Thinking engagement, talking success

It may be a stretch to say we live and breathe engagement, but we certainly give it a lot of thought. Perhaps that’s why we have such a differentiated offering, and possibly it explains why engagement for us goes way beyond simple employee experience. Here some of the exec team share their thoughts and perspectives on the story so far…and the story to come.

Phil Wedgwood

“For me, employee engagement is just the start. Engagement is something that should link not just colleagues, but the supply chain, customers and communities of interest drawn from the whole trading ecosystem. We defined our five pillars so that they could pivot effortlessly around each of these engagement challenges, giving projects the same strong guiding framework.

Get colleagues engaged and primed to do their best; get suppliers connected and enabled to deliver their best; ensure an optimal initial experience for customers and then move to keep them close and committed too, going beyond simple transactional functions like loyalty points and looking to connect at a much deeper, personal level. There is so much scope here to take engagement way, way beyond its HR origins - and to reshape some of our fundamental business practices for the good of everyone.

Whether it’s facilitating groups with a common interest and bringing individuals together, or curating personal showrooms or catalogues, or letting people do things for themselves that they - annoyingly - can’t do yet because there aren’t the tools, or extending the scope of CSR activities to the wider community, indeed anything that helps strengthen and develop that customer relationship, this needs to be the ultimate end game of engagement - a more loyal, bonded customer base, that is in turn consistently well served by an efficient, productive and motivated organisation.”

Phil Ashworth

“What struck me in the beginning was how many people had failed engagement projects behind them. It naturally made them nervous about trying again until we explained that what we had done was look at the tech behind the failures...and then come up with something completely the opposite. The landscape was basically littered with single use apps or point solutions...stuff that addressed 5 or 10% of the whole engagement problem, which needed to be knitted together to have a hope of making a difference, but that just got bogged down in a mire of complexity. No single interface, lots of key systems still orphaned and not part of the engagement ‘spec’, and no real framework to help deliver it on the ground either.

So the answer? A platform approach, with plenty out of the box to get you started but also the ability to build as you go - so it’s manageable, with early wins. We’re talking one app with one window and one sign-on through to everything - so dead easy to use and all critical systems integrated and readily accessible. And with the five pillars helping shape both thinking and tooling, you’ve got a really practical guide to securing meaningful engagement on the ground, out of the gate. This has never been about designing another engagement solution - but all about developing technology that can deliver actual engagement success.” ;

John Porter
Co-founder and commercial director

“Prospects invariably ask what makes us different from other providers out there and for me it’s the fact that we came at things from the right angle - we don’t start by throwing lots of cool tech at the problem but ask companies to sit with us and basically audit themselves against our five pillars. In a very thorough discovery exercise we ask the executive team to honestly talk about their challenges in an HR and operational context; we then come back and identify all the means available to remediate those problems, putting a financial value on many of the benefits and thereby building a solid business case for engagement: ultimately it’s about demonstrating that HR inputs can translate into very significant business outputs. Our process is robust, and our sector knowledge means that we know how to map inputs to outputs for maximum effect. Only then do we start talking about rolling out the tech.

We also have a distinct take on securing success in the field. We reckon that if companies do 80% of the fundamentals well, that will take them to new heights of engagement - just focus on those basics initially, in whatever priority order you need, and you’ll be setting yourselves up for success. Those fundamentals equate to our five pillars of engagement, which give people clarity of purpose and a sense they can do this - whilst also inspiring the tools and functionality to make it all possible. Put all of that into a platform that can be extended at your own pace, with the on-going consultancy support of a dedicated engagement success team, and you can perhaps see why we’re very different from the ‘download the app and away you go’ suppliers.”

Rod Bulmer
Non-exec director

“The internet and social media has given us a ‘now’ world, an ‘on demand’ environment and lightning quick news making and mood changing. For companies looking to control the narrative, well, that genie is out of the bottle really – hard to control what is not visible to you and that private WhatsApp group or closed Facebook community that are dissecting your corporate failings will go on unseen and unchallenged. The one recourse is to focus on what you can control, which is the experience that gives rise to the narrative. Engagement programmes are central to that effort, and given their scope and complexity, you need the right tech and the right thinking to underpin them.

If I had my time over with today’s technology I would be asking colleagues much more frequently to give their views on products, mood, service, competition, to encourage far more open communication between peers and between exec teams and managers, managers and colleagues. Think minutes, hours and days not months and years. It is very simple to ask people to give an immediate view through their smartphone. But the real challenge is being able to respond and react to what they say quickly - listen and act; listen and act; listen and act; listen and act. Make for a better experience, and the positive narrative will follow.”