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


First Group, My Rewards

In April 2010, this entrant introduced a secure website for its reward package My Rewards, giving employees a single hub to access benefits. Although the internet is commonly seen as an inappropriate medium to deliver benefits to transport sector employees, First Group chose to challenge this in the light of its own research, and the demand for computer usage in its learning centres.

The company’s benefits package has four main components: pay, benefits, shares and pension. It does not believe median pay alone is an effective retention tool, and wants employees to consider their total reward package rather than simply comparing pay rates. It offers sharesave and a share incentive plan, as well as salary-rated pensions to all UK employees. Its pension schemes provide accrual rate choices. This helps employees who have not built up a sufficient pension to catch up and gives younger staff the chance to focus on more immediate financial priorities. First Group is also supportive of flexible retirement. Other benefits include free travel, life assurance, bikes for work and childcare vouchers. Employees can also borrow against credit union savings, making repayments through payroll.

First Group recognises that most of its employees have earnings close to the national average, and therefore need to make the most of their money by saving for the short, medium and long term, managing debt and getting value for their spend. The judges were particularly impressed by how the organisation’s benefits package met its employees’ needs. Take-up figures, particularly around pensions, also caught the judges’ attention. In spring 2010, 1,940 employees (85% of those eligible) opted to join the firm’s UK Bus and Group Pension Schemes. This was an increase in take-up of almost 25% on the previous year. It was the first time staff were able to apply to join online and 45% selected a non-default accrual rate through the website.


BNP Paribas, Spectrum entered by Towers Watson
This entrant set up a flexible benefits scheme that had no manual interfaces and used single sign-on technology. Also, the bank auto-enrols staff in all core benefits. Despite this, 68% actively changed their benefits and 82% accessed the system. The benefits offered include bikes for work, health assessments, pension and critical illness.

Quintiles, Total RewardsReview/QChoices Implementation entered by Edenred
Communication was important to the success of this entrant’s benefits strategy. Its new offering, QChoices, was publicised through a variety of channels, including text messages, postcards, emails and webinars. A competition was run to celebrate the scheme’s launch, with bonds vouchers and digital cameras as prizes.

Three, Just Rewards entered by Bluefin
After launching an online benefits portal in 2009, Three was able to offer an integrated benefits package. The online hub brought together salary, car allowances and bonuses, pension, flexible benefits, voluntary benefits/discounts, an EAP and employee recognition. The site produces bespoke communications targeting users via email and SMS.

Vinci Construction UK, Vinci Construction UK Employee Benefits entered by Personal Group
In April 2010, after a major review, Vinci launched a new employee benefits programme, Your Benefits. It included total reward statements, a group personal pension and an online package called Options offering 19benefits, many via salary sacrifice. The package was launched alongside harmonised contracts of employment following acquisitions.

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