Sofology is one of the UK’s leading sofa retailers, employing over 1,200 colleagues across its 47 locations, and primary HQ in Golborne, Warrington.
Founded in 1974 originally as CSL, the business has enjoyed tremendous growth over the past 20 years, driving the need for a reliable platform to manage and promote colleague benefits, discounts and other company-wide initiatives.
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Employee discounts, employee wellbeing, employee recognition, Cycle to Work, SmartTech™
Sofology 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.
Up until then, their People Team had struggled to find an all-in-one platform to match the size and structure of the company. Its workforce is spread across multiple sites and departments, which had traditionally made it tough to connect and secure buy-in from different demographics with different levels of digital competency. In fact, many colleagues don’t use a computer as part of their day-to-day role, so the platform had to be slick and simple enough for all colleagues to use on their mobile and home devices.
Previous providers had also left Sofology short in terms of ongoing support, campaign ideas and personalisation. As such, the company wasn’t looking for a provider but rather a partner that could tailor an Employee Value Proposition offering to maximise engagement and meet their specific needs as a progressive organisation.
“We were with another supplier for two years before switching to Reward Gateway. The decision actually came following a recommendation from one of our own People Team colleagues at the time – her husband’s company had introduced the platform and she ended up using it just as much as he did! From our first conversation we quickly realised that the platform could make a massive difference in the lives of our people too.”
– Nicola Leyden, Junior People Business Partner, Sofology
Step one was to lay out a bespoke selection of discounts and benefits that would cater to Sofology’s wide-ranging workforce demographic. This included high-street vouchers, discounts, cashback options and insurance savings, all tailored to different age groups and interests.
Sofology was also keen to push Cycle to Work as a key initiative to support physical and mental wellbeing across the business. Their People Team had previously offered this to colleagues, though soon found the application process wasn’t as seamless as they’d hoped. That had put a dent in engagement, something which Reward Gateway worked quickly to resolve.
The platform has come a long way since then. Over the past eight years Sofology has stayed committed to testing new benefits and functionalities, while still keeping its core colleague discounts section fresh and in line with updated branding. Nicola also mentions that Sofology’s recruitment team have taken every opportunity to promote the platform to new recruits as one of their primary incentives beyond pay.
“The SmartSpending app is fantastic too because it makes things incredibly easy for our colleagues when they’re just about to make a purchase. In fact, I’d say the simple user experience has been the biggest factor in engaging colleagues with the platform, and that’s exactly what was missing from our previous benefits offerings.”
Since launching in late 2019, SmartTech™ has proven immensely popular across Sofology’s entire workforce. This net payroll deduction offers colleagues more flexibility when purchasing technology and appliances, so they can plan out an affordable payment schedule that suits them and their financial situation. Alongside the employee discounts programme, the combination of benefits has been instrumental in supporting employee financial wellbeing.
The widespread uptake of SmartTech™ has even helped funnel people towards other initiatives available on the platform, including Sofology’s Wellbeing Centre. Here, colleagues can find useful information, articles, recipes, exercise tips and financial advice, all geared towards promoting health and wellbeing. This has been a valuable tool during the company’s ongoing response to the pandemic, allowing Nicola and her colleagues to promote and share useful content with remote workers, wherever they are.
Sofology currently counts 840 active users on the platform – which works out to 70% of its entire workforce. This figure is made all the more impressive when you consider how many of Sofology’s workforce don’t use a computer as part of their day-to-day role. That means a lot of people are choosing to engage with the Reward Gateway platform in their own spare time.
As of February 2021, Sofology colleagues had spent more than £450k through the platform, and on top of that £144k has been spent through SmartTech™ alone. Overall, employees have saved a total of £30.9k by using the Reward Gateway platform.
Never content to rest on their laurels, Nicola and the People team have already started looking beyond benefits to other areas of the platform designed to boost engagement and social interaction between colleagues. Their eCard function is a prime example, providing colleagues with a quick and easy way to recognise fantastic work, birthdays and special occasions, while also highlighting company values.
“We know colleague expectations are evolving and more opportunities to engage colleagues beyond pay will crop up in future,” says Nicola. “We want to stay at the front of the pack and I know Reward Gateway will help us do that. Every time we’ve wanted to add or change something on the platform, the support team have been incredibly helpful and always find a way to sort it for us. The service is just as good as the product itself!”
active users on the platform
spent through SmartTech™