How to connect, recognise and support employees during times of uncertainty: Navigating the coronavirus for HR leaders
The team at Hand Picked Hotels needed a way to engage and unite team members based in hotels around the country to improve communications across the business with one centralised place for team members to access company and people news. To maintain a competitive Employee Value Proposition, their discounts offering also needed a refresh, so they decided to address their multiple objectives with one brand new employee engagement platform.
Number of employees:
Male to female ratio:
Number of Locations:
Employee discounts, company blogs, peer-to-peer recognition
Hand Picked Hotels is a collection of country houses and spa resorts across the UK and Channel Islands. Focussing on the organisation’s EVP was important to the team so they could attract and retain the best talent in hospitality.
The team needed a system that could instantly communicate company news to team members in all locations, rather than relying on information being filtered through slowly. They wanted everyone to be able to access details about all their employee benefits from one place. Hand Picked Hotels had a unique challenge with many of its team members lacking access to a computer, so communicating out any new initiatives was always a little trickier.
With retention being a focus for the business, Hand Picked Hotels also wanted to improve its benefits, starting with a better staff discounts offering. The team decided to move from its current provider to work with Reward Gateway and create an employee engagement platform that would house all of this together, naming the new programme “The Hive.”
The team set the platform’s launch date as 3 December 2018, and decided that the different features on The Hive would be rolled out in stages in order to keep excitement bubbling among team members. This staggered launch also meant that new benefits and features of the platform had the focus and spotlight that was needed for a steady increase in traffic to the platform.
Platform features included employee benefits and discounts, a newsfeed to allow everyone to keep up to date with company news, a social recognition "Wow Wall" that recognises team members for their achievements, and a Wellbeing Centre with hundreds of articles and ideas for team members to improve all aspects of their wellbeing.
The blogging function of The Hive was also of massive importance as various members of Hand Picked Hotels were trained on using this communications tool so they could quickly and easily post updates to the platform. This helped ensure key business updates were heard from a variety of departments, encouraging an inclusive culture and “family feel” to the business. The blogging took off so much that The Hive’s champion, Group HR Support Manager Keely Dobinson, decided to launch a “Move to Improve” blog for wellbeing incentives which was used to boost wellbeing across the hotels whilst encouraging a sense of healthy competition.
So that all team members would notice new blogs, The Hive took special care to launch a newsfeed of incoming content at the company’s annual Employee of the Year awards lunch. The HR teams in each hotel encouraged everyone to log into the Hive so that they could see the new feature. Then, the name of each award winner was posted onto The Hive as soon as they won, so that all staff could see and congratulate them. Plus, employees had access to peer-to-peer recognition tools to further recognise staff with tailored eCards.
While each hotel falls under the Hand Picked Hotels brand, they all have individual identities, too, which was reflected in the launch roll out of the new platform. Some hotels’ teams baked cakes decorated to look like bees, some set daily challenges that encouraged employees to log into The Hive to find answers to questions, and others displayed a noticeboard with information about the Hive and decorated rooms with a bee theme.
At the central support office, the team dressed up as bees and handed out items promoting The Hive, such as bee message bugs, flyers and honeycomb chocolate bars. They also mimicked the baking strategy of others, creating bee-decorated cakes for all to enjoy.
Three months on from the launch, The Hive had 920 active users, with a spend of nearly £40,000, while 427 eCards had been sent.
Six months after the launch of The Hive, employee retention increased by 4% compared to the same period the previous year. There was also a £9,000 reduction in recruitment and advertising costs.
The Hive even made news in the local press in the Channel Islands, with articles about the platform published in the “Jersey Evening Post” and “Bailiwick Express.”
The team produces a monthly report for senior management with key information about the performance of The Hive. The report shows engagement statistics (currently at 75%), active users, newsfeed information and the number of eCards sent. This report is a useful resource for each hotel’s HR managers, as it shows engagement levels in their particular hotel and where they need to focus their efforts.
of staff engage with the engagement platform
reduction in recruitment and advertisement costs