Home Group boosts engagement with benefits and recognition portal

Last year, housing provider Home Group launched Reward Scene – a bespoke, tablet-optimised employee benefits and recognition portal – through its employee benefits provider, Edenred. The initiative has had a positive effect on recruitment and retention.

Home group

If you read nothing else, read this:

  • Home Group has implemented a portal to bring wellbeing initiatives, benefits and recognition schemes together in one place.
  • Its aim was to improve access and usability for employees.
  • Home Group has seen improved take-up and engagement with benefits schemes since moving to the portal.

Previously, Home Group’s benefits, recognition and wellbeing initiatives were delivered across separate platforms, so the new technology enabled employees to access everything from one single place.

Different areas of the portal were created to represent the benefits in the form of a map, divided into three themed zones: Benefits Boulevard, where employees can access flexible benefits and the employee discounts scheme; Hero Heights, the online recognition scheme; and Wellbeing Walk; where employees can access health and wellbeing initiatives and related benefits such as bikes for work.

Communications played a huge part in the launch of Reward Scene because this was crucial in encouraging employees to use it and take advantage of what was available. Staff members were recruited as reward and recognition ambassadors to help promote the scheme and acted as tour guides on launch day. Employees were also given a printed map of Reward Scene with details about each benefit.

Key objective behind new benefits technology

The main objective for moving to a single portal was to make it easier for employees to use and access the benefits and recognition programme. From a business perspective, driving up benefits take-up would have a positive impact on employee engagement levels and support recruitment and retention.

The organisation has over 3,000 employees spread across the country, with varying levels of IT experience. Although a good benefits package had been offered for several years, the system was not user-friendly and employees had to log on to multiple platforms, remembering the password for each. 

Home Group therefore wanted to improve the user experience and provide access to all benefits through one single login.

Moving to a continuously open flexible benefits election window, and embedding videos that explain specific benefits, enables employees to select and change their benefits 24 hours a day, seven days a week, while reducing the time that the HR team spends on benefits administration.

At the same time, the opportunity was taken to align the benefits proposition with Home Group’s brand identity and values. The benefits portal was named Reward Scene to reflect the nature of the employer as a housing and housing services provider in the community. It wanted to create a community of benefits presented in the form of a street map.

Business benefits

Engagement with existing benefits has increased, including take-up of benefits that previously had low visibility, such as discounted breakdown insurance and the bikes-for-work scheme.

Take-up of new benefits has also been strong, with more than 309 orders for technology salary sacrifice, 128 employees opting for gym vouchers and 37 opting for the Gourmet Society Card in the first three months.

Employee reactions 

Overall satisfaction with the benefits package has increased, leading to an increased score in the Great Place to Work survey. Themed street signs such as Learning Lane, Fitness Flyover and Recognition Road make it easy for employees to find what they are looking for and encourage them to explore new benefits in a way that is fun and engaging. For example, employees now refer to benefits by their street name; notably ‘Gadget Gate’, which is a more memorable name than technology salary sacrifice.

Technology helps to meet initial objectives

Home Group created a bespoke portal enabling it to offer all its benefits and recognition schemes in one place. The technology was key to creating quick and easy access to benefits, while improving the way these are communicated to employees.

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The move to the portal has increased benefits take-up across the board and improved perceptions of the benefits packages on offer. Scores in the employee engagement survey are also up 25% since the launch.

Kelly Mitchell is head of people services at Home Group