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Mitigating Risk Through Extra Support Program Development and Implementation


Spring has partnered with a major U.S. retailer for the past eight years on its employee engagement and employee relations assessment, action planning and strategy. With over 200,000 employees in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and China working in stores, logistics facilities and corporate support center, the company puts a significant focus on evaluating and improving the employee experience.


With such a large and dispersed employee base, the company wanted a targeted, proactive approach to assess its labor vulnerability in its stores and logistics facilities. The company partnered with Spring to create an analytical strategy for the assessment. We used an advanced analytical approach to determine the company’s top priorities, key areas of risk, and best practice areas. Based on employee attitudes, used to predict behaviors, the results clearly identified struggling facilities and their specific challenges. In addition to internal risk measures, Spring used its partner resources of LRI (Labor Relations Institute) to identify external risk factors for the stores and logistics locations that were classified as highly vulnerable based on the internal data analysis.


In partnership, Spring developed a customized Extra Support Program (ESP) to repair and build engagement in the struggling facilities. The ESP was designed to maximize existing ER and HR resources, garner the support of operations and directly address employee concerns to build positive employee relations. After the first year, struggling facilities saw an average engagement increase of 37 points following the extra support intervention.

The success of the engagement program and the ESP lead to a next level discovery phase where the company partnered with Spring to link employee data with business metrics. This metrics modeling initiative, People Value Linkage™, identified the actual return on investment of the engagement and labor vulnerability program. Today the program continues to grow, expand and evolve—the engagement program has been extended to include measures of the full employee experience such as cultural change, leadership effectiveness and program adoption.

Through ongoing analytical and consultative support, the company is receiving quarterly ongoing feedback allowing them to make timely adjustments to HR and operational programs and initiatives to enhance the return on investment.


Mergers: The Right Training to Reduce Risk


In 2010, Spring began partnering with a service and distribution provider on its employee engagement program. This retail organization employs more than 90,000 employees largely in its store and distribution center locations.


The company had grown significantly over a five year period through mergers and acquisitions and was particularly interested in the effects of the changes on employee attitudes. As a result, Spring conducted employee engagement and labor vulnerability analysis for the company’s worldwide store and logistics locations. The results identified 144 locations (32%) that had a high risk for labor activity.


After presenting the results to the company executives and conducting a working session that resulted in recommendations and tactics, the CEO called for immediate training and support to address the high risk locations. Spring conducted a “train-the-trainer” program for human resources to provide extra support to the struggling locations and then assisted HR with the implementation.

At the end of the first year, the amount of high risk locations dropped from 144 to 42, and by the third year, high risk locations were reduced further to 27. At the end of the three year period, 80% of the locations had made improvements. During this time, management engagement scores increased 9% and employee engagement increased 7%.

Through an analytical framework and targeted support and training, the company continues to partner with Spring to measure and reduce its risk while working to improve employee engagement.