U.S. Markets open in 46 mins.

CHOICE Australia makes a choice to be 'A best employer'​.

Naomi Simson

Originally published by Naomi Simson on LinkedIn: CHOICE Australia makes a choice to be 'A best employer'​.

CHOICE has been advising consumers since last century about the efficacy of the broadest range of products. As a child, my father would receive his monthly subscription to the magazine – each month opening it with glee and reading (often out loud) to us the reviews on household products. I always wondered who was it that got to test the toasters, vacuum cleaners and blenders…

Clearly, it takes a dedicated team, passionate about transparency to build the reports. The team at choice is completely representative of its brand.

“A recognition platform was one of the key elements to our employee offering,” said Jessica Hill, Head of People & Culture. ‘CHOICE Likes’ was launched in January 2014 on the Redii.com platform.

“Prior to the launch, we identified that our staff didn’t believe our organisational values were a current reflection. The values at the time of Can Do, Mutual Respect, Inquisitive, Simplicity and Clarity, Open & Honest could be applied to most organisations.”

“We set out through the partnership with the team at Redii.com (previously RedBalloon) to shape our organisational values via a thorough consultation with our team. Redii supported us with the creation of a survey to gather stories, facilitated a workshop that two-thirds of staff attended and in August 2013 we had a new set of values. Truth, Help and Impact.”

“These values were deliberately designed to be internally and externally facing, so there was clear continuity between the type of culture we were trying to create internally and what consumers experienced when they met CHOICE.”

“Now three years on, we have embedded our values along with our employee journey. The Redii platform is crucial to helping us socialise the new values and shaping our organisational culture.”

“The business goals we were trying to address at the time were largely linked to feedback from our annual employee engagement survey. Recognition was an area CHOICE had low scores in over several years. We knew we had to do something about it – strategically.”

“In 2010, we had 30% of staff that agreed they received appropriate recognition (beyond pay) for their contributions and accomplishments. In 2016 this had lifted to 60% of staff agreeing. This has had a material impact on the business and culture.”

“Our program is linked to our values of Truth, Help and Impact and each time staff are recognised this is linked to one or more values. In addition to the peer to peer and manager awards, we have a CEO award which also reinforces our values.”

“Our CEO Alan Kirkland said

‘The ultimate form of success for us is when consumers are getting a good deal. To achieve that, we need to have a brand that resonates with consumers, to inspire them to support our campaigns, encourage some to become CHOICE members, and motivate them to tell their friends and family about CHOICE. We obviously can’t do this without engaged and motivated staff. These factors are all reflected in our key metrics.’

“Our current organisational results are strong. The strongest membership levels in 5 years, strong employee engagement score, increased retention of staff, strong NPS, passionate and driven culture. Our turnover was 16% at 2014 FY end, today it’s around 8% and that has a bottom line impact.”

“It is great to see how CHOICE has continually and consistently implemented the CHOICE Likes program. The main measurement used is the engagement score and the fortnightly ‘pulsing’ questions which they have linked to reward and recognition. They then measure a variant of this through the fortnightly pulsing tool. CHOICE asks a trending happiness questions e.g. On a scale of 1 to 10 how happy are you at work? We also pulse relevant questions such as:

“How likely would you be to refer someone to work here?”

“How likely would you be to recommend our organisation’s products and services to a friend or colleague?”

“While introducing the employee recognition program was just one of many things we have done to improve employee engagement, it has played an important role. Employee engagement improved in 2015 and 2016, with our next results due in mid-2017. Engagement is a journey… that needs to be continually focused on.

“Our key metrics reflect the range of ways in which we aim to advance our purpose. They include:

  • The number of people who support our campaigns
  • The number of new tools & services we launch to help consumers
  • Revenue
  • The number of people who engage with our digital tools and services
  • Net Promoter Score
  • Staff engagement
  • Carbon emissions”

Great recognition programs align teams to the sense of purpose, as a not-for-profit, customer outcomes are the primary focus. The program is continually reviewed and is ‘living’ as an integral part of the plan. Culture is an evolution, not a revolution but a consistent approach over time delivers the best results, no matter if you are in a not-for-profit, government or a commercial enterprise. 

At any time you can start an employee recognition and reward program and achieve a great culture, low attrition and high engagement. Get started here.

Naomi Simson is the founding director of Australian online tech success story RedBalloon and Redii. She has written more than 1000 blog posts at NaomiSimson.com, is a professional speaker, author of Live What You Love & Ready To Soar, and is one of five “Sharks” on TEN’s business reality show Shark Tank.