Listening to your colleagues and making them feel valued can result in longer-lasting loyalty – and you can’t ?put a price on that
Sainsbury’s, one of the biggest names in retail, has decided to sponsor two of the major events this year, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Paralympic Games.
Making sure employees are engaged in these sponsorship decisions is important.
“We know we have to engage with our colleagues as well as our customers, supporting initiatives that are important to them. With so much going on this year we have called 2012 “A year like no other,” says Jacki Connor, director of Colleague Engagement at Sainsbury’s.
“We talk to our colleagues regularly and we know what matters to them. We always consider our colleagues’ ideas – a lot of the impetus for our sponsorship of the Paralympic Games came from them,” says Connor.
“Sainsbury’s was founded in 1869 and has a great British heritage so they understood why we would want to be involved in the Diamond Jubilee celebrations. Our sponsorships will help make our colleagues proud ambassadors for the Sainsbury’s brand.”
Sainsbury’s was the first major corporate partner of the Queen’s Thames Diamond Jubilee River Pageant, and decided to use one of its barges in the flotilla to reward 100 Sainsbury’s colleagues who combine their jobs with caring responsibilities.
“We work closely with Carers UK and so we knew that one in eight of our colleagues are carers, so we decided to do something special to recognise the great job they do,” says Connor.
Diversity Champions nominated colleagues who could also invite a guest of their choice, and most asked if they could bring along the people they cared for.
“As well as recognising our carers, we hope that it would make all our colleagues feel proud to work for a company that offers carers a chance like this.” says Connor.
It certainly worked for Lawrence Pepperrell, who works at the Sainsbury’s store in Wimbledon, London. He also cares for his wife, Suzanne, and took her along on the barge.
He says: “We are so pleased that we feel valued, not just for what we do at work but for what we do outside of work. We’ve had a fantastic weekend and have been proud to be part of these celebrations.”
Colleagues were also an important factor in Sainsbury’s decision to become the main sponsor of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Once the deal was done, all the colleagues who had suggested it were invited to a gathering in London – but not told why.
“Once there, our chief executive Justin King arrived with Locog chair Sebastian Coe. They announced the sponsorship and posed for photographs with all the colleagues who had suggested it,” says Connor.
Twenty-five colleagues have been offered the chance to work on secondment at Locog and Sainsbury’s are funding 135 Games Makers volunteers, paying for their hotels and transport as well as their normal salary. They are also taking 5,000 colleagues to the Games on the same day from all over the country so that everyone has the chance to be involved. “Now our Colleague Panel surveys show that 98 per cent of our colleagues support the sponsorship decision,” says Connor.
“We confidently expect to see great colleague engagement during that period, so the increase in colleague loyalty will last longer – and that is priceless.”