Employee Benefits Awards 2011: Benefits team of the year

EBAwardsWINNER

Amey nominated by Aon Hewitt

This entry from the large public contract supplier demonstrated its HR and benefits team’s strong links with the organisation’s business strategy. The team is at the heart of what Amey is trying to achieve, playing a key role in helping to meet organisational objectives and being heavily involved in all work bid for and won by the company.

The benefits team is represented at all divisional executive meetings and HR leadership meetings, and works closely with finance on projects. All team members support each other’s projects to achieve maximum efficiency.

This is a team that is willing to take a proactive role in working towards the organisation’s objectives. In 2010, the team identified that two of Amey’s five objectives – to increase operational efficiency, and to ensure it develops, protects and motivates its people – were particularly relevant. In response, it set about developing an organisational structure that better suited Amey, supported by aligned reward and benefits policies.

This included a massive project to redesign and launch a new pensions strategy in order to reduce pensions costs in view of the forthcoming 2012 reforms. This involved introducing salary sacrifice pension contributions, making changes to contribution rates and the design of some pension plans, and providing employee education.

The team never rests on its laurels and was also the first in Amey’s sector to introduce a dedicated wellbeing programme, along with numerous other initiatives.

Results were impressive. In 2010 alone, the impact of its work on organisational structure delivered £20 million savings, and the redesign of Amey’s pensions strategy saved £1 million. Sickness absence has been reduced by 20% since the launch of its wellbeing programme, delivering a cost saving of more than £750,000.

As one judge commented: “Just getting your head around and delivering on the challenges [the team] faced indicates the business is in a much better place as a result.”

HIGHLY COMMENDED

FirstGroup, Reward & Pensions Team nominated by Penkom
The team challenged the view that web-based communication is not effective for a blue-collar workforce and developed its My Rewards website, which gives the company’s workforce a single hub to access their benefits online.

RUNNERS UP

Capital One, HR Team nominated by Secondsight
This team works hard to support the culture of the business, demonstrating good practice, which the judges felt would be worth emulating. Delivered an ambitious benefits strategy and employee engagement reached its highest-ever level.

The City and Guilds of London Institute, Imagine nominated by Thomsons Online Benefits
A new specialist team has relaunched the organisation’s benefits, introduced group income protection, a new sales incentive scheme, a noncash recognition scheme and moved from a final salary pension scheme to a career average plan.

LeasePlan UK, SelectBenefits HR Team nominated by Lorica Employee Benefits
Team members have worked hard to become multi-skilled while introducing significant benefits changes. The team is at the beginning of its current journey, but the judges felt it had real potential.

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Zurich, ZPen
A wide-ranging pensions review triggered a one year period of change for this team to achieve its aim of improving staff engagement with, and understanding of, pensions.

Read more about Award winners