Customer case study

A centralised gateway to support for Woolworths Group

%

prefer live chat for mental health support

%

of support cases occur at night

%

would not have sought help if Sonder was not available

About Woolworths Group

Woolworths Group is the largest company in Australia and a major retail operator in New Zealand, comprising of leading supermarkets and consumer retail brands such as Woolworths, BIG W and Countdown. As one of Australia and New Zealand's largest private employers, it comprises a diverse and multicultural workforce of 220,000 team members serving over 29 million customers each week. At Woolworths, their people are at the heart of everything they do, and their leaders are deeply committed to creating better experiences together for their customers, their communities and each other.

The Challenge

During the COVID-19 pandemic, essential workers in Australia, especially those in retail, faced numerous challenges. Supermarket employees dealt with disgruntled customers, fatigue, stress, and health concerns. The pandemic worsened existing difficulties, blurring the line between work and home life for all employees. Managers took on multiple roles as mental health caregivers, financial advisors, and confidants.

To better support their team members' safety, mental health, and wellbeing in a rapidly changing environment, Woolworths Group looked for a solution that would further enhance their support program. One that allowed them to further reduce the barriers to help, and provide the organisation with more insight so they can be one step ahead in preventing wellbeing challenges going forward.

The Solution

Since launching Sonder to over 220,000 team members and their families in November 2020, Woolworths Group has seen a drastic change in three key areas:

Single-point of access to 24/7 support

The Sonder partnership has simplified the way their team accesses help by providing a single gateway to all of their benefits and support systems. From medical advice to financial aid, personal safety and mental health support, team members and their families can get trusted advice on any issue through chat or a telephone call via one simple app. More importantly, there are no limitations on their location, the time of day, or how many times they need to access help. For a workforce that's predominately made up of shift workers, round the-clock support is essential so that members can quickly and easily access the right care at the right time. In fact, 38% of Woolworths team members have reached out to Sonder at night.

Holistic and human-centric support

Having a conversation with someone (even virtually) can be invaluable to a person, especially during challenging times. When a Woolworths team member reaches out to Sonder, a real and compassionate person is on the other end, ready to listen and help. The Sonder team use a holistic and empathy based approach to carefully consider all aspects of a person's life. This full-spectrum, human-centric model lets them identify any 'hidden' underlying or compounding issues so that the right and personalised mix of treatment, resources and follow-up care can be provided to the person at the right time - before they get out of hand.

And when virtual support is not enough, Sonder's team of on-the-ground responders are less than 20 minutes away - ready to assist in difficult or time-sensitive situations such as workplace aggression and injuries, suicide ideations, hospital escorts, welfare checks and more.

Data-informed wellbeing insights

Leveraging Sonder's advanced analytics platform, Woolworths Group now has visibility over their blind spots with real-time trends, data and key insights into its team's wellbeing. These are broken down by individual businesses across their workforce. With access to this information to predict organisational wellbeing issues before they cause a significant impact, Woolworths leaders are now using this crucial data to make informed business decisions to better allocate resources to support their teams and set up preventative measures in the areas causing the most concern.

"By partnering with Sonder, our 185.000 person team can access instant. confidential support. day and night, Sonder's network of professionals not only support our team but their families too."

Rachelle Mott, Chapter Lead. Wellbeing at Woolworths Group

The Results

Since launch, Woolworths and Sonder have continued a close partnership, collaborating and sharing their experiences to provide optimal care for team members and their families. Consolidating providers across the business has provided additional benefits to Woolworths Group, including replacing the existing employee assistance program (EAP).

Leveraging their robust network of support services, the Sonder support team is now fully embedded into Woolworths' risk and safety framework. Sitting on Emergency Management Team meetings in response to critical incidents and extreme weather events, Sonder is there to provide their expertise and assist Woolworths in managing natural disasters and other major public safety events.

Team members have praised Sonder's accessibility, describing it as an "angel in your pocket," resulting in increased usage of Woolworths' support services and quicker, more personalised care.

Company Info

Industry

Retail

Supermarkets

Workforce diversity

Customer-facing

Warehouse

Transportation

Corporate

Casual/Seasonal/Temporary

Geographies

Australia

New Zealand

Asia

Workforce composition

220,000 employees

"Sonder enhances accessibility to care for Woolies staff by leveraging technology, 24/7 support, and timely data insights which drive meaningful business decisions."

Craig Cowdrey, CEO at Sonder

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