Employee Benefits Award winners 2022

  • Best Benefits to Support Staff Post-Pandemic

  • Winner: Saga

    This award recognises an organisation that has offered the most effective new employee benefits to help staff following the global healthcare crisis.

    During the course of the pandemic, Saga adopted a clear hybrid-working model, which it has carried into a post-pandemic world to help employees better manage their work and home lives. To support this, it introduced a wide range of initiatives including: a pregnancy loss policy, extended paid leave on the premature birth of a baby, day one entitlement to family friendly benefits and enhanced maternity, adoption and parental policies.

    In recognition of its older workforce demographics, the organisation also extended eligibility for its on-site nursery to employees’ grandchildren and launched grandparents leave, offering all employees one week of paid leave following the birth of a grandchild. As the first employer to offer this benefit, the move generated a great deal of positive media attention.

    The judges said: “What a great idea. Offering grandparents leave is brilliant and fits really neatly with Saga's goal of being the employer of choice for older workers. Grandparents leave is truly an innovation and, I'm sure, something that would be valued by older employees and their families.”

    The winner said: “We’re really glad we supported our employees during the pandemic. We revamped our policies post-pandemic and linked them to our brand of supporting those aged above 50. Just having the mindset of recognising that even during the pandemic our staff became parents and grandparents felt key, and we wanted to support them to carry on working, with the choice of flexibility.”

    Runners up:

    Morgan Stanley

    Northern Care Alliance

    Card Factory

    Sponsored by:

  • Best Benefits Communication

    Winner: Aldi Stores

    This award is given to an employer that has demonstrated an effective and innovative approach to benefits communications, be it face-to-face, print, social or digital media.

    With 37,500 employees spread across over 900 stores, three national offices and 11 regional distribution centres (RDC), it can be challenging for Aldi Stores to ensure its benefits communications reach everyone. It developed an adaptable communications plan that allows tailored communications to desired audiences, at strategic times throughout the year.

    Throughout the year, Aldi Stores distributed communications through various methods, including digital articles on its internal staff platform, MyAldi, which highlighted existing, new and improved benefits; business update videos from senior leaders; promoted benefits on social media; and introduced a table-talker cube placed in offices, RDCs and stores which includes benefits information and a QR code link to MyAldi.

    Aldi Stores noted improved engagement and viewing statistics with its benefits site, as well as an increase in employee take up of benefits..

    The judges said: “Aldi demonstrated innovative communication techniques that really suited its workforce. It kept communications fun and vibrant, and expressed genuine care for its employees’ engagement and wellbeing. This was a very comprehensive strategy with high workforce take up.”

    Highly commended: BNP Paribas

    Runners up:

    Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

    Intermediate Capital Group

    Jonathan Wood

    Oxford Nanopore Technologies


  • Best Financial Wellbeing Strategy – Small Employer

    Winner: Claranet UK

    This category is for small employers that have taken a proactive approach to their workforce’s financial needs and have supported staff in the making of financial, retirement or investment-related benefits decisions.

    Claranet UK was judged to be a stand-out winner due to the steps it took to engage employees with their financial wellbeing and improve financial literacy.

    Faced with the challenge of better engaging employees with the financial wellbeing benefits on offer, Claranet UK embarked on a 12-month long employee wellbeing programme. This incorporated a wide range of initiatives designed to support employees’ financial wellbeing. A key focus for the organisation was to take a personalised approach to financial wellbeing in recognition of employees’ personal financial goals and priorities.

    This tailored approach impressed the judges who particularly liked how the organisation engaged employees, using tools such as unique ‘attitude to money’ personas and tailored webinars, all of which achieved impressive results.

    The judges said: “A comprehensive financial wellbeing strategy, that appears fun and engaging for employees. Based on the impressive results, the programme is clearly valued by employees.”

    The winner said: “It’s amazing to win, we’re so happy. So much effort has been put into prepping this and getting it out to the business. The current context of the world is really hard, so the fact that we were able to find the tools and be able to deliver it has been amazing. This benefit in particular gave everyone the ability to have the education on how to make life a bit better for themselves if we weren’t able to do that for them.”

