In 2016, Norton Rose Fulbright focused its benefits strategy towards creating a proposition that engages all employees.
With 1,100 employees and 200 partners in the UK, the law firm committed to review and refresh its benefits each year to make sure they are fit for purpose and that employees are engaging with them. Vicky Rose, head of reward, wellbeing and global mobility, says: “For us, it’s all about the engagement of our population.”
Flexible benefits launch
The organisation took significant steps towards this in 2015 when it first began planning to introduce a flexible benefits platform in response to requests from staff through various employee forums. “They’ve been asking for this and the business has listened, which is a great thing. It’s a response to employees, also a response to what’s going on in the industry and what other law firms are doing, and making sure that we’re competitive in order that we can attract and retain people.”
Prior to the launch, the organisation put together proposals around which benefits it might include and then looked at all of the providers. Norton Rose Fulbright launched the reward and benefits portal, provided by Thomsons Online Benefits, at the beginning of 2016. “We had to do all the due diligence, make sure all the benefits were working properly, deal with all the providers and make sure that all the connections and reporting were all working in order for us to go live in January,” says Rose. “One of the key reasons we wanted to go live then was because our holiday year runs from 1 February and one of the big new benefits we wanted to introduce was holiday [purchase], so we wanted the 12-month payment period.”
Within an hour of the launch, the scheme had seen 400 log-ins from employees. The organisation operates fixed annual enrolment windows specifically for the holiday purchase scheme and private medical insurance (PMI), but otherwise employees are able to access and update their benefits choices throughout the year.
Norton Rose Fulbright views the flex scheme as an engagement portal, to ensure employees are fully aware of the benefits provided by the employer and what they have access to. To support this, the organisation also launched electronic total reward statements for all employees that are automatically updated when any changes are made to their benefits.
“Prior to that, people knew what they were being paid, but if they didn’t have the benefit they wouldn’t know the value of that, so we wanted to make sure people really understood the value of the benefits offering,” says Rose. “What we provide is a standard suite of benefits that include private medical insurance, group income protection and life assurance, in addition to access to a range of other benefits through the portal. As employees choose, the price reflects in their take-home pay.”
Mental health first aid
Another key focus for Norton Rose Fulbright in 2016 has been employee health and wellbeing, particularly around mental health. The mental health focus is part of a global initiative that began in the organisation’s Australian office. Working with a trainer, Norton Rose Fulbright now has 25 mental health first aiders in its London office and a further 25 in Asia, with the initiative launching in Europe in the new year. Details of the first aiders, along with contact numbers, are available on local offices’ intranet pages. A quiet room is also made available if employees want to talk to the first aider in a comfortable setting.
Rose says: “We want to make sure that people feel they’ve got an inclusive culture in the same way that they’d go to the first aid room because they’ve hurt their arm: that’s visible and easy to detect. It’s not so easy with mental health; we want people to feel that they can talk about it and that there are people here to support them.”
Norton Rose Fulbright has also created a health and wellbeing brand with an annual plan of wellbeing events that are promoted to employees throughout the year. The annual plan is divided into clear themes per quarter, for example, nutrition or exercise. This has included a ‘getting active’ challenge in 2015 where employees could compete and use wearable technology, such as fitness trackers, to log their progress on a leaderboard. It also ran a bake-off challenge in 2015 whereby employees submitted healthy eating recipes that were then baked in the kitchens of its on-site restaurant and are judged by the chefs and the chief information officer.
The organisation has run a health and wellbeing programme in 2016 that focused on topics such as sleep, stress, and nutrition. The on-site restaurant supported this by branding some its meals as ‘healthy’. Norton Rose Fulbright also introduced a dental plan and health screening in September 2016 available through the benefits portal.
“In the last year, it’s become more apparent to our staff that there is a strategy around [health and wellbeing]; we are now providing an annual calendar of health and wellbeing events that is publicised to all,” says Rose.
Looking to the future, Norton Rose Fulbright plans to continue with its commitment to keeping its benefits proposition fresh in order to attract and retain great talent.
Vicky Rose, head of reward, wellbeing and global mobility, joined Norton Rose Fulbright in September 2013. Previously, she held a similar role at Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi, and before that she was reward manager at Inmarsat.
Of her achievements in her career so far, Rose is particularly pleased with her involvement in the launch of flexible benefits at Norton Rose Fulbright at the beginning of 2016. “I project-managed the implementation, from the selection of the providers to implementing it, to communications and dealing with the communications team to launch it,” she explains.
Norton Rose Fulbright at a glance
Norton Rose Fulbright is a global law firm operating in key industry sectors that include financial institutions; energy; transport; technology and innovation; and life sciences and healthcare.
Job roles at the organisation range from associates to of counsel, associates and partners, and also the business services support functions. It has 1,100 employees and 200 partners in the UK.
Benefits available at Norton Rose Fulbright
- Group personal pension for all employees, with a 1% employer and 1% employee contribution.
- The employer offers matching contributions up to a 5% employee contribution.
- The organisation auto-enrolled in 2013, and auto-re-enrolled in November 2016.
- Group income protection, employer paid.
- Life assurance, employer paid.
Healthcare and wellbeing
- Private medical insurance for all employees. Single cover is paid for by the employer, staff can cover partners and dependants through flexible benefits.
- Flu jabs, paid for by the employer.
- Dental plan.
- Health screening.
- Discounted gym membership.
- Private GP service.
- Employee assistance programme.
- Holidays: minimum of 25 days, employees can buy up to five days a year through flexible benefits.
- Childcare vouchers.
- Flexible working arrangements.
- Salary sacrifice car scheme
- Subsidised on-site restaurant.
- Sports and social clubs.
- Retail discounts scheme.
- Mortgage advisory services.
- Will writing.
- Pensions advisory clinic.
- Gourmet Society discount dining.
- Bikes-for-work scheme.