William Hill uses recognition to embed new employer brand and values

william hill

In February 2018, global betting and gaming organisation William Hill embraced a new set of organisational values. As part of the process of embedding these, the employer introduced a new system of recognition.

William Hill comprises some 16,000 employees, globally, 12,000 of whom are based within its retail business in the UK. In April 2018, the organisation launched a recognition platform, provided by MoWork. So far, it has been made accessible to all but the 700 or so staff working in the US, who will be gaining access later this year.

The platform focuses on key values: give a damn, on the same side, it will do will never do, own it, and eyes on the customer. Employees and managers are able to send messages of thanks to one another for behaviours that fit into these overarching categories, such as ‘being your best self’, ‘calling things out’ and ‘showing you care.’

Emily Morgan, head of reward at William Hill, says: “It’s one thing telling people what the behaviours are and trying to understand how they apply in their roles, but actually it’s another thing to really see it happen.”

In February and March 2019 alone, more than 3,000 messages of thanks were sent.

Employees can track their own recognition history, and any instance of thanks can be viewed on a public feed, unless specified otherwise.

Morgan adds: “It’s really helpful for performance management, appraisals and personal development, [for employees] to know what they’ve really achieved. It has really brought the values to the [front] of what we do on a daily basis.”

In March 2019, William Hill brought in a monthly award system for employees nominated for positive behaviours aligned with its brand values.

Morgan notes that starting with a focus purely on thanks, rather than reward, laid a positive groundwork: “It was all just encouraging people to leave those messages for each other, to build that culture of recognition.”

The organisation has also used the platform to respond to specific pressure points, encouraging employees to live its values even during times of change.

During a recent 12-day period in which new legislation affecting the organisation came into force, William Hill gave all 400 managers in its UK retail business access to reward pots on the Mo platform.

Rewards consisted of instantly redeemable vouchers for retailers and cafes, approximately 10,000 of which were delivered during the period.

“If [managers] see someone giving a great customer experience, they can instantly reward them and leave a personalised message,” Morgan explains. “It’s small rewards, £5 and £10, but it’s a good way to recognise great customer [service] in what we know is a challenging time.”

A wider benefit to introducing this recognition platform, Morgan notes, is the ability to create a global and cross-divisional sense of employer brand.

“We try to live out the value of being on the same side,” she says. “So, anyone can thank anyone, we’re not restricting it. I think that’s really important in a large business like ours, where sometimes those connections are harder to foster.”