Shop Direct Leverages Employee Recognition to Transform Its Business

Shop Direct

Business Challenge

Shop Direct is a multi-brand online retailer serving the United Kingdom and Ireland. The company’s 4,700 on and offline employees successfully ship over 50 million products every year. Shop Direct was born from the iconic British retailer Littlewoods, which was founded over 80 years ago when mass-market retailing was in its infancy.

While history allowed Shop Direct to establish a place in consumer’s hearts, time meant it had to adapt alongside industry developments or risk becoming obsolete. By the early 2000s, Shop Direct found itself fighting for survival to find a way to successfully transition their business from catalogue-based shopping to an online retailer. The transition period faced an additional challenge with frustrated employees who felt that they were not getting recognised for their hard work in a consistent and fair way – which led to colleagues feeling undervalued.

Employee Employee Success Platform™ Solution

To define and communicate their business transformation strategy, Shop Direct decided to re-focus their efforts around the company’s stated purpose to, “make good things accessible to more people.” They knew that in order to foster better relations with their customers and strengthen the business as they transitioned to digital, they needed to ensure that their employees were aligned with the company’s stated purpose.

This required a digitally focused, scalable solution that would support their values while engaging colleagues on and offline. Shop Direct knew that in order to remain competitive, it had to partner with a global recognition company that could offer a robust, yet easy-to-use, solution to support their employees during the transformation to a digital company.

Business Impact

Since implementing the Achievers recognition and rewards solution in July 2014, the clearest indicator of success has been the high level of adoption that the company’s “Shine” programme has achieved. Since launch, Shop Direct employees have sent more than 355,000 recognitions, with individual users sending an average of 7.6 recognitions each month. With activation rates at an impressive 97%, it’s no surprise that Shine has become a verb in the halls and warehouses of Shop Direct.

The company’s People Leaders have also seen a distinct improvement in team members’ alignment to Shop Direct’s core stated values since the programme was launched. To address the pain point of inconsistent recognition, Achievers worked with Shop Direct to develop the Quarterly Superhero Campaign. This awards-based campaign is peer-to-peer driven and creates a palpable buzz among employees – especially within the offline community. Internally, awards given have increased from 8 to 1000 annually, and employees finally feel like recognition has been given the priority it deserves.

Thanks to Shine and its associated initiatives, Shop Direct’s engagement survey has seen a 17% increase – from 67% in 2010 to world class 84% in 2017. Shop Direct has also received external praise for their innovative employee recognition strategy, winning first place in the Employee Recognition and Reward category in the 2016 UK Employee Experience Awards. The company has also turned a profit for the first time in a decade since implementing Shine, proving that the best way to invest in the future is to invest in employees first.


Achievers Insight

Activation and Recognition Index