Employee Benefits Awards 2011: Most effective benefits strategy for organisations with fewer than 1,000 staff


The City and Guilds of London Institute, Imagine entered by Thomsons Online Benefits

This entrant offered a creatively branded benefits package via an online portal to support its objectives and business transformation. The strategy also had to address union demands relating to pay at a time when City and Guilds could not afford to increase its fixed costs.

The benefits relaunch complemented other HR activities, such as increasing the focus on improving employee wellbeing via better communication of relevant benefits.

To get better line manager buy-in to projects, managers were involved in communicating the scheme, and there was a new approach to performance management, with the portal highlighting the link between performance and total reward.

Benefits are offered via an online portal, which provides employees with a total reward statement immediately after they log in.

Called Imagine, the City and Guilds scheme gives staff access to a range of benefits. Contractual benefits include holiday trading, defined benefit pension scheme and employee assistance programme. The organisation’s voluntary and flexible offering provides staff with perks such as bikes for work, childcare vouchers and health assessments. The judges praised the organisation’s benefits package and were also impressed that City and Guilds managed to negotiate down its benefits premiums by more than £95,000.

The organisation also ensured it communicated the scheme’s relaunch thoroughly. Its communications plan was tailored to suit the City and Guilds culture and yet demonstrate a new brand identity. An e-booklet was provided to guide staff through their choices, how to use the Imagine site, and the decisions required. Letters and brochures were sent to home addresses to all employees, including new starters. Benefits enrolment windows were themed to focus on pensions and financial awareness, and health and wellbeing.


The Pensions Trust, The Pensions Trust’s Rewards and Benefits Programme
This entrant established that one of the main drivers of engagement for the workforce was the behaviour of its managers. Employees compiled a list of management behaviours that engaged them the most and these were incorporated into a management charter.


Incisive Media, YouChoose
Employees were invited to choose from 17 benefits split into four categories: finance and security; lifestyle; health and wellbeing; discounts and charities. Group presentation, a benefits provider day, two new perks and a website relaunch were all used to promote the scheme.

LeasePlan UK SelectBenefitsentered by Lorica Employee Benefits
To improve the perception of its reward package, LeasePlan offered perks on an online platform and introduced new benefits, including childcare vouchers, holiday purchase and bikes for work.

NYSE Euronet, iChooseentered by Helm Godfrey
This entrant harmonised its benefits provision into a single programme for all staff, replaced an outdated benefit with more appropriate alternatives and offered some flexibility around core benefits.

Universal Music Group entered by Bluefin
A widespread workforce and two trust-based pensions made administration complicated, so Universal Music set up a group personal pension for new members, created an online benefits hub and sent out total reward statements.

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