How to connect, recognise and support employees during times of uncertainty: Navigating the coronavirus for HR leaders
Oliver Bonas has gone from selling clothes designed by others to creating their own ranges and becoming a retail-staple on the high street. Today, they have 62 stores across the UK and 780 employees who work to their company values of “Work Hard,” “Play Hard” and “Be Kind.”
Number of employees:
Male to female ratio:
Number of locations
Employee discounts, employee recognition
Back in 2015, Oliver Bonas conducted an employee engagement survey to review their entire benefits offering with the findings indicating that what they offered was, in fact, fair and competitive. However, it highlighted their main challenge – internally communicating an online offering to their 70% offline workforce who work in-store and in warehouses. Something many in the Retail industry struggle with.
Team members in these areas don’t have a work email address and they don’t have access to their own computer during working hours. Those working part-time are only in the business for a few days a week, too. This leads to them missing company updates from not always seeing their manager or being too busy serving customers during peak trading periods to check for themselves.
With this in mind, Oliver Bonas identified four key objectives:
Oliver Bonas quickly saw value in partnering with Reward Gateway to use an employee engagement platform which houses their existing benefits alongside the addition of unbeatable employee discounts.
The platform has been completely customised to the Oliver Bonas brand and culture, and can be accessed on any device. Ideal for the offline demographic. With the platform in place, the Oliver Bonas team gathered support from management teams and encouraged them to be the front line promoters of the new offering. This included highlighting the enhancements of the new offering and instructions on how their teams can get registered.
To kick off their creative communications and add to their overall communications strategy, the team built momentum pre-launch with a series of custom designed posters and emails – creating curiosity and excitement across the company. When the curiosity reached its peak, each store received specially-designed launch boxes. In the custom-designed boxes were party food, personalised letters, posters and an interactive “flapper” leaflet which displayed different images and messages when folded in different ways.
Each box brought a wave of joy to each store and set a tone of celebration. In the midst of this excitement, managers conveyed key information about the new offering, and the launch assets prompted employees to register and use the new offering while on their lunch breaks or while at home.
To maintain a buzz post-launch, clever competitions showcasing cartoons of the Oliver Bonas’ business owners, hidden on the new hub, prompted team members to write a paragraph about what they value the most about the new offering. Those who took part could win exclusive prizes from the company’s partners. Oliver Bonas has also been able to keep the offering engaging and current by being able to instantly update content and continually refresh the design and imagery used.
Oliver Bonas saw an instant impact on how team members viewed their benefits and, importantly, how the benefits made them feel. A steady increase in platform registrations and anecdotal feedback added to the overall impact. This was proven with the usage results and also from the incredible feedback which employees anecdotally passed on throughout the competition.
With Oliver Bonas’ offering keeping everything in one, easy to access place and their new approach to communication, they saw:
Benefits are now even more critical to the Oliver Bonas brand, with thorough discussions on the new offering during the interview and onboarding stage, a new benefits page on the recruitment portion of the Oliver Bonas website, and even one-to-one training on how to use the platform with new starters.
increase in understanding and engaging with benefits offering
team members now active users on engagement platform