    Runners up:

    Honest Burger

    Jazz Pharmaceuticals

    Sponsored by:

  • Best Financial Wellbeing Strategy – Large Employer

    Winner: Clipper Logistics

    This category is for large employers that have taken a proactive approach to their workforce’s financial needs and have supported staff in the making of financial, retirement or investment-related benefits decisions.

    Clipper Logistics was one of the first logistics organisations to introduce a wage access platform after identifying an ongoing issue among its warehouse employees. Approximately 75% of this population are non-UK nationals and each month the organisation experienced a significant number requesting salary advances or taking out payday loans in order to send money to their families around the world.

    Alongside this, the organisation also noticed that a number of its agency workers were not willing to move across to be directly employed by Clipper Logistics, which would give them greater job security, because they did not want to move from a weekly to monthly pay cycle.

    The judges were impressed with the steps Clipper Logistics took to support these employees, in order to offer greater job security and aid their financial wellbeing. As well as introducing access to an earned wage platform, through which staff can take a degree of control over when they are paid, the organisation invested a great deal of time and effort in face-to-face communications around its launch.

    This commitment to face-to-face communications achieved impressive results, with 40% take up and nearly 1,000 employees accessing their wages through the platform in the first three months. The organisation also saw a significant increase in the number of agency workers moving to direct employment.

    The judges said: “It had a very strong impact on particular business challenges. It feels like something that was needed and taken up.”

    The winner said: “It’s all about the employees, I believe we offer them a good service. A lot of hard work went into this from our HR and payroll teams. A lot of communication, roadshows, putting it out there for the employees. Because we pay on a monthly basis, the fact that they can get their wages as and when is a great benefit.”

    “Changing our processes and adapting them so that we can give a good service to the individuals and make it real for them. [It was important to do this] so we could educate employees so that they could have greater financial security, better understanding and financial wellbeing.”

    Runners up:



    Sponsored by:

  • Best Pensions Strategy

    Winner: University of Lincoln

    This award recognises an employer that has developed a pensions strategy that best meets the needs of its workforce.

    After recognising that the majority of its large population of student workers with campus jobs did not meet the minimum earnings threshold for auto-enrolment, the University of Lincoln decided to introduce an alternative form of pensions saving for this group. The resulting workplace savings scheme auto-enrols this group of student employees into an individual savings account (Isa) of their choice, enabling them to contribute up to 4% of salary each month, which is matched by the employer. If an individual meets the minimum earnings requirements under auto-enrolment, they can opt to be enrolled into the organisation’s pension scheme instead. All workers are also able to opt out if they wish.

    A key aim of the initiative is to instil positive savings habits among this group and educate workers about employee benefits and financial resilience.

    Since its introduction, 648 students have enrolled in the scheme, with an 8% opt-out rate in line with average UK pensions opt-out rate.

    The judges said: “A very innovative design to encourage retirement savings for a group that ordinarily miss out on savings. Great idea and good results.”

    The winner said: “We’re delighted to win, we really didn’t think we stand a chance of winning in a category about pensions. We’ve been working on how young savers, in particular, can find savings vehicles relevant for them to engage with alongside pensions. We genuinely feel that the work we’ve done could change society for young savers and it’s lovely to be recognised.”

    Runners up:

    BNP Paribas


    Jacob Douwe Egberts


  • Best Mental Health Strategy

    Winner: Lendlease

    This award recognises an employer that has made a concerted effort to address employee stress and mental ill-health in the workplace.

    Lendlease is acutely aware that the construction industry has one of the highest rates of suicide in the UK, and so has made a commitment to tackle this problem. In addition to signing the Time to Change pledge and taking part in Mind’s annual workplace wellbeing index, it was determined to create a mental health offering that truly supports its employees and help to reduce the rates of suicide in the industry.

    Lendlease overhauled its internal mental health strategy but also implemented a series of industry-wide support initiatives in order to reach all construction workers. It introduced mental health first aid training for its employees, mental health workshops, access to wellbeing tools, and wellbeing leave, among other initiatives. Its industry-wide approach included the founding of Building Mental Health initiative, opening up its mental health first aid training to other workers in the industry, and co-founding the Loneliness Lab.

