How using Workplace is helping DFS prioritise employee well-being

by Matthew Ring

Employee engagement at DFS

For the UK's leading furniture retailer, DFS, Workplace was the perfect way to boost employee engagement and put employee well-being first. 18 months in, 82% of DFS employees agree that Workplace allows them to make a valuable contribution. Here's their story.

DFS is the biggest sofa manufacturer in Britain, with more than 110 stores across the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands and Spain. DFS employs over 3,600 people with a wide range of skills and specialties, from production and supply chain to retail and administration.

A significant proportion of the DFS workforce is not desk-based. This made keeping people connected with their colleagues and informed about what was happening across the rest of the business a challenge.

DFS deployed Workplace in June 2017, and it soon proved to be the ideal solution to meet this challenge. As Workplace is mobile-first, the Workplace app was a great fit for those DFS employees who don't use a desktop during the day, allowing them to stay connected from wherever they are.

"We are really happy that we chose Workplace as our communication tool. It provides a platform where our employees from across the business can collaborate and ask questions, helping us listen to and engage with our people."

– Scott Fishburn, Chief People & Transformation Officer, DFS

Real-time collaboration, grassroots innovation

Using Workplace, employees were able to communicate and collaborate in one place. This new kind of engagement soon led to innovation and problem-solving at the grassroots level. Retail staff could check queries in an instant over Workplace Chat. Service Managers and Service Apprentices could easily share tips on reupholstering sofas, continually championing best practice within the business.

All teams now benefit from this organic knowledge sharing. It has strengthened relationships between teams and provided staff with a new way to hear from, and connect with, other employees across the business. 82% of DFS employees agree that they can make a valuable contribution to the organisation using Workplace.

Making important company information accessible

One big challenge for DFS' People team was making sure that everyone in the business had access to information about company initiatives and benefits. This is of particular importance for new starters. The People team now leverages Workplace groups to communicate this information by pinning posts to the top of a number of company-wide groups, such as 'DFS Lifestyle and Benefits' and 'Health and Safety'.

DFS add new starters to these groups automatically, ensuring that they get full visibility of the offers and services available to them as a DFS employee. Using Workplace, important information about company initiatives and benefits is now easily accessible to all employees at their leisure.

"Workplace has helped us to strengthen relationships, share ideas and transform the way we work together."

Championing employee well-being

Once DFS had started a company dialogue, they were keen to talk about employee well-being.

In March 2018, DFS created a company-wide group on Workplace called 'Living Well'. The purpose of the Living Well programme was to encourage healthy habits inside and outside the workplace, raising awareness about all aspects of health, from physical and emotional, to social and financial, to nutritional and spiritual.

To create momentum and encourage involvement from staff in the programme, DFS launched a campaign called the #HealthySelfie competition. Employees were encouraged to take a selfie doing their favourite healthy activity and share it with their colleagues in the group.

With some pretty impressive prizes up for grabs – including a Fitbit – DFS received over 320 contributions to the challenge. The campaign was a fantastic opportunity for people from all over the business to come together and motivate one another.

As a result of DFS' commitment to employee well-being and engagement, they were voted one of the 2018 best big companies to work for in the annual survey by The Sunday Times.

Workplace has allowed DFS to continue to build a positive and collaborative culture and to enrich and improve their employees' working lives. We look forward to hearing how this develops further over the next 18 months.

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