work anywhere' commitment that we made in March 2021 will see us take a more flexible and hybrid approach to how and where we work in future. Because of this, we chose a system that our people could engage with easily and conveniently, whether that’s in a branch, at home or on the go.

It was also important for us to build a better picture of recognition activity across the Society and that’s exactly what the Reward Gateway platform has enabled us to do, giving us a much better insight into the return on our investment and the real value of the system.

Nationwide eCards

What was different about Reward Gateway’s approach that made you choose them as the right provider?

When weighing up potential digital partners we found Reward Gateway’s approach really refreshing and completely tailored to our needs. We laid out our vision for the new platform as a set of four key principles:

  • We will offer personalised experiences
  • We will offer a consistent experience, no matter where you work
  • We will make recognition visible across the company
  • We will make recognition simple and easy to use

Our initial consultants from Reward Gateway, Joe Benton and Dom Taylor, actually took these key points and walked us through how each of them would be fulfilled as part of a demo of the software. This made it incredibly easy to see how the platform could work for us and we were then able to share the following information with internal stakeholders:

  • Personalised experiences through use of the recognition profiles
  • Consistent approach through a standard suite of eCards and anytime award values
  • Visibility of recognition through the social recognition wall and integrations with our day-to-day work tools like Yammer
  • Engagement stats of other clients highlighted that the platform was easy to use with SSO set up available and a supporting app

It looks like you’ve already had great success with the platform in the six months since launch. How did Reward Gateway help ensure you got that initial buy-in?

We worked closely with the Reward Gateway support team to run webinars for all Nationwide employees, letting them know how to make the most out of the platform. That also included a demo, full presentation and many GIFs to hook them in.

Our comms team even created a poem to introduce Appreciate into the business and we sent an eCard to all members to welcome them to the platform on launch day!

Overall, the implementation was incredibly smooth and, going forwards, it’s such a huge benefit to be able to manage everything in one place. We’re already using the platform to benchmark employee engagement and recognition and we plan to check in every six months to see how much progress we’ve been making. 

Nationwide's new platform easily surpassed its previous provider with daily eCards sent by 300% in the first three days of launch (compared to their previous daily figure) and continues to drive engagement with 85% active users. The organisation is close to hitting its 100k mark with eCards and half a million spend on reward. As of November 2021, the team also brought home an Engagement Excellence Award for Best Launch / Relaunch of Reward and Recognition - Congratulations, team! Take a peek at their video, below, as to why they won: 

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. 

Daniel Jones

Daniel Jones is a frequent contributor to Reward Gateway's thought leadership library. When he's not scribbling down thoughts about modern life and work, you'll probably find him watching old Westerns or trying to persuade people to go to karaoke.


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