    The judges were impressed with Lendlease's strategic vision to fight the challenging trend of suicide among male workers, and its recognition that this is a gender- and sector-specific issue.

    The judges said: “Lendlease is trying to make a notable change in a very hard-to-reach area. The move to set up a variety of systems to manage mental health is encouraging, it is also positive to see the take up and impact on staff sickness. The innovation to set up a loneliness hub and to not only focus on the organisation but also industry-wide wellbeing and mental health is powerful.”

    The winner said: “It’s amazing to have won, and its testament to all the hard work the team at Lendlease has put in. Everything from mental health first aiders, to our wellbeing champions and our health and safety team. It’s a really big team effort, so this recognises what we do.”

    Runners up:


    Welcome Break

    West Midlands Police Force

  • Best Healthcare and Wellbeing Benefits

    Winner: Blood Cancer UK

    In this category, the judges were looking for a successful health and wellbeing strategy that has helped to boost productivity or engagement through employee wellbeing.

    Blood Cancer UK has focused on ensuring its employees have been able to thrive rather than just survive, and to stay connected to its mission of beating blood cancer within a generation.

    The organisation faced challenges that included a quarter of its workforce on furlough, a forced restructure due to loss of funding because of Covid-19, and the subsequent redundancy of 30 employees, and, because it is a charity, it had to work with small budgets and be creative in how it supports its staff.

    Blood Cancer UK ensured wellbeing was a cross-cutting theme in its policies and procedures, performance management processes, organisational values, and in its work on equality, diversity and inclusion. It provides dedicated resources for staff and set up a wellbeing hub.

    The judges said: “This entry is a case study of how to 'walk the talk'. It is a great example of how a small organisation can deliver great wellbeing projects, which were especially helped with buy-in from the CEO and senior executives. The organisation has embedded mental health and wellbeing pillars into the lives of its workforce. The tangible results, such as the impact on attrition and engagement scores, were very impressive for a low-cost initiative, against the backdrop of an organisation that has had to make redundancies.”

    The winner said: “It’s really good to get recognition. We took wellbeing and integrated it into every area of our work was really crucial. We introduced additional flexibility, wellbeing days that staff can take for their mental health, and have had sessions in order to get the message of support out to our staff. We’ve had great feedback on this from our staff through our surveys.”

    Runners up:

    East Riding of Yorkshire Council

    North Yorkshire County Council

    Page Group - Michael Page International Recruitment

  • Best Voluntary Benefits

    Winner: British Airways

    For this award, the judges were looking for an organisation that has either launched or revamped its use of staff-paid, voluntary benefits or staff deals. These are benefits that are available for employees to take up at any time throughout the year.

    Against the backdrop of the Covid-19 crisis, British Airways had little opportunity to financially reward its 29,000 employees. Recognising that it needed to come up with an innovative way to maintain or improve employee retention, while delivering cost savings and ensuring any initiative aligned with its ethos of putting sustainability at its heart, it introduced an electric car leasing scheme with tax and national insurance (NI) savings for staff and the employer. The scheme aligned with the organisation’s sustainability programme, BA Better World.

    In the first nine months, British Airways received more than 730 orders for vehicles and is on track to deliver 1,000 cars before the first anniversary of the scheme’s launch. Employees have saved more than £340 per month in tax and NI savings on average, and the employer has saved more than £46,000 in NI contributions.

    The judges said: “This was a great way to support employees who, due to the industry, suffered financially during the pandemic. It was a great approach to engagement too. It is a simple, focused and extremely well-executed benefit. Going electric only was a great move as it fits under its Better World programme.”

    The winner said: “We are really pleased to have won. It was really important for us to do something for our [employees] during Covid, so to be able to introduce a new benefit was great and it’s been really well received.

