For staff to feel the benefit, retailers must capitalise on the awards they win, says Liz Morrelllise on the awards they win, says Liz Morrell

Far from just being an opportunity to collect another trophy that will gather dust in a chief executive’s cabinet, retailers need to ensure their successes in winning awards are shared around the business.

“Celebrating company awards and retail success is a good employee motivation tool, but only if it is used regularly and for all employees within your company, not just at head office but all the way to the shop floor,” says Retail Performance Specialists learning and development director Craig Ramsey.

“From our experience, the best retailers have an internal communications plan in place that considers the company actions before, during and after the awards.”

At John Lewis, the retailer always ensures its staff are aware of how appreciative the business is of their efforts. “We make sure that every time we win an award we say thank you to our partners. We are very active on that front,” says John Lewis director of marketing Craig Inglis.

That can be through a number of channels. “If an award has relevance to our customers then we will communicate that to our stores behind till points, and so on,” says Inglis.

In March, Pets at Home walked away from the Oracle Retail Week Awards with Employer of the Year and Speciality Retailer of the Year in the same week that it was awarded a place in The Sunday Times’s top 100 places to work.

Pets At Home HR director Ryan Cheyne says success is always shared as soon as possible with the rest of the business. “It’s not about a few people having a night out and picking up a trophy,” says Cheyne. “We work hard behind the scenes. If we have picked up an award then the next day we will send an email out to stores and distribution centres to celebrate the win and will also do a feature in our company magazine Talking Pets. When we return with an award we do a bit of a lap of honour around head office where we walk around the departments telling them about it.”

As with John Lewis, if it is a message to be shared with customers then marketing material will be sent out to stores and put on the website.

And it can be its own powerful marketing tool. “We won another employer of the year award once and before I got back to the office next day we had already had the first CV referencing it,” says Cheyne. “It’s really powerful for building reputation both internally and externally.”

However, he sounds a word of warning. “It’s important it is kept in perspective and up to date,” he says. After all, if a retailer is boasting about an award it won some years previous it simply raises the question: why it hasn’t won since?

How to share success

  • Develop communications methods and cascade the message
  • Align senior and area management
  • Engage store managers and supervisors
  • Begin a dialogue, not a monologue, with employees
  • Celebrate success internally
  • Tell your customers, and then tell them again
  • Use the award as a competitive advantage

Source: Retail Performance Specialists