Celebrating Everyday Heroes with TSOGO Moments

Tsogo Sun is South Africa’s premier hospitality and entertainment group with a portfolio of 14 casinos and 90 hotels in South Africa, Africa, the Seychelles and Middle East. Its vision is to provide excellence across its hospitality and entertainment portfolio.

Following the successful merger of its hotel and gaming interests, the company sought to engage employees under one new unifying vision. A vision based on five core values: Teamwork, Service, Opportunity, Growth and Ownership.

Tsogo Sun’s goal is to develop a sustainable advantage through the alignment of employee behaviour with its brand promise. This involves optimising the potential and capacity of all its employees to deliver distinctive, consistent and compelling guest experiences.

With over eighteen thousand employees working across multiple sites an interactive mobile platform was required to launch a newly developed values-based programme, livingTSOGO Moments. Previously there were two distinct value systems for Tsogo Sun Hotels and Tsogo Sun Gaming with over thirty different values. A variety of rewards programmes were in place, however these were not automated and awards nominations required the nominating person submit a nomination in person to their HOD.

“We needed one company, one logo and one value system,” says Mike Dowsley, Executive Director – Suncoast Casino, Tsogo Sun. “Our employees are our biggest asset and are invaluable in creating great experiences for our guests, it is therefore imperative that our employees guide their work through our five core values.”

livingTSOGO Moments

TSOGO Sun appointed Always Active Mobile, part of the Always Active Technologies Group, to develop a mobile platform for the livingTSOGO Moments Rewards Program; this was brought to life through AAM’s MySuperHero product.

MySuperHero is an employee recognition line that allows all levels of staff to vote and rate each other based on core values that a company is promoting. For instance staff can vote for their peers in recognition of their teamwork or for the excellent service that they provide.

“Voted for staff receive a congratulatory SMS in real time with monthly and annual prizes awarded through the year,” says Alan Haarhoff, General Manager AAM. “Our experience shows us that it is this type of recognition and award system that makes employee recognition programmes so effective.”

MySuperHero utilises reverse billed USSD meaning that the service is free for staff to use and is handset agnostic. Workshops and training programmes teach staff about the programme, they learn how to vote using their mobile phones and about the benefits of voting, which helps drive engagement. While very little momentum was required, local workshops were hosted to help drive registration across all sites. The programme is now also part of the company induction for new joiners.

At Suncoast, the livingTSOGO Moments voting process not only rewards the top people being voted for, it also rewards employees for placing their votes. Dedicated noticeboards drive awareness by promoting the winners onsite.

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“Monthly rewards such as cash prizes, movie tickets, restaurant vouchers and duvet days make it worth being voted for,” says Dowsley. “The annual national prize is an all expenses paid trip to any Tsogo Sun property for a family of four worth R10, 000 which no doubt helps to drive voting.” The national prize is drawn from a pool of six regional winners. Other prizes help promote the Tsogo Sun facilities with awards being redeemable on site at the Spa and restaurants.

MySuperHero offers multiple benefits including real-time reporting and automatic scoring. It runs seamlessly on USSD and Mobi making it a robust solution for anyone with a mobile handset. It is easy to implement and to get staff buy-in. Reports are live and there is no way to “cheat” the system.


Since launching the campaign at Suncoast Casino – Tsogo Sun, there has been a noted drop in disciplinary activity and these days eighty per cent of turnover is transfers and not exits. While employees are not forced to vote, voting is proving to be popular and is now very much part of the organisational culture.

“We have unearthed many gems through livingTSOGO Moments, including discovering quiet achievers who deliver service excellence every day,” says Deshnee Naidu, HR Manager, Suncoast Casino – Tsogo Sun. “The campaign has been very successful as we have moved away from monitoring staff towards appreciation of personal behaviours that drive service excellence.”