    “One of the things we do really well at BA is we listen to what our [employees] want, and electric vehicles and sustainability has been really at the core of what we’ve focused on over the last few years, despite the pandemic. We wanted to do something that enhanced their benefits offering when things were quite a struggle for us as an organisation. It’s been really well received and the take up has been great.”

    Runners up:

    Morgan Stanley

    Northern Care Alliance

    Card Factory

  • HR or Benefits Team of the Year

    Winner: Wood

    This category celebrates an in-house HR or benefits team that has worked to deliver benefits that meet the HR and business strategies of their organisation.

    Following a reorganisation in 2020, which saw Wood move from a regional model to three global business units, the organisation’s reward teams merged to form a hemisphere model and operate as a centre of excellence within a global matrix organisation. This move was intended to enable to team to better meet the requirements of the new organisational model.

    Its Eastern Hemisphere reward team now supports approximately 18,500 employees across 47 countries. Despite the scale of the business unit it supports, this reward team comprises just seven people, based across Australia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the UK. The global nature of the team means it is able to better connect with stakeholders across the hemisphere, using flexible working hours where necessary to overcome the challenges of working across multiple time zones and be able to speak to people in person rather than via email.

    Since its formation in 2021, the team has achieved a great deal, including the implementation of the real living wage in the UK, pay equity reporting to senior business leaders, increased availability of salary bands and 82% completion of job mapping to global job frameworks.

    The judges felt that the strategic focus of Wood’s reward team was to be commended. They were impressed with the range of skills and expertise evident on the team, which can be difficult to achieve, especially with a smaller team.

    The judges said: “An innovative way of resourcing projects globally, with local application. All team members seem to have unique skills which complement each other.”

    The winner said: “We’ve very proud to win this award. It was a proper team effort from across the eastern hemisphere. We cover 24 countries from Ireland to New Zealand and this can be challenging at times, so it’s good to get recognised for our work. We work well as a team, we’ve all got different skills that are complementary to each other, so we bring them all together and learn as we go.”

    Highly commended:

    Pinsent Masons

    Runners up:

    FTI Consulting

    Welcome Break

    Sponsored by:

  • Best Benefits to Support Menopause, Fertility or Pregnancy

    Winner: Aster Group

    For this award, the judges were looking for a benefits offering that supports staff with their menopause, fertility or pregnancy journey.

    Aster Group’s approach to achieving an inclusive culture has been about open and honest communication, and when it became clear that the menopause was a big contributor to stress and anxiety among staff, it realised that more action was needed to give its people the right type of support.

    Aster Group set up a focus group and held menopause specific sessions with a menopause coach, subsequently recruiting 10 menopause champions. It also signed up to Menopause Matters’ menopause at work campaign.

    It has held several tailored awareness sessions for employees of all genders, and has on-going initiatives designed for the needs of various groups, whether they are experiencing menopause themselves, supporting someone else, or just want to be better informed.

    Aster Group saw impressive results including over 350 employees attending menopause sessions, and since the proportion of its workforce that said it felt uneasy discussing the menopause has dropped from 43% to just 4%.

    The judges said: “This entry is a forerunner in the introduction of menopause support in the workplace. The organisation took something that was considered a taboo subject and made it a mainstream, inclusive topic. It shows that Aster is a leader in this area with tangible results demonstrated in the take up of its menopause support programmes.”

    Highly commended: BP

    Runners up:


    Clifford Chance

    IHS Markit


    John Lewis Partnership

  • Best Pensions Communications

    Winner: BT

    The winning employer in this category has in place a successful strategy that helps to boost employee knowledge, and understanding, of pensions and the need to plan for retirement.

    Over the past 12 months, BT has focused on a mission to engage and inform the more than 71,000 members of its defined contribution (DC) pension scheme in order to help them make the best decisions and achieve the best possible outcomes. Specifically, it aimed to increase digital engagement through: email open rates of more than 50%, increased mobile app registrations of more than 20%, increased member dashboard views of more than 40%, increased webinar attendance and engagement, and increased employee satisfaction survey scores.

