Drinks firm Beam reviews global benefits

Beam Global Spirits & Wine (GBS&W) has reviewed its global benefits package to create a consistent reward culture, resulting in changes for staff based in the UK, Spain, Germany, Australia, India and the US.

The changes came into effect last month, following a deal whereby Jim Beam Brands took on a number of Allied-Domecq brands, including Laphroaig, Teachers and Harveys, after its parent company Fortune Brands Group supported Pernod-Ricard in the acquisition of Allied-Domecq in 2005.

The enlarged company changed its name to Beam Global Spirits & Wine in January 2006. Its global benefits strategy will now be based on three main strands: pensions, health and medical, and life and disability.

Annelyse Fournier, director international reward, said: “We audited the current benefits practice and analysed the gap in the reward strategy. Most countries were aligned to the desired market positioning and, where needed, we have an action plan to bridge the gap.”

In Spain, for example, it decided to provide private medical cover – a benefit that was previously only available to senior staff – as a core entitlement for all employees. In Australia, meanwhile, GBS&W is considering offering life assurance as a core benefit.

Following the acquisition, the UK is the only country in which Allied Domecq and Jim Beam operations merged, therefore making it necessary to harmonise the two benefits packages.

This harmonisation resulted in changes to the company car scheme, pension plan and product allowances. Under the car scheme, for example, former employees of Jim Beam now receive higher car allowances to bring them into line with former Allied Domecq staff.

The firm has also aligned its two defined contribution plans for new joiners. Unlike current staff, those who join after 1 January 2007 will only be eligible for one contribution level, which is dependent on them also contributing.

Where perks have been reduced, staff will receive a maximum cash equivalent for the first year. For example, the firm’s range of product allowances has now been standardised at 16 bottles per employee each year.