Aldi has been operating in the UK for the past 25 years, but it’s arguably the past few which have gained it the most headlines, awards for its products, and headway in terms of growth. From 2011 to 2015 its headcount in UK and Ireland increased from around 5,000 to 30,000, and it doesn’t appear to be slowing down. But such a huge scale of growth has brought challenges to employee engagement.
Aldi have been seeking staff feedback for a number of years; their survey response rate peaked at 60% in 2009, but dropped down to 52% in 2012, just as they were on the brink of enormous expansion. With such a large volume of employees joining Aldi, it was essential to ensure that they were aware that the company took engagement seriously, and that change happens as a result of employee feedback.
To increase the response rate Aldi set about a whole new approach, revising the question set, giving the survey an independent brand, associating an incentive with their response, and ensuring that the survey was effectively communicated.
Initially there were 102 questions involved. Through defining what they were trying to achieve, they were able to reduce this to 50. The addition of a charity donation being made based on the number of people who took part had a great impact on response levels, as did the branding, as it offered a consistent delivery of key points and messages across the entire organisation. A video supporting the survey was created, featuring people from across the country and the various roles that make up Aldi, including the CEO.
It worked. Response rates increased and the information it delivered will enable employees to see that their views have made an impact into how the organisation is run. Three key things were involved:
- Keep it simple – challenge everything, remove complication, give clear communication.
- Target communication and think about the audience – ensure that not only those who are completing the survey understand the details, but those who are delivering it too.
- Sell the benefits of engagement and survey participation at every stage.