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Meijer Identifies Positive Correlation Between Recognition and Key Business Metrics


Business Challenge

Meijer, a family-owned superstore based out of the U.S. Midwest, has been bringing families great food, great brands, great savings, and great big smiles since 1934. The company offers a complete one-stop shopping experience, from Grocery and Health & Beauty Care to over 40 other departments including Fashion, Automotive, Home Decor, Pharmacy, Electronics, Pets and more. When it comes to engaging their workforce of 70,000 team members, Meijer created an engagement strategy that focused on three goals:

  1. Retaining top talent
  2. Fostering connections among team members
  3. Keeping their customers happy

How does Meijer achieve these goals? The answer is employee recognition. It’s well known that recognition can help decrease turnover, improve employee engagement, and increase customer satisfaction. Prior to Achievers, Meijer did not have a formal recognition program in place and the company was looking for new ways to recognize and reward team members for their daily contributions. This kicked off Meijer’s search for a robust recognition solution that would engage their entire workforce and help the company achieve their core business goals.

“Team members want to be involved, needed, and recognized.”

Fred Meijer, Former Chairman, Meijer

Achievers Employee Success Platform

After evaluating various vendors for the right recognition platform, Meijer decided to launch their mteam recognition program with Achievers. The “team” in “mteam” stands for “Together Everyone Achieves More.” Meijer rolled out mteam to 70,000 team members across six states in the U.S. (Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois, Wisconsin) and global sourcing offices in Hong Kong and Bangladesh.

The mteam program offers both points-based and social recognition, and every recognition is tied to one of Meijer’s strategic goals: Customer Focus, Win With Our Team, Passion to Compete, Safety and Health. Team members are able to redeem their points for a variety of rewards, including gift cards for Meijer’s branded merchandise store. With mteam in place, Meijer team members are easily able to recognize colleagues from their desk or on the go with their mobile device.

“With a majority of our population in the stores and offline, without access to a computer, (mobile recognition) has…really helped to drive a culture of recognition at our company.”

Taylor Dehnke, Human Resources Generalist, Meijer

Meijer’s recognition program offers more than just an easy user experience. To celebrate major accomplishments in the workplace, Meijer recognizes team members with achievements on mteam. With Achievers’ integrations, the company is able to simplify the way they manage their internal programs:

  • Fresh Ideas: Achievement with points for submitting innovative and cost-saving ideas in the company’s Fresh Ideas program.
  • Be Healthy at Meijer: Achievement with points for completing challenges in the company’s wellness program.
  • Meijer Impact: Achievement for completing social responsibility campaigns in the company’s volunteering program.
  • Safety Awards: Achievement with points for leading safety committees and initiatives for the company.

Meijer also hands out two legacy awards every Fall to team members who embody the company’s core principles on a daily basis. Any team member can nominate a colleague who meets the award criteria using a nomination form on mteam. Meijer’s two legacy awards include:

  • The Fred Meijer Award: An award presented to team members who demonstrate the company’s values of humility, generosity, and passion for serving others.
  • The President’s Award: An award presented to team members who positively drive the success of the company in alignment with their winning strategy.

When it comes to work anniversaries at Meijer, it’s important to make team members feel special. On the day of a team member’s work anniversary, the individual receives a digital celebration card signed by their teammates, is awarded additional points on mteam, and given a custom certificate for their milestone. Meijer’s mteam recognition program delivers on all fronts, providing everything from peer-to-peer recognition, awards, real-time data and insights, and much more.

Business Impact

Since launching mteam, Meijer has seen huge success. For starters, mteam has an 82% activation rate (percentage of people who have logged on to mteam) and 64% of team members access the site every month. Leaders at Meijer, in particular, are invested in building a culture of recognition with 93% of people leaders active on the platform monthly.

There is no shortage of recognition when it comes to working at Meijer. Within just three years of launching mteam, Meijer celebrated 10 million recognition moments and became “Great Places to Work” certified for the first time. Atop of these major milestones, individual users on mteam are receiving an average of 7.7 recognitions each month.

“Our team members love mteam and the program has become an integral part of our company culture. It has helped us increase team member engagement and drive business impact.”

Faith Swanson, Recognition and Engagement Manager, Meijer

With recognition activity flourishing across the organization, Meijer wanted to explore the impact recognition was having on their overall business. Meijer and the research arm of Achievers, The Workforce Institute, collaborated on a data partnership to gather insights on mteam’s performance and its direct impact on Meijer’s business objectives. This joint analysis revealed three positive results:

  1. Retention:
    The loss and replacement of valued employees is an expensive challenge for all organizations. Comparing recognition rates between current team members and team members who had left Meijer, those who stayed at Meijer received significantly higher recognition rates on average than those who left. One surprising result was that people who chose to leave Meijer were receiving statistically identical rates of recognition as those who were asked to leave the organization. Together, these results suggest that recognition is important to retaining valued employees, even if employees don’t call it out as the primary reason for their departure.
  2. Collaboration and belonging:
    Silos between teams or groups within an organization can severely hinder collaboration. Employees want to have a sense of connection and belonging in the workplace. Data showed that the strength of networks in each Meijer store location had increased since the introduction of mteam. In an effort to improve each team member’s sense of belonging, the program has been able to bring team members together and increase connections.
  3. Customer experience:
    When it comes to the retail industry, a company’s bottom line relies heavily on its customer-facing employees. Customer-facing employees act as brand ambassadors and are the ones on the floor everyday interacting with customers, influencing their purchasing behavior. Customer survey data by location showed that stores with higher recognition rates reported higher customer satisfaction overall. In fact, increasing recognition from twice a month to twice a week yielded a 5% increase in customer satisfaction scores. The data also revealed that stores with higher recognition rates had higher employee performance and enthusiasm ratings (as reported by customers) for customer-facing roles, like cashiers and greeters. This suggests that recognition can have a direct impact on your frontline employees’ quality of customer service, and therefore on your brand and bottom line.

These correlations between recognition and Meijer’s key business metrics show that recognition goes beyond the act of one team member simply appreciating another; recognition has the power to impact and improve overall business success.