Matt Manners
Written by
Matt Manners

Now I came to the realisation many years ago that I will never be very cool, but I did think I’m across most things. To my surprise, I just discovered an initiative launched in 2015 by a company called Pret-A-Manger in the United Kingdom.

Chief Executive Clive Schlee said he has given staff the power to hand out free drinks or food to the customers they like best – or would like to take home.

He told the Standard:

‘We looked at loyalty cards but we didn’t want to spend all that money building up some complicated Clubcard-style analysis.

“Instead the staff have to give away a certain number of hot drinks and food every week. They will decide ‘I like the person on the bicycle’ or ‘I like the guy in that tie’ or ‘I fancy that girl or that boy’. It means 28 percent of people have had something free. It’s a nice, different way of doing it.’”

He was doing it whilst announcing record profits. So the company was. and still is, obviously doing something right.

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am passionate about connecting the dots between the Employee Experience and the Customer Experience. What a fantastic way to do it. Empowering your staff to enhance the experience as they see fit.

I’ve also talked about Employee IP and the benefit of companies utilising it. Your people know your business better than anyone else and what better and more immediate way to activate that IP than satisfying a customer by knowing them. FANTASTIC!

We’ve seen award finalists and winners reap huge, and often instant, results by just listening to the ideas of their people:

  • A global aviation company added $30m+ to the bottom line in six months by implementing its Employee IP
  • A UK based supermarket saved hundreds of thousands of pounds in a few months by listening to one of its checkout attendees – an idea that created huge efficiencies and advocacy all at once.

The list could and does go on and on. Furthermore, most employees want to share their ideas with you. You just have to make it simple for them to do so.

How do you give your power away to your people to improve the business and make it a better place to work?


Attend the first ExChange event in London – The Employee Experience event in London on May 24, 2018.  Use the code EEA50 for 50% off –

Based in North America? Attend the Employee Engagement Conference in Chicago on June 07, 2018 – visit here and use code EMPOWERMENT for 50% off.

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