When leading on-demand food delivery company Deliveroo wanted to add value to its relationships with employees, contractors and partner restaurants, it found an innovative, agile partner in Irish company Wrkit.
Dublin-based Wrkit specialises in employee engagement software and has developed an innovative modular system that runs on one platform, making engagement easy for users and effective for companies.
“We started out offering lifestyle savings – cinema tickets, shopping discounts, that kind of thing,” explains co-founder of Wrkit, Peter Jenkinson. “But we recognised as we grew that this market is very competitive. That was a challenge but also an opportunity for us to evolve. In order to differentiate us from competitors in the lifestyle space we developed a number of additional modules to supplement the benefits to employees and employers, and launched these new innovations under a new brand: Wrkit.”
Wrkit’s modular system
The five modules currently on the platform cover an extensive range of engagement areas and have created substantial growth opportunities for Wrkit. As well as the original Lifestyle Savings module, the company now offers a powerful Wellbeing module, which helps users to manage their mental and physical health, a Recognition module to celebrate staff accomplishments and drive performance, and a Learning module, linked to proactive and innovative educational and skills partners that encourages continuous personal and professional development. Another module, Surveys, is an invaluable management tool that captures the mood of a business.
“Clients can choose which modules best fit their aspirations and we can tailor these to specific geographical markets,” says Jenkinson. “The beauty of our technology is that it’s scalable. We can serve huge bases, like the NHS, and tiny bases, like a micro company, with pretty much an identical product. We’re aggregating the total opportunity to serve everybody.”
A unique partnership
Wrkit’s engagement with Deliveroo began when it won a bid to provide its lifestyle and learning benefits to the company’s staff.
Like most companies, Deliveroo must recruit, retain and engage staff, but also has to consider contractors (its riders) and an expanding partner restaurant network.
“From day one, Deliveroo was a tremendously interactive community for us. They value the product, and were very engaged across the organisation,” says Jenkinson. “We then won a contract to provide a benefit suite to their riders. That represented a leap for us in terms of our engagement with the client and a demonstration of their trust in us that we could provide an appropriately differentiated product to their employees and their contractors. It was a very valuable opportunity for us, as it was the first time our tool was rolled out for the benefit of a contract audience.”
It was not surprising, then, that Deliveroo contacted Wrkit again when it began to look at how it could add value to its restaurant partnerships.
“We partner with 17,000 restaurants in the UK and Ireland and have developed strong relationships with so many of them,” explains Tom Rae of Deliveroo. “The hospitality industry is facing a number of challenges such as workforce issues and rising costs, especially business rates and rents. So we set out at Deliveroo to use our scale and understanding of these pain points to try and leverage our size and network through partnerships with providers such as Wrkit. That has allowed us to offer more to our Restaurant Partners helping them meet the challenges of operating in a diverse but highly competitive market.
“Because we’re looking at the challenges of recruitment and skills shortages, as well as providing lifestyle benefits, Wrkit stood out from other providers as it has a focus on learning and upskilling modules.
“We also found that Wrkit saw the opportunity to work with us and be flexible. Having only launched Restaurant Partnerships in May 2018, when negotiating with Wrkit we had no real results of how such a scheme would perform. Peter and the team had to take a leap of faith with us, and they were willing to do so. That’s what we needed in a partner.
“This partnership is the first of its kind and sends a clear message to our restaurants that we want to be more than just a delivery partner to them. It helps distinguish our value proposition and is delivering a really valuable programme for our restaurants to enable them to give tangible benefits to their staff. We’re also delighted at the uptake of Wrkit’s learning modules across our partner restaurants, showing a demand for upskilling existing workforces.” adds Rae.
Support for growth
For a company with 24 staff, Wrkit has succeeded in getting in front of some of the world’s biggest names. It counts many multinationals and public sector organisations among its clients including SAP, Microsoft, KPMG, FedEx, Vodafone and the NHS.
And while its largest market is currently the UK, where it forecasts rapid growth, it is also looking to the US.
“The big challenge for a company like us is where to start in the US. We’re lucky in that, due to the popularity of Ireland as a location for US companies, we can often begin the connection with a branch in Cork before moving to the headquarters in California. We’ve also been supported by existing clients that have staff in the US, for example Bank of Ireland and The Doyle Collection. They allowed us to build out our product and, as a result, we connected with a large recruitment company based in Boston. We entered into a joint venture with them and they are now introducing our product to their extensive list of customers. We’ve had some tremendous success already and now have two staff based in Boston,” says Jenkinson.
Another source of support is Enterprise Ireland. The trade agency facilitates connections between Irish and overseas companies through a range of activities including events in key cities.
“One of our largest clients came to us through an event that Enterprise Ireland hosted in London. They were impressed by Enterprise Ireland’s, and the Irish government’s, deep support for Irish companies. Being supported by a government body is an enormous comfort to potential clients,” says Jenkinson. “And on a practical level, the fact that we can host a meeting in Enterprise Ireland’s offices in the centre of London has been a huge boost to us. It’s cost effective and it makes a statement to clients.”
Driving development through partnerships
Just six months into the new modular format of Wrkit’s product, sales are buoyant. But while a doubling of turnover is on the cards just from selling the new modules to existing customers, Wrkit is not resting on its laurels.
“We have a team dedicated to solutions and development and we’re already looking at the next module. The other thing that drives our development is the kind of clients we have. Like Deliveroo, they are invariably innovative, demanding, proactive companies. We don’t just hand stuff to them and walk away. They come back to us, to help us help them, and that’s a key part of our client engagement.”