    To achieve this, BT rolled out a number of new communications from May 2021, including personalised video content, content for its Facebook at Work site such as bite-sized articles and videos, a revamp of the scheme website, strategically timed emails based on previous interactions and learned AI behaviour, newsletters and ‘always-on’ communications via its employee engagement programme and webinars for all members.

    The judges felt that BT’s use of digital and data-driven communications was to be applauded. They particularly liked its use of personalised communications, which can be difficult to achieve.

    The judges said: “BT listened to what employees wanted and in response adapted communications. The results evidence the communications have made a very strong impact and engaged a large number of employees.”

    The winner said: “We are delighted to have won. It’s been a lot of work, we’d like to thank Standard Life for their support, the personalised video in particular, and the support provided to our employees. It is absolutely key for us to focus on [communications], for our [employees] to be aware of their benefits, to be informed and to act. We are seeing more involvement.”

    Runners up:

    BNP Paribas


    Honest Burger

    Credit Suisse/Trustee of the Credit Suisse Group UK Pension Fund

    Leicester City Council


  • Best use of benefits technology

    Winner: Prezzo

    This award recognises how an employer has best utilised and adapted technology to suit its benefit package, its business aims and the needs of its employees.

    With a geographically dispersed workforce comprising a range of nationalities, ethnicities and ages, Prezzo’s benefits strategy is centred around technology and communication. Ensuring its workforce is able to access 24/7 when they need it, while supporting staff who are not tech savvy or do not speak English as their first language. To ensure ease of use for employees, the organisation has created a single platform, branded ‘Tutto’ (meaning everything in Italian), which incorporates its internal communications channel, employee directory, employee self-service, its wellbeing initiatives and employee reward, among others. Prezzo has also integrated its Wagestream platform into Tutto.

    In November 2021, Prezzo also moved to digital first approach for employee recognition, away from traditional cash incentives, with the launch of its reward and recognition platform, Grazie. Designed to drive a culture of recognition and appreciation, the platform encourages employees to send non-financial awards and peer-to-peer recognition to colleagues. Employees can also be awarded e-points, which they can spend via the platform at a wide range of retailers.

    The organisation’s offering clearly resonates with employees; in the first three months following Grazie’s launch, 66% of staff had registered to use the platform, with more than 13,500 e-cards being sent by staff during the same period.

    The judges said: “A great example of how an organisation can overcome the dispersed nature of a workforce. Prezzo has clearly worked to meet the needs of all its employees. Putting it all in one place is something other employers could aspire to.”

    The winner said: “[We have] a combination of departments working together to make sure that our teams want to stay and work at Prezzo. Covid has made us look at how we do benefits differently, so the use of technology has been absolutely key. We work within 148 different locations so technology is key to make sure that communication is clear from the top down bottom up.”

    Runners up:

    Capital One

    Clifford Chance

    Sponsored by:

  • Best Motivation or Recognition Scheme

    Winner: Nationwide Building Society

    For this award, the judges were looking for a successful motivation strategy that uses either incentives or motivational rewards to help drive employee performance, engagement or retention.

    Nationwide set out to create a recognition proposition that reflected the culture of the organisation. It brought together four elements within its new Appreciate platform to create a single point of access for all employees. These were: a refreshed and expanded e-card offering aligned to organisational values; anytime financial awards that can be sent by any permanent employee; long-service awards and annual awards.

    Nationwide designed a communications campaign to engage its diverse workforce through different channels, including a webcast, a campaign slogan, a recognition poem and personal stories of recognition shared on Nationwide Radio.

    Since its launch, the Appreciate platform has seen an average of around 60,000 logins per month, and over 200,000 e-cards have been sent.

    The judges were impressed with the way that Nationwide has embedded staff recognition in the organisation’s values.

    The judges said: “Nationwide has used innovative methods to engage staff, such as webcasts, radio interviews, and poems. It has a clearly-articulated strategy with creative and progressive innovations to boost the motivation and morale of its workforce.”

    The winner said: “We’re so pleased to have won. We utilised our own internal radio network to communicate our recognition scheme to employees, as our branch staff can be hard to reach and connect with. We used one of our external marketing poets used in our TV adverts to launch our recognition scheme during the pandemic. We not only used a poem to launch it but also offered any member of staff who was the most engaged with the platform the chance to get their own poem for a family member or friend.”

