Sainsbury’s made the decision to sponsor the London 2012 Paralympic Games two years before the event even began.
It was a bold move, one prompted by staff. And it has worked wonders, driving the firm’s employee engagement figures to record heights.
In an interview with the Engage for Success website, Jacki Connor, Retail and Logistics HR Director Sainsbury’s, revealed the supermarket giant become involved after requests from staff via its internal colleague suggestion system, called Tell Justin.
She told the Engage for Success Radio Show: “Some of our colleagues started making those suggestions to us, saying we should be involved in the Paralympics, that it was something that our brand could sit quite comfortably with.
“So when we made the decision that we were going to sponsor the Paralympics, we told those colleagues first.”
Sainsbury’s sent every member of staff a postcard, inviting them to join a conference call announcing the sponsorship deal and getting colleagues engaged with the plan at the earliest opportunity.
Jacki, a member of the Engage for Success Task Force – the employee engagement think-tank, said: “That’s one of our rules. Whether it is good or bad news, they (Sainsbury’s colleagues) always hear it from us first.
“It was actually the first time, from an internal communications point of view that we’d had to mount a campaign – if you like.
“Most of the other pieces of engagement that we do are engaging in a specific activity, whether it is Christmas, or Easter, or Comic Relief, the maximum amount of time we have to do a bit of communication and maintain that momentum is sort of two or two and a half months.
“So to engage in a campaign over two and a half years, we then had to think quite differently about the internal communication plan we’d put together.”
Feedback has revealed the campaign – and, indeed, the decision to sponsor the Paralympic Games overall – has been a great success, providing a real boost to Sainsbury’s colleague engagement levels.
Jacki added: “We have an engagement survey that… we run that on a quarterly basis. We check it every quarter to see how we’re going, to check the level of engagement.
“Since we announced our sponsorship, we’ve been on an upward trend and in fact… we saw the highest level of results we’ve ever achieved in terms of colleague engagement.”
Listen to the full interview with Jacki on the Engage for Success website here…