New culture program unites employees to core values and purpose

Woolworths Group Supply Chain is the largest business supply chain in Australia and New Zealand. With over 7,000 employees, the majority of which work in their transport and distribution centre network, Woolworths has the big responsibility of ensuring food and drinks are available for the 29.6 million Woolworths shoppers annually.

woolworths employee participating in safety training
In the hearts and minds of the Australian public, Woolworths are, “The fresh food people” and today’s consumer expects more than ever. Expectations that Woolworths needs to exceed if they are to secure their place in the hearts and minds of consumers for another 100 years.

The challenge

With competition in the Australian market intensifying, the need to deliver fresh goods in full, on time and error free for the Australian consumer is greater.

With an ambitious new leadership team in place and an exciting strategy for growth, Woolworths Group Supply Chain knew they needed to do something to engage their 7,000 employees. They wanted everyone to feel excited about their impact and purpose to feed Australia and New Zealand and help them celebrate, and to understand the Woolworths Group Values and Ways of Working. They wanted each employee to feel accountable for creating a culture that would deliver the type of experiences for customers that meant Woolworths would always be their first choice.

The idea was to create a culture at Woolworths Group Supply Chain where everyone understood their role in putting the customer 1st. Thus, Customer 1st Champion (C1C) was born. We started with a 2-day foundation program that brought to life the purpose of Woolworths Group: the values, ways of working and the essentials of operating a safe and efficient warehouse and transport operation.

To get the leaders ready for the roll-out of the ambitious program, we provided three offsites with the senior leadership team and a series of alignment events with the site operational leadership teams. To ensure the program was delivered to maximum quality, but by Woolworths people, we embarked on a national recruitment campaign to find the perfect team of Woolworths Group Supply Chain facilitators to spread the word about C1C.

woolworth's employee driving forklift in distribution warehouse

The creative theme

Like a sporting champion, you don’t become a champion overnight. You need to understand what you’re working toward, and hone your skills and behaviour every day to win gold. It’s the same for a C1C. For that reason, we used a strong sporting metaphor for the program.

Sport holds a fond place in the heart of many Australians but also provides useful metaphor for: understanding where you’re heading, understanding your current ability and knowing what you need to do to achieve the goal. The metaphor was used in a vibrant creative concept as well as for gamification throughout the immersive two-day program.


In the first 18 months of the program, Woolworths experienced two meaningful results.

20-point increase

in employee engagement


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