Employee Benefits Awards 2012: Most effective benefits communications strategy for employers with more than 5,000 staff

Kraft Foods, Simply Rewards, entered by Benefex

Kraft Foods’ communications strategy was key to successfully integrating reward and benefits across the business after its acquisition of Cadbury.

Kraft and Cadbury were coming from different standpoints, cultures and communication styles, so it was essential for communication to achieve parity across the workforce and engage all staff, while staying true to Kraft’s values.

It communicated 17 aspects of the reward package to about 3,500 white-collar workers across 11 UK sites.

Communication methods included paper-based materials, webcasts, recorded messages and group briefings.

Information was also provided via a helpline. Staff were issued with a personalised statement of their new terms and conditions, which also outlined their reward and benefits package before and after the integration process.

Information was also put on an online ‘reward hub’, and the leadership, HR and project team got together each day to respond to employee feedback.

To ensure consistent messages were given to employees, ‘Town Hall’ sessions led by board members took place in 11 locations. These were also recorded for expatriate staff. Masha Boldyreva, compensation and benefits lead, UK and Ireland, said: “We tried to engage our top leadership team to own the messages to employees. It wasn’t really an HR project; it was very much a business-led project.”

The firm’s 150 key leaders were briefed on how the changes would affect them. They were also given a guide to help them tackle any challenging conversations with employees. Kraft also gained the support of regional managers to ensure alignment with its global compensation principles.

One judge described the strategy as a gold-plated standard, and another was impressed with how the complicated project was managed.


E.On, My Choice, entered by Benefex
After discovering certain groups of staff were less likely to use its flexible and voluntary benefits scheme, My Choice, E.On adapted its communication strategy. Research revealed staff under 26 were among the lowest users of the scheme and male employees over 50 had a lower take-up of non-pension benefits. The new communication strategy promoted perks such as dining-out cards and cinema passes and was designed to appeal to all groups.


Greene King, entered by Buck Consultants
After a survey found staff were unhappy with the way benefits were handled, this entrant took steps to ensure its package was better valued. An online tool provided a central gateway to information on pay, bonuses, pensions and share plans, as well as core and flexible benefits.

Home Retail Group, Discover, entered by Personal Group
The relaunch of voluntary benefits was communicated in a way that encouraged staff to take up the discounts available. A month-long teaser campaign used a number of communication methods, such as posters, cup labels, managers’ packs, memos, competitions and presentations.

Lloyds Banking Group, Flex 2012 Annual Open Enrolment
To communicate its annual flexible benefits enrolment period, Lloyds introduced an e-brochure featuring smartphone quick-response codes; recruited staff as flex champions; distributed printed data; and ran awareness days. The intranet was also used to run articles, case studies, advertising and animated explanations of flex.

RSA Insurance Group UK, Your Benefits
This entrant had the challenge of refreshing its benefits brand while still keeping recognisable elements of the design. The strapline What’s your tomorrow? was used to highlight how choosing the right benefits now could save staff money and help them achieve future goals.

Read more about the Employee Benefits Awards 2012