Smart & Final is a warehouse store with approximately 211 stores and more than 10,000 employees. To grow and thrive in an increasingly competitive retail market, the company was looking to overhaul its employee recognition strategy and engaged Achievers.

Smart & Final

Business Challenge

Smart & Final is a warehouse store based in the western U.S. with approximately 211 stores in 5 states and more than 10,000 employees. In order to grow and thrive in an increasingly competitive retail market, the company was looking to overhaul its employee recognition strategy, which consisted of a ubiquitously disliked service awards program that was perceived by employees as being impersonal and demotivating. In response to low recognition scores on the company’s engagement survey, Smart & Final sought a peer-to-peer, as well as manager-to-peer and peer-to-manager, recognition, engagement, and alignment platform that required minimal administrative oversight and could be used on mobile devices by an employee population that was offline 95% of the time.

Employee Success Platform™ Solution

Smart & Final implemented its “Spotlight” program on the Achievers Employee Success Platform™, to engage and align employees across the organization’s geographically dispersed locations by encouraging cross-functional recognition via mobile devices. In 2014, to boost store performance and increase recognition and feedback from managers to employees, the company implemented a “March Madness” competition on the platform, challenging regions to go head-to-head in a recognition-giving bracket. The company-wide initiative saw regional managers facing off to move up on the bracket week-by-week until a winner was declared at the end of the month.

Business Impact

Employees embraced the competitive spirit of the competition and increased monthly employee recognition activity to 11 times the normal average. More than 43,000 recognition moments occurred in March alone. As a result, every single district recorded an increase in overall sales compared with the four-week period preceding the content. Sales grew 1.1% on average, resulting in revenues significantly above the sales level of the prior month-long time period. What’s more, 96.8% of employee recognitions were sent without points attached, making the cost virtually free.


Achievers Insight

Having engaged, aligned, AND recognized employees pays off big for employers: Aon Hewitt reports that for every incremental one-point increase in employee engagement, organizations see a 0.6% increase in sales. Companies with the most engaged employees report revenue growth at a rate 2½ times greater than competitors with the lowest levels of engagement.