Countdown supermarkets is one of New Zealand’s largest employers, with more than 18,000 team members working across their supermarkets, support offices, distribution centres and meat and seafood plants. 181 Countdown shops serve nearly three million Kiwi customers each week.
With teams spread right across the country, Countdown needs to get the right messages to the right audiences, fast. Before Workplace, just 15% of staff were signed up to regular online internal communications, meaning that traditional communication channels weren’t keeping people connected.
More transparency and better teamwork
When unforeseen situations occurred, affecting fresh crops and produce in the supply chain, such as an overnight storm, shops were notified about upcoming stock shortages via a group email from Support Office that was printed off and handed to shop teams. This was a common friction point between shops and the Support Office.
Since the introduction of Workplace, everybody along the supply chain is connected. Now, the buying team can visit a supplier and upload a picture of the product, along with an explanation of what’s happened for shop teams – all before shops open. This level of transparency has completely changed the interactions between shop teams and head office.
Bringing bots into baking
Countdown’s in-store bakers bake the fresh bread, muffins and cakes that line the shelves of their shops every day. Historically, the task of accessing and sharing recipes has been challenging. Prior to Workplace, it involved logging on to a shared computer, navigating through the intranet where the recipes are stored, finding and printing a recipe, and then returning to the kitchen.
Countdown created a simple chat bot on Workplace called Bakery Bot that has drastically simplified this process. Bakery Bot allows every member of the food team to have an encyclopedia of recipes in their back pocket, and finding one is as simple as asking the bot. Bakery Bot saves employees countless hours of time and energy, ensures consistency of the end product for customers and saves the company money by eliminating food waste.
Connecting operational leadership with shop staff
After just six weeks, Workplace communications were receiving far more views than Countdown’s previous channels. Internal Communications Manager Daniel Chasemore attributes part of its success to the fact that Workplace is highly intuitive, and therefore doesn’t feel like a work tool.
Workplace has bridged the gap between operational leadership and shop teams, connecting people at Support Office with people serving customers. Zone managers who manage 50 shops can now virtually check in with every shop. Shop-based teams can share stories of great customer experiences, helping Support Office-based teams feel closer to Countdown’s purpose. Teams then share ideas about how to further improve customer service. The ability to collaborate, celebrate and share has vastly improved team engagement and job satisfaction.
When introduced, Workplace quickly became the go-to place for team collaboration at Countdown. It is entirely voluntary for teams to use Workplace, and it is currently being used by almost 80% of their total workforce.
Looking to build the ultimate employee experience?
As your digital employee experience partner, consider us an extension of your team. We bring a time tested methodology, custom solutions and, person-to-person support to ensure your organization’s ongoing success.
Talk to us to find out how we can help your organization.