InterContinental Hotels Group tailors benefits to main employee profile


Global hotel chain InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has developed a reward strategy which includes the flexibility to cater to all of the employee profiles it manages.

IHG’s business model means that as a brand-focused franchise business, it only directly manages a small number of its hotels, so its primary workforce comprises head office staff, rather than hotel-based employees. Employees working in franchised hotels, therefore, have separate benefits packages to IHG’s main working population. The organisation also employs general managers for properties in its managed portfolio. Therefore, IHG has to tailor its reward package to accommodate this group of hotel-based employees, as well as its 650 head office-based population.

In order to achieve this, industry benchmarking is key. IHG’s benchmarking process starts by gathering global data from benefits providers. This includes sector-specific data, as well as comparative information from across different sectors and more general industry data. IHG also collects information through special projects it conducts with other similar hotel groups. The pooled data is then managed by a dedicated global reward shared services team.

Stephen Quick, vice president of executive reward at IHG, says: “What’s interesting about that kind of exercise is that it helps identify areas or hotspots where [we] might need to pay a bit more attention or there’s something going on in the market that [we] need to take account of.”

IHG also uses employee feedback to inform its reward strategy. Primarily this is obtained through the organisation’s annual or bi-annual employee engagement survey, typically conducted in November, although it also uses employee forums. “We analyse the results and use that as a basis to take action, so that might be anything from making tweaks to benefits or how we communicate benefits,” says Quick.

The organisation’s benefits package, which staff can access via its benefits portal, Your Benefits Room, includes a range of voluntary benefits, a bonus plan linked to personal or corporate performance and company car schemes or alternatives depending on an employee’s location.

IHG also offers a discounted employee room rate, where staff can book cheaper hotel rooms at any of IHG’s 5,000 hotels worldwide. This is accessed through a separate online portal and is available for head office staff, hotel employees and the owners and management of IHG brand hotels.

“[We] have to balance two things, which is to be flexible enough to be able to tailor packages for people that will work, that will keep them within the organisation and motivated, but at the same time [we] need to keep enough structure around it so that the whole thing doesn’t turn in to a very inconsistent mass of different reward structures,” says Quick. “We’ve found that those design principles are flexible enough to apply in a whole range of different types of roles, but at the same time, they’re close enough together to make sure that we’re driving everyone in the right way.”