Coles has a long and proud history of providing employment for hundreds of thousands of Australians since 1914. A company like Coles knows that vital to its survival is a great team, and great communication. The challenge is how to engage them and re-engage them with the business and especially when it is an army of 100,000 people across the country, that is no easy task.
Coles recognised that their centenary was an opportunity to do just that, using story to pass on culture and along the way connecting each team member with their own part of the broader company history.
Enter Bounce. 100 Years of Quality, Service and Value is a corporate history, but it’s an exercise in storytelling, and a way to say ‘thank you’ to staff. Here are our three favourite stories from the book: First is the one about the two kids playing air guitar and singing the ‘Down Down’ song – you know the one – while standing in a supermarket queue as their mum and the cashier looked on and smiled… and they weren’t even in a Coles. Second is the one about how the Coles family holds the Australian record for most Knighthoods in the one family. For the record, it’s five (plus one Dame in her own right) – their mum would've been proud... And our other favourite is the interview we did with Brenda Palmer, who had worked a Coles checkout for a remarkable forty-five years at the time of publishing. As you can imagine, her stories were great. The point is, though, that the book is filled with so many different ‘favourites’ that it got people talking, along the way deepening their connection to the business.
Sure, the Coles book has great kudos with big business and government, but it is with staff engagement that the real return on investment becomes clear. And it’s only through effective storytelling that it’s made possible.