The combination of being a new business and starting during the COVID-19 pandemic meant Marugame had a fairly small employee offering, as Head of People Nicki Sahota explains.
"We basically started everything from scratch. As a business we had lots of challenges. Our staff turnover wasn’t great…people were a bit overwhelmed and stressed at work. Attracting people to work for a business they’d never heard of was a big challenge as well. So those were a few of the reasons we were looking at Perkbox."
One thing Nicki and her team were clear on from the start was the importance of culture — whether it’s sending balloons and cakes to employees on their birthday, or giving people Marugame branded hoodies after passing probation. However, this needed to be backed up by a stronger employee offering — which is where Perkbox came in.
The ability to use a single app to support and motivate employees was a key selling point for Marugame, and something they’ve made great use of to strengthen culture.
Serving up rewards and recognitions at speed
"When we launched Perkbox, we did different areas at different times," says Nicki.
"The timing was great because we launched the recognition on Employee Appreciation Day and got everybody in the business to just appreciate somebody, which was lovely. We’ve also created five icons for our values so they can attach them to recognitions.
I'd like to think we're quite good at embedding our values into the business, but Perkbox has just helped that little bit more."
The peer-to-peer recognition has taken off but as Attraction and Talent Manager Davide Grasso points out, the platform can also be used to push incentives, thanks to the instant Reward points which recipients can spend on a reward of their choice.
"Perkbox helps us involve the managers in creating incentives. For example if someone gets 10 good Google reviews in a week, the managers will give them, say, £50 worth of Reward points, rather than us going around buying vouchers and bringing them to the restaurants. So that was also freedom from a lot of admin!"
Nicki agrees with this last point, saying:
“The recognition part of the platform has been fantastic. We have ‘Chimu Champions’ (‘Chimu ‘being the Japanese word for ‘team’) and we did recognition before Perkbox, but we were doing it very manually. It took a lot of time to gather votes, count them up, and then organise a prize — whereas Perkbox has massively taken that away for us.
Healthy ingredients for a resilient workforce
The ability to support employees with their physical, mental and financial wellbeing has also created a better culture at Marugame. This was especially important during the busy early stages of starting the business, and Nicki says it’s something appreciated by people at all levels.
"The world was a funny place — we were just coming out of COVID. The challenges that our teams were facing were not different but heightened. As a new business we didn’t have anything to offer.
I can tell you our CEO absolutely loves the wellbeing offering, and I do myself as well! We’ve got positive feedback from that."
Integrations = a recipe for better employee engagement
This isn’t the only element of simplicity Marugame gets with Perkbox. Perkbox integrates with all core HR systems — automating the process of logging in, adding new employees, removing leavers, and generally making it part of a company’s day-to-day. Nicki says:
"It’s a lot easier to get people on, it’s easier for them to see. We use Fourth Hospitality for everything — that’s where they go to get their payslips, look at their shifts, and it’s also a social feed for the company. The fact that Perkbox is integrated, and is right there when they log on, just takes away one of the barriers that you normally find."
“In terms of admin, [before], we were supposed to get a report of everyone that was new to the company, to send them an email in order for them to have access…That means if the report was wrong, anything could have happened. Whereas here, it’s just automatic. People get automatically enrolled to it and anyone can get access without us worrying.”
The sweet taste of ROI
With 93% usage, the launch of Perkbox across Marugame has been a huge success so far, with Nicki seeing a genuine impact on the business,
“All of our people metrics have improved drastically over the last 6-12 months. For example, we managed to hire 500 people in the last 12 months, in the middle of a recruitment crisis. We recently did a pay and benefits survey and overall our teams were very happy, and our staff turnover has more than halved.”