Creating a Culture of ‘Engagement Every Day’ at a Major North American Retailer

Creating a Culture of “Engagement Every Day”

Major North American retailer


A major North American retailer with more than 250,000 employees wanted to change the way it measured and acted on engagement data. Instead of measuring engagement at one point in time, once a year, leaders wanted to build a culture of "engagement every day," in which individual employees, store managers, corporate leaders and HR would all share accountability for engagement.


As with any large organization with geographically dispersed employees, the key challenge was building a program at scale. How do you reach a population of 250,000 employees quickly, then turn the data around and get it into 10,000 store managers' hands? And how do you repeat that process multiple times a year?

Aon Solution

Aon deployed a continuous-listening strategy that includes one census survey and two short pulse surveys for all employees, plus ad hoc pulses for deeper dives into target populations.

To measure what matters most, Aon partnered with the client's internal team to interview the company's executives and ask "What's top of mind for the business? What issues can store managers control and act on immediately?" Then Aon developed the survey questions to reflect the core business objectives, assess the extent to which employees felt enabled to serve their customers with excellence and focus on items that managers have direct control over. It was a priorityto only ask questions that the organization was prepared to act on, so the survey measures more than just engagement. The survey measures how empowered and accountable employees feel and how effective they view their managers.

How do you reach a population of 250,000 employees quickly and then get the data into the hands of 10,000 store managers?

One of the organization's goals was shared accountability — making sure individual employees, store managers, senior leaders and HR all share ownership of engagement. To give employees an active role and drive increased self-awareness, they have the option of seeing their survey results immediately after they finish the survey, along with ideas for next steps based on their scores. Managers have access to their team's aggregated results and employees are encouraged to take responsibility for their own engagement.

Stores that improved YOY engagement experienced:

  • More loyalty card memberships
  • Higher Net Promoter Score growth
  • Increased front-end sales and profit
  • Amore highly engaged store manager


Aon conducted in depth analysis of the survey results to understand the impact of engagement on business KPls and help inform key talent and business decisions using employee feedback data.

In this company's case, engagement clearly drives better business performance. Stores where employees are more engaged also experience better business outcomes. The stores that increased engagement year over year also saw higher loyalty card memberships, higher Net Promoter Score growth, higher front-end sales and profit, and were more likely to have a highly engaged store manager.

The new approach to creating a culture of "engagement every day" caused what leaders deemed "intentional disruption." Though some Within the retailer had reservations around showing employees their individual results, as well as conducting multiple census surveys for a large employee population, it was ultimately seen as an opportunity to change the way the organization approaches engagement. Since retail is historically a fast-paced industry, it had been common for engagement efforts to get side-tracked if they are seen as stand-alone initiatives and not tied to the larger business outcomes. The key for success was staying aligned to the evolving business needs.

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