Article: How Tesco creates opportunities to boost employee engagement

Employee Engagement

How Tesco creates opportunities to boost employee engagement

Tesco Bengaluru calls it 'Colleague Engagement', and here are a few initiatives which have been successful in creating a bonhomie among the workforce and management.
How Tesco creates opportunities to boost employee engagement

Effective colleague engagement is the key to organizational success. Lack of engagement affects how colleagues view themselves as well as their organization. Tesco Bengaluru, actively look for creative opportunities to boost colleague engagement. There are several initiatives to involve and engage their workforce as well as maintain transparency within the organization, with a seamless flow of information. 

Business Challenge

Tesco Bengaluru, the only retail and technology operations centre for Tesco worldwide comprises a workforce of more than 4000 colleagues. Ensuring that colleagues are engaged and take pride in the work being carried out by teams remain a struggle for most organizations – Tesco Bengaluru shared the same challenge. Three challenges were: 

  1. Lack of awareness among colleagues about the contribution teams was making to the larger business
  2. No robust communication bridge between colleagues and the leadership 
  3. Lack of motivation/reason for colleagues to participate in activities/events/CSR.

As a result, Tesco Bengaluru designed all its colleague engagement activities based on an understanding gathered through colleague surveys and offline discussions. All engagement activities revolved around three objectives – 

  1. Establish Tesco Bengaluru as an employer of choice 
  2. Connect colleagues to Tesco 
  3. Build pride among colleagues. 

Over the last one year, the team has led a number of initiatives spreading across events, digital communication, communication campaigns to build cross-business awareness, platforms for colleagues to connect with the leadership and volunteering opportunities for colleagues to pursue their passion towards community development.

All of this was backed by the constant effort to align the leadership through regular updates, conversations, and engagement to help drive participation. Continuous efforts were made to communicate achievements, success stories, milestones, and media mention with colleagues to ensure they stay connected to Tesco. 

All the initiatives managed by Tesco Bengaluru were designed in a manner that it could be sustained year on year – allowing colleagues to relate to it and participate accordingly. 


Identifying the importance of colleague engagement, Tesco invests significant resources in activities and create an environment where everyone at Tesco can believe that all aspects of their work and personal lives are supported.

The objectives of the colleague engagement programmes include:

  • Driving colleague engagement
  • Building pride among colleagues 
  • Designing fun and business-focused activities 
  • Positively  impacting colleagues and making them feel inclusive 

After every colleague engagement activity, surveys were taken among the workforce seeking their feedback on how to make the particular initiative more engaging. 

Colleague engagement activities 

Tesco implemented the colleague engagement programmes through effective communication channels such as their own intranet portal - HUB, notice boards, TV screens, emails and Yammer as well as through social media platforms.

Colleague Briefing Session (CBS): To ensure colleagues are the first to hear important company news, have a chance to air their opinions and ask questions, they crafted a regular Town Hall format called Colleague Briefing Sessions every quarter.  Leaders spend an hour or two to engage directly with colleagues on their floors and respond to questions. At this forum, leaders share updates on company performances, financial results, career transformation, core purposes, CSR activities and upcoming events, among others. 

Talent Showcase: Talent Showcase helps drive participation from colleagues in huge numbers. During the event, employees showcase their talents in singing, dancing, painting and stand-up comedy, among others. 

FaceBox: In order to further engage with colleagues, a campaign was launched last year - called ‘FaceBox’. The idea was to encourage colleagues to step forward and be the face of Tesco Bengaluru. They got the opportunity to anchor events and connect with one another through videos/podcasts.

Yammer Chat: Yammer Chats are conducted, a platform used to share views and generate discussions where the leaders engage with colleagues over one-hour interaction on Yammer. 

Spark: The first-ever Talk Series designed by colleagues, for colleagues. The aim was to share knowledge through short and engaging videos on a wide range of subjects from business, lifestyle to health and wellness, every fortnight. 

Celebration of events: With the focus to drive colleague engagement, events are celebrated with great fun-fare such as International Women’s Day, Foundation Day, Children’s Day and World Environment Day, among others to build pride among colleagues. 

Rewards & Recognition (R&R): The company has a seamless R&R tool which makes it easy for colleagues to recognize their peers, managers to recognize their teammates for outstanding contribution. 

Driving engagement through CSR volunteerism: The approach to CSR is more peer-to-peer – all the CSR work is run on the backbone of colleague volunteering. There is an internal mandate of encouraging every colleague to volunteer for at least 1.5 hours every year. A  Volunteering Survey is done every year to get feedback and understand how colleagues would like to contribute to the CSR programme and plug their suggestions into the plans. The ‘CSR Month’ campaign, conducted in October every year, hosts several activities such as tree plantation drive, school visit, blood donation camp, cleanliness drive, a mini-marathon and a charity carnival to engage colleagues in community activities. 

Implementation strategy: 

  • A 360-degree approach in implementing colleague engagement activities. Taking into account the different businesses of Tesco, it curated business specific events as well as organization-wide programmes catering all colleagues.
  • Robust use of internal channels such as an intranet, notice boards, TV, monthly newsletter Reflections, emails and Yammer for colleague engagement. 
  • Calendar of participation: All the events are listed on internal channels and shared with colleagues to participate. The event calendar is put up on HUB, Yammer, in-house digital TV and is shared with colleagues through emails. Event reminders are sent on the event day to drive more engagement. 
  • Most of the events were video-recorded to spread awareness.
  • Tesco Bengaluru’s colleague engagement programmes are mostly run and managed internally – all strategies to promote transparency and colleague engagement are driven in-house using internal resources (from creating collaterals, branding, developing content, photography to leveraging different channels of communication to engage).  
  • Post event updates: After each event, colleagues are notified via emails and Yammer posts on the snapshot of the activities.   


Snapshot of the impact: 

  • Helped build pride among colleagues  
  • Highest levels of colleague participation and engagement demonstrated 
  • Amplification and engagement on social media
  • Positive feedback received from colleagues


The active colleague engagement practices have given several benefits. 

  • Created the first ever company Virtual Tour - armed with over 1000 photographs and a framework, the colleagues pieced the tour which is now being used by the hiring team to showcase the campus.
  • Created a first-of-its-kind CSR Google Footprint map. The map showcases all the areas where Tesco Bengaluru has made an impact along with descriptions of the type of CSR interventions they made – be it installing solar lights or engaging government schools.
  • Tesco Bengaluru won an award at the India CSR Awards 2017 for its CSR Month campaign in the colleague volunteerism category. CSR Month, conducted in the month of October, is an annual volunteering event that focusses on making community service fun, fulfilling and inclusive. It is one of the most successful engagement initiatives. 
  • In the What Matters To You (WMTY) internal survey, 83% of employees have recommended Tesco Bengaluru as a great place to work - a significant increase from the previous survey. Also, 82% of colleagues agreed that Tesco brings benefits to the local community. 
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Topics: Employee Engagement

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