How does a brand with 1500 locations across 27 countries – and a constantly changing range of 550 products – manage to communicate immediately, clearly, completely and in a fun way to empower its 8000 employees around the world? Alison Boothby reports.
Rituals uses the Speakap platform to empower its entire workforce to do everything from celebrating personal moments and professional achievements, to swapping best practices or grooming tips between stores. Penny Grivea, MD UK & Ireland, was on stage with us at Smilelondon last week talking about how it helps her business. Here’s her story.
The internal communications app was already in use around the world, with the Netherlands head office right behind it from the start. The brand has grown quickly and continues to do so, which means that it’s an ongoing challenge keeping everyone up to date with the latest news and insight. “We need people who are passionate about our customers and passionate about our brand, and that demands everyone knowing about the products and feeling engaged with the business. Having a way of communicating speedily and consistently with all our staff is vital.” Penny told us.
The app was only launched in the UK & Ireland business in May this year and already it’s making a difference. Penny herself, as a total advocate, is very active on the platform. From a weekly inspirational quote, to discussing results and new store openings, sharing customer stories and giving recognition to staff, sharing the latest insights and learnings as well as being their product portal, Penny says: “The app does everything we need it to do – there is no need for anything else!”
Secrets of success
“The app mirrors enterprise grade quality software and is designed to look and feel like the products people use every day in their personal lives,” says Guy Chiswick, MD for Speakap in the UK, and who shared the stage with Penny at the event last week. It is a branded app that works with your organisation’s hierarchy, so personalisation and relevance of what information your staff see is spot on. It’s super easy for administrators, intuitive for senders to target their messages and relevant for receivers. With 30 developers solely dedicated to keeping the app at the very cutting edge, all customers benefit from its evergreen approach with new releases every few weeks and never long to wait for the next ‘don’t know how lived without that’ features. It seems there’s not much not to love about this employee app which powers the comms in global brands like Ikea, McDonalds and Nike, among others.
For many companies with a remote and dispersed workforce, reliant on using their own smartphones, the first hurdle to overcome is getting them to want to download the app in the first place and start using it. At Rituals, they have overcome this simply by inviting new joiners to the app on acceptance of a job offer and before they actually start work in store. Using it as part of their on-boarding process has been really successful and Penny sees a correlation already between use of the app and staff retention. “To win in the marketplace, you need to win in the workplace first.” she said, continuing: “We have noted a 25% improvement in on-boarding speed, less duplication of effort and as much as a 30% increase in productivity along with reduced absenteeism and a 4% improvement in retention. At the end of the day, people in stores feel better engaged with the business, more empowered and are sticking around in what is generally regarded as a tricky sector.”
It took about two months to get the app up and running in the UK business, but Penny would have liked it to happen even more quickly than that. You get the idea that the grass does not grow under this lady’s feet! And her secret to keeping up the pace? “Keep showing the business benefits to win people over. I look at our KPIs around employee engagement, customer satisfaction and cash flow. It’s quite simple: if our people are happy, they give great customer service and satisfied customers equal sales.”
Rituals has seen 25% growth in like for like UK sales and 60% growth in the business as a whole. Be as cynical as you like, but cracking internal comms and employee engagement most certainly plays its part in this success.
For more detail about how Rituals are using Speakap you can see her interview with Jenni Field at smilelondon here.