Employee Benefits Awards 2011: Communications strategy of the year for organisations with fewer than 5,000 staff


Sage UK, Select entered by Thomsons Online Benefits

As a business management software firm, Sage UK’s employee demographics presented it with a number of communications challenges. It has a diverse employee base working in customer services, sales, research and
development, IT and central functions, and needed communications that could break through the negativity that previously surrounded its benefits scheme.

Recognising that a competitive benefits package is key to retaining talented employees, Sage was faced with the challenge of offering competitive perks but dealing with an employee perception of the opposite. It therefore took a new approach to its benefits communication. In 2008, a feasibility study for the introduction of flexible benefits
highlighted a need for change, while focus groups showed almost no awareness among staff of benefits such as life assurance, income protection, childcare vouchers and a tax-free bikes-for-work scheme.

Sage implemented its Select benefits scheme in November 2009, including employer- and employee-funded benefits. It set communications objectives, such as increasing the understanding of pay and benefits, hoping to encourage 90% to log on to total reward statements and 80% to sign up to pension salary sacrifice, and changing employee perceptions of benefits.

The entrant addressed the issue of its diverse workforce with communications designed to have universal appeal, including videos, T-shirts, posters and animations. It tackled the issue of negative or uninterested employees by making the new benefits scheme fun with a teaser campaign that included a chocolate selection box. The aim was to dispel assumptions and preconceptions, and restore enthusiasm in the benefits scheme.

Sage surpassed its targets, with 96% of staff logging on to their total reward statements within three weeks, and 98% of pension scheme members signing up to pensions salary sacrifice. A post-implementation survey found 91% of respondents understood their benefits, and 89% agreed they knew the value of their salary and benefits.


B Braun Medical, Essence
The strategy included creating an internal reward brand based on herbs and a launch event where herbal teas were offered to staff. As a result of clever branding, an employee survey showed 98% were highly satisfied or satisfied with their benefits.


Dunnhumby entered by Bluefin
When this entrant changed its group personal pension provider, it focused communications on explaining the rationale, the joining process and on re-engaging staff in its flexible benefits scheme.

Moneysupermarket.com Group, ichoose entered by Lorica Employee Benefits
A range of communications, including a comparison site, were used to promote a range of perks. As a result, 77% of employees logged on to ichoose.

Southco, Southco Benefits Schemeentered by BHSF
This manufacturer wanted to create a single focal point for its benefits. Written communications, roadshows, benefits booklet and meetings helped to raise awareness of benefits to 100%.

Sumito Mitsui Banking Corporation, Advantage entered by Vebnet
The bank created a new brand identity to bring together pay, pension, bonus and benefits, using focus groups and surveys to check staff opinions.

Vinci Construction UK, Options entered by Personal Group
After carrying out a full review benefits, in 2010 this diverse firm launched flex; its communications strategy included employee from the outset.

Read more about the Award winners