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


Siemens, Siemens Benefits Scheme entered by Towers Watson

Siemens was the clear winner in this category for its innovative and clear strategy in communicating its pension scheme. Its ‘Don’t be a Wilf” campaign, which the judges called fun, engaging and memorable, centred on Wilfred Wrongturn, a hapless cyber pensioner.

Wilf was introduced through a series of phased-in communications. In the spring 2010 pensions newsletter, he served as a cautionary tale. In June, a film looked back at Wilf’s life to show how some wrong decisions around workplace savings had impacted on his retirement life. The autumn issue of the newsletter included a Wilf-itude test in which scheme members were offered multiple-choice questions about different aspects of the three-step plan. This lighter treatment of a dry and daunting subject was commended by the judges. They also could see it rolled out more broadly at other organisations.

Also, the firm offered paper and online communications aimed at a workforce dispersed across a wide array of locations, skills, qualifications and pay grades. Central to these communications was the introduction of a simple three-step plan for staff to review and make the most of their pension. The steps encourage staff to think about life in retirement to plan for their future, show them what they already have in savings and highlight Siemens’matching contribution of up to 10%, and suggest ways to choose their own investment strategy. The three steps were threaded through a redesigned pensions newsletter, benefits statements, and online film and knowledge test.

The judges loved the way the Wilf campaign helped to engage pension scheme members with humour and innovation. Its approach has helped the firm build on its communications campaign for the rest of its benefits scheme. Results for the Wilf film included 5,141 viewings with 151 sending it to another colleague, 1,000 Wilf-itude tests taken, and 6,399 online newsletters opened.


E.On, My Choice entered by Benefex
A focus on year-round reward communication impressed the judges. Communications around its flexible benefits scheme were also tailored to demographics. The result was increased take-up, with 5,450 staff submitting new or changed choices to their flex scheme.

FirstGroup, My Rewards Communications Strategy
FirstGroup focused its communications strategy on ensuring its 36,000 staff viewed their benefits holistically and made choices suited to their needs. It launched a new communications website along with simplified printed communications and emails.

HSBC Bank, My Choice 2011
HSBC used a variety of communication channels, from benefits ambassadors and onsite fairs to targeted mailings and SMS texts to the HSBC intranet and a TV film. The judges were enthusiastic about the 1,700 benefits ambassadors, from whom 30% of the workforce learned about My Choice.

Marks & Spencer, Sharesave 2010 entered by Equiniti
Research found M&S staff did not fully understand the benefits of its sharesave schemes. A shake-up of communications saw a personal invitation added to the traditional routes of postal mailings, SMS texts, and online brochures and applications.

Punch Taverns, The Benefits Bar entered by Vebnet
The pub-themed communications campaign featured five characters with different approaches to finances and lifestyle. Through an online character quiz, e-card teasers, mini-introduction guide, videos and roadshows, employees could learn more about the flexible benefits scheme.

Read more about the Award winners