Sports equipment retailer SPORTISIMO has more than 200 stores in 5 countries and employs more than 4,000 people. In order for employees to be able to anonymously send in suggestions of how they might improve the way the company runs, they introduced the online tool FaceUp at the beginning of 2021. Company HR Director Thomas Rodney is delighted with that decision.
FaceUp is an online platform created especially for the anonymous reporting of unfair or illegal conduct within companies (also known as ‘whistleblowing’). However, employees can also use the tool to make less serious suggestions to help improve the company, which happens very often in practice.
“SPORTISIMO is open to employee feedback, which is why we carry out a survey each month, asking staff about a predetermined issue. We introduced FaceUp as more of a complementary tool, a hotline through which people can anonymously raise a given matter. To be truthful, we only expected to receive a small number of reports, for example about serious breaches of internal regulations or even law breaking,” recalls Thomas Rodney.
However the reality was quite the opposite. During a year of operation, SPORTISIMO employees submitted over 180 reports. That’s an average of 15 per month. The majority of these reports were in fact not about serious matters, but more everyday issues. But they were still extremely valuable.
“For example, one person suggested that we change the music in our stores more often. Another employee asked why we don’t have a women’s version of a popular men’s size 42 shoe. At first glance they might be dismissed as trivial, things which management is blind to, but it’s worth dealing with them as it leads to higher employee satisfaction,” continues Thomas Rodney.
FaceUp is particularly praised for the simplicity of its implementation and use. “FaceUp has made our work a lot easier. The application interface and all materials are translated into five languages and they have even prepared marketing materials such as flyers. As a result, we’ve been able to introduce FaceUp into all our stores in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary,” added Rodney, who has worked for SPORTISIMO for five years.
FaceUp is a simple online whistleblowing platform, which an employee can learn to use within a couple of minutes.
Initial fears that FaceUp wouldn’t be used or that employees would abuse it by overwhelming it with nonsense reports proved to be unfounded. “It didn’t happen even once. The overwhelming majority of reports are really relevant, they quickly reach the appropriate person and in turn we resolve the matter. Through FaceUp you can communicate further with the person who sent the report, albeit anonymously, should you need further details or clarification. More straightforward issues we’re able to deal with in 24 hours, the more complex ones within a week or two. Most conversations end with the author of the report thanking us for dealing with the issue,” reveals Thomas Rodney.
Thomas Rodney has no doubt that he would recommend FaceUp to other companies:
"I absolutely recommend FaceUp to any company which, like us, has a number of branches over a large area, for instance over several countries. In such an environment it can be difficult to systematically collect feedback from employees, but thanks to this anonymous platform, it is possible,” he concludes.
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