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Adidas using dedicated employee app to engage with store teams

Adidas to use an app to ensure it engages more effectively with its young teams of employees working within its retail stores who dislike traditional forms of communication. By Glynn Davis


Adidas using dedicated employee app to engage with store teams

Ahead of presenting at the 6th Retail Bulletin HR Summit in London on October 8th, Tony Cooke, HR director at Adidas Group, outlined how the company is using this new route to improve engagement with all its employees and that messages from head office hit the target.

Cooke reveals that the company has faced two communicational challenges in the HR department. Firstly, it has a typical structure of a head office and many retail stores located around the country so ensuring it engages with its people beyond the head office – representing 60% of total UK employees - is a tough task.

“During the World Cup we’ve been running a series of activities in HQ such as a ‘Bake Off’ that means there is a great opportunity for employee engagement in the head office but the remoteness of the people in our retail stores makes it difficult for them to be involved. Our first communications dilemma therefore is keeping them in the loop,” he explains.

The second challenge is around the make-up and age of the people in the adidas retail stores – typically aged between 16 and 24 – who simply “won’t read email for 20 to 30 minutes and only want to use social media to communicate”.

“They are not very keen to write emails either, which is why we’ve come up with the employee app. We thought okay – if we can’t get these people into HQ for events and they’ll not read emails then we’ll invest in an app. It’s the cutest and wisest way for us to engage,” says Cooke.

When the app goes live in September for all retail employees they will be able to see the latest adidas products hitting the stores, read the latest PR news, and hear about new recruits to the company.

Whereas it was impossible to get all employees up to Stockport to see athletes and be involved with the autograph signings, the app will at least enable social media and video to be harnessed to ensure there is much better engagement with these head office activities for the retail teams.

The app will also have the significant benefit of tracking what content is being consumed by individual employees. “It will tell us which policies the guys have tuned into and so if we know they’ve read the social media policies then we’d expect them not to breach them,” he says.

The decision to go down the app route is being described by Cooke as the “penny dropping” especially when you consider that mobile penetration across the employee base at adidas is 100% so there is no worry whatsoever that the app will not have the required visibility across the business.

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