Case study

Improving Engagement Through Thoughtful Recognition

Business Challenge

Giant Eagle’s company-wide engagement survey identified inconsistent and ineffective practices in rewarding and recognizing employees. The organization had recently adopted new core values and was putting strategic resources toward inclusion on the Great Places to Work® list. Giant Eagle engaged Compass to develop a strategy around a comprehensive rewards and recognition program.

Innovative Solutions

Compass first engaged leaders in various banners, regions, distribution facilities, and stores to learn about isolated recognition programs and gain an understanding of total spend. A report was provided to the executive leadership, opening their eyes to the state of these initiatives, the low return on investment, and the deep need for a more uniform, companywide approach. Compass developed a meaningful recognition strategy and a process to replicate the program across the organization. Giant Eagle also engaged Compass to collaborate on implementing the plan.

Compass aligned behaviors to be rewarded to each of the core values and developed formal, informal, and on-the-spot best practices for rewarding those behaviors. The recognition emphasized peer-to-peer, employee-to-leader, and leader-to-employee options. Several technology platforms to facilitate record-keeping and distribution of rewards were vetted with a final selection made through a collaborative review process. BI Worldwide was the chosen vendor and worked in concert with the team to develop the branded platform. The program was named Giant Applause and all branding, collateral, and training materials were designed and produced by Compass.

A train-the-trainer program invited select Giant Eagle employees to learn the program, gain valuable presentation skills, and conduct training in the pilot region across more than 20 retail locations. Compass trained approximately 15 trainers through this program.

Shared Results

Leaders at all levels learned that regular, positive feedback proved to be better than a monetary reward. By focusing on rewarding the positive versus punitive action, leaders saw a notable change in attitudes and activity. The program also served as a developmental tool for those in the train-the-trainer program as it provided solid presentation pointers, and it empowered individuals to feel ownership over the program.

Technology infrastructure issues were identified as the on-line platform was integrated with the existing Giant Eagle system, helping the HR team to take stock of their technology resources beyond this program.

Ultimately, the engagement survey showed marked improvement in the category of rewards and recognition among retail employees. After the pilot region, Giant Applause was implemented chain-wide and at the corporate office.

The Compass team not only took the time to understand our problem, they understood our Company. Compass was not just a consulting firm but a true partner taking a vested interest in our long term success.

A. Kelly McCormick
Vice President Corporate Human Resources

Giant Eagle is a large regional retailer with over 400 locations offering food, fuel, pharmaceuticals, and more.
Employee Count: Over 36,000
Annual Sales: Approximately $9 billion

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