The Distrelec Group comprises 14 sites across Europe, with its corporate headquarters located in the UK. Since COVID-19 forced Distrelec’s employees to work from home, the company has operated almost entirely remotely. Like many distribution companies, Distrelec had been operating with a more traditional approach to HR—seeing it as a service provider rather than a strategic partner. COVID-19 and a recent digital and cultural transformation became a catalyst for rebranding the HR team to the People and Culture team. With Nick Holmes, Head of People and Culture, leading this change, Distrelec set out to invest in a new HRIS that put people and culture at the front and center.

Founded in
1973
Headquarters
Manchester, UK
Employees
400+ in 14 sites
What they do
Distribution company
In a nutshell
Distrelec is a leading European distributor of electronics, automation, and measurement technology, working with over 1,000 industry-leading brands.

Employees
400+ in 14 sites

What they do
Distribution company

Becoming a more data-driven organization

As part of their culture shift, Distrelec understood that an HRIS was essential for focusing on, celebrating, and investing in their people. To make a real impact, they needed quantifiable data on metrics such as attrition, retention, and absenteeism.

bob provides easy to understand people data 

The People and Culture team at Distrelec now uses bob to gain a 360-degree view of the company and extract insightful people data. With health taking center stage during the pandemic, reviewing instances of absenteeism, for example, may shed light on issues such as employees struggling with mental health due to working remotely, continuous lockdowns, or any other number of reasons. This data allowed them to take special notice of these employees. It has also alerted them to the need for better communication around all available resources for employees to take advantage of.

With employees working in 14 sites across Europe, having the means to centralize and monetize data is crucial, both for improving internal processes and reporting to the Board. This data is also able to drive their work towards creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace. By using the equal opportunity section in bob and asking employees to fill in various identifiers, including race, gender, and sexual orientation, they are able to look at the data and see how they’re doing on various DE&I KPIs as well as “celebrate people for who they are at work.”  

“bob is the heartbeat of the company… it’s where everyone gets their information and it drives behavior.”
Nick HolmesHead of People and CultureDistrelec Group

Managing a remote launch and implementation

Becoming people and culture-driven with an entirely remote workforce isn’t easy. As bob would be the tool to drive culture at Distrelec, they needed to make sure that employees found value quickly. How would the company manage a successful, engaging, and fun remote launch of bob while also providing employees with the tools to get started? 

Planning and building a fun and engaging launch 

In order to ensure a smooth and engaging rollout, the People and Culture team at Distrelec set up a steering committee and started planning all aspects of how they would launch bob. Over the course of four weeks before the launch, they sent out a wide range of communications to engage employees, including fun games, videos, and memes. They also provided additional technical support in a series of webinars and local online workshops. These “short, sharp, and often” communications created high engagement and built a sense of community around bob’s launch.

Distrelec’s workflow integrations

Building culture among employees across sites 

Besides the challenges of launching bob remotely, Distrelec also needed to make sure that once employees started using bob that it became part of their everyday work life. With employees working across 14 sites in Europe speaking different languages as well as following varying local practices and regulations such as hiring, compensation, and work processes, they had a lot to consider. 

bob creates customizable and localizable experiences

bob was built for global companies with multiple offices, supporting local languages, currencies, and regulations. Distrelec can choose how to set up bob in each site and when to centralize communications or target them according to site or language. This customizable option has been crucial for supporting Distrelec’s multinational teams. 

Another way Distrelec has been able to customize experiences above and beyond physical location is through clubs and hobbies in bob. When it comes to recognition and rewards, Distrelec has chosen to look at what hobbies and clubs an employee belongs to and, instead of sending a general piece of branded swag, send a specific gift based on that employee’s interests.

“bob has given me more time back to deliver the really innovative, value-added projects. Now I no longer spend hours on reporting and pulling data from different sources, as bob is the single source of truth.”
Nick HolmesHead of People and Culture at Distrelec Group

Main takeaways

  • With bob, Distrelec now has access to people data, enabling them to bring about meaningful change.
  • bob provides Distrelec’s employees with a platform for engagement, both centrally and per site.
  • Distrelec was able to drive a fun and engaging launch of bob, even while their employees were working remotely.
  • Distrelec uses employees’ hobbies and interests to get to know them better and personalize rewards.
  • With employees working across 14 European countries, with different languages, practices, and regulations, bob’s customization and localization features are crucial.