    Highly commended: NHS Business Services Authority

    Highly commended: Ocado Group

    Runners up:


    Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

    Global Aerospace


    Welcome Break

  • Best Supplier to Work For

    Winner: Benenden Health

    This award recognises an organisation that uses its benefits package to position itself as an attractive employer, beyond merely offering its own products and services to its workforce.

    Benenden Health rolled out a new online benefits platform and introduced a range of new flexible benefits to enable employees to tailor their benefit package to suit their lifestyle. The benefits range from health assessments, buying and selling annual leave and time off for volunteering. The organisation sees these as integral to supporting the work-life balance of its employees. Initiatives such as online wellbeing classes and time off for a wellbeing day, have increased productivity and alleviated presenteeism among its workforce.

    Benenden Health saw results not only in the health and wellbeing of its staff but made cost savings through salary sacrifice arrangements.

    The judges said: “Benenden Health has a good benefits portfolio for a small, non-profit organisation. The organisation has implemented some impressive solutions while boosting benefit take-up levels and delivering tax and national insurance savings.”

    The winner said: “It’s so exciting to be nominated and then to win as well. I’m really proud to work for Benenden Health. We have done so much to support our employees, not just through the pandemic, but continually supporting them with health and wellbeing, work-life balance, mental health, and just to be recognised for all that we do as an employer is fantastic.”

    Highly commended: Caboodle Technology

    Runners up:



  • Best Benefits to Support Work-Life Balance

    Winner: MRL Consulting Group

    In this category, the judges were looking for strategies that offer greater flexibility to help support employees manage their lives outside work, as well as their own wellbeing and wider workplace experience.

    MRL Consulting set out to boost productivity, reduce sickness, staff turnover and burnout, and give employees a better work-life balance forever. After a six-month trial, it implemented a four-day working week permanently. Every member of staff gets Friday off, working a nine-hour shift from Monday to Thursday. After five years of employment, every member of staff receives a fully-paid one month sabbatical and £1,000 for flights on top of their annual holiday allocation.

    MRL Consulting also introduced flexible working to allow its employees to work to a schedule that suits them. In addition, it offers duvet days and childcare leave: three times a year, every member of staff is able to take the day off with zero notice.

    The organisation has seen a 10% increase in headcount over six months in its Hove office, and its staff retention stands at 80% across all three of its offices.

    After six months of operating on a four-day week, short-term absence reduced by 40% and productivity increased by 25% across all three offices. In addition, 95% of its employees said that they felt more rested after a three-day weekend, and 87% said their mental health was more balanced.

    The judges said: “MRL Consulting Group demonstrated an inclusive approach to supporting the work-life balance of its employees, with benefits that have a positive impact on all, such as the move to a four-day working week and paid sabbaticals. It is impressive to see a small organisation thrive during the pandemic.”

    The winner said: “It’s incredible to win, the company has worked really hard for this. We have employees who have been with us for 20 years and it’s because of things like this, offering staff a four-day week and securing a good work-life balance for all, particularly as our youngest member of staff is 20 and our oldest is 60, which is a wide range. We also allow staff to take a month-long sabbatical after five years, which encourages them to stay with us for five years and more.”

    Highly commended: Saga

    Runners up:

    Blood Cancer UK

    East Riding of Yorkshire Council

    Morgan Stanley

    Vertex Pharmaceuticals

  • Best Flexible Benefits Plan

    Winner: BNP Paribas

    This award recognises the most effective delivery of benefits through a flexible benefits plan.

    BNP Paribas’ overarching benefits strategy is to have a best-in-class offering, with the same look and feel across multiple entities, suitable for a diverse workforce, available to all on the same terms, easily accessible and giving as much flexibility as possible.

    Its flexible benefits system, Spectrum, is fundamental to achieving this. The more than 40 benefits available offer staff over one million possible benefits permutations. The organisation consistently works with providers to enhance the options on offer, in many cases, launching market-leading benefits for staff. In the past year alone, it has added support for neurodiversity to its private medical insurance plan, the first workplace scheme to do so, and a wellbeing initiative giving employees £250 to spend on their and their families’ wellbeing.

