Stevenage Leisure Limited are committed to delivering high quality and value for money leisure and cultural opportunities for all of the community. Working in partnership with five local authorities, Stevenage Leisure Limited are a non-profit distributing organisation and a holder of the Social Enterprise Mark; managing eighteen centres across 9 towns, with a dedicated team of over 1,000. Any surpluses generated through their operations are reinvested into the facilities for the benefit of their clients, staff, and most importantly the 3 million visitors to their centres every year.

We first heard of The WOW! Awards after Derek Williams approached the company and explained in simple terms the full potential of the scheme and fantastic benefits that could be easily achieved for a small fee. Having also been made aware of the huge achievements of other WOW! users, we realised what an opportunity this was for an organisation like Stevenage Leisure Limited with some 1,000 employees. We discussed the proposal with the senior management team and the Board and we came to the conclusion that it was a “no brainer”.

We decided to trial The WOW! Awards at one of our sites and we could never have predicted how successful it would turn out to be! As a result, we instantly rolled it out across the whole company, with unanimous support from everyone involved. It was then just a question of explaining the process to the teams and informing the customers.

We’ve now been using The WOW! Awards since 2010 and it really didn’t take long at all for the potential to become a reality. We have continued to build upon the success over the past three years. In those three years, we’ve received 313 nominations and 180 certificates.

We are in a competitive market and have to regularly rebid for short-term contracts; The WOW! Awards has helped us to demonstrate how good the company is and as a result retain and win new business.

The WOW! Awards works for SLL, because it is simple for the public to use. We have linked the WOW! process to our electronic customer satisfaction survey which saves time and effort for the employees and managers to facilitate. It also gives instant recognition to those in the company who may otherwise not be acknowledged. We still have work to do at some of our sites, to encourage more customers to nominate employees when they believe they have been wowed! – It’s not that they don’t want to; I think it’s just that some employees are a bit shy and are reluctant to accept or encourage praise, even though they thoroughly deserve it. However, The WOW! Awards has been successful in the vast majority of the sites and we have had absolutely remarkable results.

Everyone who has received a certificate from The WOW! Awards has been literally bowled over. They tell everyone about it and they proudly display their certificates to the public. It gives people the feel good factor that is so hard to come by nowadays! It’s difficult to put an exact price on it, but individuals being recognised for doing something well, is an excellent motivator.

It’s hard to say exactly how much The WOW! Awards process has contributed to our financial performance, however, since starting with WOW, the Company has had three very successful years, not just financially, but from a quality perspective and the achievement of many local and national accreditations and awards, not least IIP and ISO14001.

The WOW! Awards has brought the Board and the employees closer together, by enabling winners to be presented with their certificates by the Chairman at Board meetings.

In a nutshell, using the WOW! Awards, has been a sound business investment. For a small administration fee, SLL is able to give customers the opportunity to say ‘Thank You’ to individual employees who have done something well. Sometimes it is life changing experiences like swimming pool rescues and other times it is simply extending a little courtesy like helping with a customer’s bags. However big or small, there is nothing like seeing the proud smile on an employee’s face, when they receive a certificate from the Chairman in front of the Board!