Our Conference is an annual event that brings together 5,500 Sainsbury’s colleagues from across the organisation, and is used to communicate key business strategy objectives and showcase new products.
The event incorporates presentations, a talent competition, the Love Awards, that recognise outstanding contributions, and experiential elements to help colleagues learn, share and experience key messages.
The key objectives in 2014, which is a challenging time for the supermarket industry, was to reinforce the vision and values of Sainsbury’s 20X20 Sustainability Plan and to engage, inspire and motivate colleagues to act as storytellers in the business, and cascade the messages back.
The conference opened with a dramatic presentation starting with the story of John and Mary Sainsbury, who planted a seed that grew into a graphical tree depicting all areas of the business. The then chief executive Justin King took the opportunity to remind colleagues of the brand’s values and 20X20 plan, while recounting success stories from the year.
A variety of experiential events also took place. These included the Christmas Carousel, which showcased the supermarket’s Christmas products, encouraging colleagues to try, taste and understand the key lines. Almost all attendees – 97 per cent – rated this element as good or excellent.
Cirque du Sainsbury’s, a special circus themed show, brought to life Sainsbury’s general merchandise offering and clothing range for Christmas. And as staff entered the food theatre, they were handed a taster bag to allow them to taste own-brand products as they were highlighted and described by host, director of brand Judith Bachelor.
Winners of the Love Awards were announced throughout the day to ensure that key presentations were punctuated with celebration and recognition.
The day ended with Sainsbury’s talent competition. In the months leading up to Sainsbury’s Our Conference, Sainsbury’s had invited staff to enter a talent competition. More than 600 auditioned, and the finalists competed against each other at the We’ve Got Talent event. Nine out of ten attendees rated this element as good or excellent.
Attendee feedback revealed that 95 per cent rated their conference experience as either good or excellent, while 80 per cent used the words ‘inspired’, ‘motivated’, ‘engaged’ and ‘informed’ to describe their experience.
The judges described the event as ‘different and engaging’, adding that it ‘tapped into cultural themes’.