Shop Direct uses evolving recognition platform to embed and grow core values

shop direct

In 2014, online retailer Shop Direct went through a rebrand, focusing its people strategy on the idea of creating a values-led culture. To bring its new approach to life, the organisation launched a recognition programme for its 4,000 employees.

Shop Direct’s new strategy centred around five key values: together, ambitious, pride, innovative, and trusted. The recognition scheme, Shine, which is provided by Achievers and launched in July 2014, was key to changing these from words on a wall into a daily reality.

Debs Chapman, director of reward, employee relations, people services and diversity at Shop Direct, says: “We launched recognition as the enabler, bringing those values to life, so that they jump out from a poster and become real. It didn’t all happen overnight, it was a journey.”

The platform emulates the news feeds seen on popular social media websites, and allows employees to select individuals for recognition against specific organisational values. These acknowledgements are then posted on the public news feed, allowing all staff to engage with the behaviours and values being promoted.

Since its implementation, and following feedback from staff, Shop Direct has added the ability to celebrate birthdays and other special occasions. “It’s got a really social and fun element to it,” says Chapman.

In addition, each member of staff is awarded 500 Shine Points to give away each month to peers who have delivered on the organisation’s overarching purpose: making good things accessible to more people.

These points can be accrued and spent on a number of perks available through the Shine platform, including retail vouchers and experiences. Managers receive double the amount of points to allocate each month.

In early 2019, Shop Direct refreshed the definitions behind its values, and used the Shine platform as a vehicle to communicate about, and engage staff with, this evolution.

The organisation also provides quarterly awards, communicated via quarterly team huddles. These originally recognised those employees with the highest volume of acknowledgements, but when it refreshed its values, Shop Direct shifted to highlighting one standout winner for each of the pillars; specific instances of recognition can be flagged for nomination with the tag #Hero.

“That [volume focus] was quite important in the early years, just to help [the scheme] embed,” Chapman explains. “That’s less important now, and what’s more important is the quality. So, [an employee] might only receive one Shine in a month, but that Shine could be really quite remarkable, and that’s more important.”

A key element to making the recognition strategy effective and successful in the long-term has been this ability to adapt according to factors such as employee feedback, changing business strategy, and ongoing experience of what works practically.

In the future, the organisation will continue to collaborate with its People Forum to gauge how the Shine programme should adapt. “We want to work with the [employees] on that next stage of our journey, rather than just the HR team [deciding],” explains Chapman.

Shop Direct now sees an average of 12,000 instances of recognition go across its platform each month, making an average of three per person.

“Our people have become exceptionally passionate about celebrating success, both at the [organisational] level and one-on-one,” Chapman concludes.