    The judges were impressed with the excellent range of innovative benefits on offer, each of which would work equally well on their own. Overall, the scheme was judged to be extremely well thought through and provided something for everyone.

    In 2022, BNP Paribas achieved its highest ever percentage of employees accessing the system to both review their benefits and make active selections; an impressive result given the already highly utilised and mature scheme.

    The judges said: “The selection of benefits on offer is brilliant. They put a lot of time and energy into ensuring there is something for everybody. It made me want to work there.”

    The winner said: “We work across nine different group entities so there’s a big team of us. It’s great to get the recognition. We are pleased to have won Best flexible benefits plan because we have over 40 benefits and our nine entities have different variations of benefits. There’s a lot of work that goes into it.”

    Runner up:


    Sponsored by:

  • Benefits Professional of the Year

    Winner: Natalie Jutla, EVP and employee benefits lead, Department for Defra Group (Department for Environmental, Food and Rural Affairs).

    The winner is an individual who is trailblazing with the initiatives they have introduced and has made their mark on the industry.

    Natalie’s passion and dedication is widely recognised throughout the employee benefits industry. Her achievements at Defra Group in the last few years alone are second to none, having a huge impact on the organisation. These include the harmonisation of benefits across 14 organisations within the group, for approximately 27,000 employees, and the implementation of a harmonised employee value proposition (EVP) across the group, to name just a few. However, her real passion lies in financial wellbeing, which led to her introducing the first financial wellbeing programme across civil service (Whitehall) departments.

    Natalie approaches benefits from an employee’s perspective and is not afraid to push boundaries or challenge when required. She is a well-known industry speaker, who is always happy to share her experiences with others.

    Our judges described Natalie as an inspiring individual who is not afraid to push boundaries. Her passion and dedication are second to none. She does not shy away from a challenge and consistently achieves impressive results. A truly worthy winner.

    The judges said: “What an inspiring individual. Clearly an innovator in the civil service.”

    The winner said: “Everything I do comes from my heart and it’s always about the employee experience. We have to be creative with benefits in civil service; but financial wellbeing underpins our whole EVP. I am proud to be a champion of financial wellbeing.”

    Runners up:

    Antonia Bello, Intermediate Capital Group (ICG)

    David Glennon, Trayport

    David Stone, MRL Consulting Group

    Ian Hodson, University of Lincoln

    Jonathan Wood, Wood

  • Grand Prix

    Winner: University of Lincoln

    This prestigious award recognises the most outstanding entry among all of this year’s category winners.

    The judges described the University of Lincoln’s measures to provide an alternative auto-enrolment savings scheme for its population of student workers with campus jobs as transformational, as no other organisation has done anything to provide an alternative method of saving for a group of employees who are not typically eligible for auto-enrolment. They acknowledged that engaging younger employees with pensions can be challenging, yet doing so will have long-term benefits.

    As part of its revolutionary approach, the university worked with student focus groups to identify their financial priorities, literacy, and familiarity with savings products. This approach proved so successful that the university has continued with such interaction with a group of student ambassadors who share feedback with providers and raise awareness of the scheme with other students on campus. As well as providing a targeted relevant financial benefit to student workers, such interaction enables the university to learn from the future workforce about what they are looking for and how to best communicate it.

    Overall, the judges were incredibly impressed by the organisation’s achievements and felt this initiative has the potential scaleability to be adopted more widely.

    The judges said: “Engaging young people will have long-term benefits. Nobody else has done this for this population of workers. It’s transformational.”

    The winner said: “We’re delighted to go home with this award and to have had our strategy described as innovative and something that could really change culture and society going forwards. We’re always happy to be described as forward thinking, especially coming off the back of the pandemic. The world we find ourselves in, where saving for young people is challenging, so any ideas that help them able to save is amazing. We’d love to see this rolled out to other employers who want to help their young employees to save.”

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