SHINE – How the Wolves empower their staff to contribute

We talked to the team around HR Director Zoe Brough responsible for developing and implementing the new staff recognition scheme “Shine – We See You” at the Wolverhampton Wanderers FC.

What was the inspiration behind creating the “Shine” staff recognition scheme?  

The club’s values; progressive, determined, humble, unified, and bright are familiar and firmly embedded with all of our staff.  We recognised that we needed a new staff recognition scheme that supported these values with behaviours that we expect everyone to demonstrate in some way within their everyday role.  

How did the idea for this scheme come about, and who was involved at the ideation stage?  

Our previous recognition scheme, The Captain’s Club, had run for three seasons and needed a refresh. We wanted to develop a simpler and more instant scheme that empowered our management team to reward staff instantly who had shone and displayed the behaviours we chose to champion.  Zoe Brough (HR Director), Lin Kennings (Executive Assistant), Kerri Davies (Mascot and Membership Manager), and Robyn Boxill (Reward & Benefits Consultant) took on the challenge of developing a stand-alone recognition scheme.  

How does this scheme support the club’s overall strategy and goals? 

“Shine” shows our staff clear indicators of how we expect them to perform.  We encourage them to be fearless and entrepreneurial, and we want them to be professional team players, to carry out their duties with integrity and passion whilst being resilient and demonstrating empathy.  We want our staff to know that we support them to be their best version, and want to empower them to contribute whilst striving to support the club’s values.  

What are the criteria used to evaluate and recognize staff under this scheme? 

Shine – We See You has a suite of eight behaviours with each having a card and keepsake pin.  Each card shows points that evaluate the word and this is further supported by the awarding manager’s personal message on the reverse of the card.  Managers are empowered to give an award with no voting panel or additional evaluation required.  

What has been the reaction from staff and management to the launch of this recognition scheme? 

The scheme has been well-received amongst our managers as they can see the value of its simplistic awarding style and many feel it will prompt them to give thanks to both their own staff and from other departments, recognising that they don’t do it enough.  Staff have equally seen that they can be recognised for doing their job well and be proud to receive a personalised thank-you from management.  

We never should underestimate how good it feels to be nice! Not only does it provide a feel-good factor to staff, but it can also feel good as a manager to give praise and watch someone develop from your feedback.  

Can you share any stories or examples of staff recognition under this scheme? 

We expect our staff to deliver their duties and responsibilities in their everyday role, but when they go above and beyond we want them to know we see them.  We want to ensure that this message runs true with every member of staff and that they know it’s OK to check and challenge procedures and suggest best practices.  

We are always looking to improve and step up and with staff help and assistance, we continue to.  We want to recognize our staff for being brave and fearless, to suggest and contribute, and this is how we develop hidden talents within our “One-pack” workforce.

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How does this scheme compare to other staff recognition programs in the industry?  

We have developed this scheme to fit our needs. To support our values and to work alongside our annual Pride of Pack awards.  Many schemes are based on monetary awards and can often be emotive and unfair.  We feel a card with a personal message on will mean much more to staff and encourage them to strive and excel to collect others.   

What are the long-term goals of the “Shine” recognition scheme, and how will it continue to evolve?  

Annually, we have our Pride of the Pack awards which highlight key members of staff for various performances at an end-of-season dinner.  The aim of “Shine” is to show that recognition is season-long and excellent performance can be rewarded throughout the year.  We want to ensure Wolves attract and keep the best talents and ensure we are developing staff in areas that they exceed and enjoy.   

We don’t know where this journey will evolve as we are at the beginning, but rest assured, we don’t stand still.  We will be monitoring and listening so that we can continue to show our teams that if you Shine – We See You! 

Any other details you would like to share about “Shine”?  

Staff engagement is important to the club and we have plenty of ways to show our staff how important their contribution is.  Shine is our freshest scheme and strengthens our Pride of Pack awards but it also goes alongside our initiative that every member of the club is rewarded with a “Win Treat” following a first-team win.  This can be a weekly affair (or not!), but the staff knows that a win for the team means they will thank for their contribution towards that, be it donuts, cookies, cakes, or chocolate!  Everyone shines at the Wolves! 


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