Like many businesses over the past 18 months, the travel industry was hit particularly hard by the pandemic. To survive during this period, Panorama and RCI were forced to rethink their existing model and come up with fresh, creative ideas.
The revamping of an old ideas sharing platform to a company-wide tool to boost innovation received high praise from the judges, and saw RCI named the 2021 Culture Pioneer of Innovation winner.
As the global leader in holiday exchange, RCI was one of the many companies in the travel sector hit hard by the pandemic. With a pre-pandemic adage of "if it is not broken, don't fix it", Senior HR Director Deryn Mcintosh and the HR team knew this had to change to survive such a tumultuous climate.
“The business needed to respond fast and engage associates (employees) in looking at ways to keep the business trading in uncertain times. It was the catalyst for bringing an innovative culture to life at RCI,” says Deryn.
To enable and empower its people to present new ideas, suggestions and ‘light bulb’ moments was business critical for RCI. The company therefore took an old ideas-sharing programme that was no longer in use, to create ‘Spark’: a platform that enabled RCI’s 3,000 employees to collaborate and make innovative ideas come to life.
The transparent, easy-to-use platform allows colleagues to view, vote and comment on other ideas submitted; and to stay informed on which ideas have been selected to test and implement.
As of the end of June 2021, 604 ideas had been submitted to Spark.
Many of these ideas have subsequently been transformed into actions that have been driving top line revenue, helping realise cost savings, improving the customer experience and supporting Covid-19 recovery.
Amongst these actions, is the Enhanced Protection for the EME region, where RCI’s Contact Centres are selling this product to 40% of their members, with a take up of 22% - a vital retention figure during an incredibly difficult time for the travel sector.
The success of the Spark programme has seen it implemented across the company. This is most apparent with new staff, where all new associates are given the opportunity to bring a new business or associate related idea to the leadership table where it is discussed and reviewed.
What our judges thought
“The entry from Panorama and RCI showed multiple perspectives – product, client and colleague innovation – making this an all-systems pandemic response driven by creativity and activism. We are therefore delighted to name them the 2021 Culture Pioneer of Innovation winner!”
Perry Timms, Culture Pioneers Judge and Founder & Chief Energy Officer of People and Transformational HR
"Panorama and RCI have created a culture of innovation as a result of their work, as a result of listening to their employees, who are listening to their customers. Allowing that voice into the system and giving permission to act on it is a great lesson for all of us who aspire to be Culture Pioneers."
Laura Overton, Culture Pioneers Judge, award winning industry analyst and CoFounder of Emerging Stronger