How to connect, recognise and support employees during times of uncertainty: Navigating the coronavirus for HR leaders
To boost employee retention and attraction, global retailer Charles Tyrwhitt looked at different ways to engage its dispersed, multi-generational workforce. To move the needle on employee engagement, the organisation put several initiatives in place, including reward and recognition, wellbeing, improved communications and employee feedback tools.
Number of employees:
Male to female ratio:
Number of Locations:
40+ (Retail stores and head offices)
Employee recognition, employee communications, employee wellbeing, employee benefits
Charles Tyrwhitt is most well-known for its popular shirts, suits and other sartorial elements, all of which make it easy for men to dress well. With 41 stores across the UK, France and the USA, the organisation has a spread out workforce of about 1,100 employees and does over 26 million transactions annually.
But even with a global presence, employee engagement remains an issue for the retailer, who wants to reduce the temptation employees may feel to leave Charles Tyrwhitt for bigger, flashier brands. There are more than 250 positions within the business, with employees spread out in various locations – some on the shop floor, in the distribution centre, head office or in the contact centres.
With the challenging health of UK high street these days and potential implications from Brexit looming, Charles Tyrwhitt has had to be creative and innovative to protect and stretch its already small recognition budget. They had to develop inventive and cost-effective ways to show its staff that they are appreciated and valued. Coupled with a tiny budget, the workforce demographic ranges from 18-years-old to 70, with the average age being 31, yet fairly evenly split in gender.
To branch out on its reward and recognition approach, Charles Tyrwhitt put in place a number of different reward and recognition initiatives that would appeal to its entire workforce, regardless of location, age or job. The organisation also reinvigorated its values to “BEliefs,” otherwise known at Charles Tyrwhitt as the “3BE’s” with a set of BEhaviours underneath each of the BE’s:
The value refresh was a critical piece of Charles Tyrwhitt’s new reward and recognition platform, which the team named “The Celebration Station.” This hooked into the company’s existing communications tools, all a part of the Reward Gateway offerings. The Celebration Station hosts a dozen of tailored eCards that correspond to the three BE’s, and awards for going above and beyond like the “Customer Star of the Month” or the “Store of the Month.”
Thinking outside the reward and recognition box, Charlies Tyrwhitt also delivers a special award from the CEO, called the “Tick from Nick,” which highlights its “Charity Supporter of the Quarter Award” to align with employee feedback on wanting to work for a company that is and does good for the world. Nick reads the mall, one-by-one and delivers the award in person to the recipient, who also receives a ticket to The Prince’s Trust award finals; this is the organisation’s official charity partner.
Alongside recognition, the organisation has stepped up its communication with employees through the hub, too. On Mondays, the organisation releases a new blog talking about something related to that month’s wellbeing topic, for example Mental Health Awareness in May or Cancer Awareness in June.
Charles Tyrwhitt launched the “3BE’s” in September of 2017, and the refresh, coupled with the innovative recognition programmes through Reward Gateway, has been a success.
“It’s really, really helping those leaders and managers who can’t be everywhere at every one time connect with people in other locations. We’ve got employees all around the world and leaders wanting to recognize them, so it’s brilliant to be able to message and recognise them on-the-go, from wherever they are,” says Sarah
The team is measuring their journey with company feedback, including participating in the Best Companies Survey for the third year in a row, with a big focus on open and honest communication.
When it comes to recognition, so far, employees have sent over 2,500 cards, which levels out to about two eCards per employee in just over nine months. To bring its recognition programme to life even more, Sarah has truly pushed the limits to connect employees around the world. To start, each board member has a specialised eCard that only they can send.
As for the communications side of things, the company’s wellbeing initiatives have had over 10,000 stories read since its launch, and counting. This further connects employees to the third of their 3BE’s, ‘BE the best,’ which encourages its people be the best version of themselves in and outside of work. As a result of all these efforts (and a whole lot more), Charles Tyrwhitt has moved up 60 points in Best Companies scores and is now a one-star company.
stories read since
its launch, and counting
point increase in its Best Companies score