Employee Benefits Awards 2009: Communications strategy of the year for organisations with 5,000 employees or more

Tesco Tesco Benefits Communication Strategy

People expect Tesco to communicate well, so this entry was given extra tough scrutiny – and the judges felt it deserved to be held up as an example of good practice. The retailer used simple, often cheap ideas effectively. Communication channels were wide-ranging and sometimes felt basic, even old-fashioned – from the wipeable posters in staff rooms that are used to promote benefits, to team briefings that include benefits messages on the agenda. This shows firms don’t need clever tools and fancy tricks to get the message over.

Personalised total reward statements in the form of a simply written booklet were notable, imparting plenty of information without being text-heavy. Simple, clear English and use of illustrations made it easy to grasp the value of even the most complicated reward packages of senior staff. Members of the pension scheme (a defined benefit) and/or the share schemes see the value of these totted up in their statements.

An application form for the pension scheme was included with the statements of staff who were not members, plus a forecast of their pension if they joined now. This strategy led to an 85% rise in take-up of the pension scheme in the month the statements landed, compared with a year before. Staff with less than a year’s service who did not yet qualify for some benefits were told what they could expect to receive if they stayed at Tesco, which boosted retention rates.

This entry proved communication can be done simply, cheaply and comprehensively, with messages drip-fed through as many channels as possible.

Pictured: Louise Pocock, UK benefits manager at Tesco. Pocock said: “We have to really target our communications as we have a huge range of people and try to reach all areas of our organisation in the best way we can.”


Ladbrokes ClubLadbrokes (entered by Asperity Employee Benefits)
The bookmaker was pipped to the post in a closely fought category. Its carefully thought-through communications calendar detailed exactly when each benefit would be promoted, so staff received information in bite-size chunks over several months. The Epos till system was used to survey staff who are dispersed in small teams.


  • E.On UK E.On Employee Benefits – A Great Place to Work
    To appeal to the wide variety of groups within the workforce, it used multiple media, ranging from newsline radio-style messages to TV screens in offices and news stories on the internet that linked to the benefits pages. Its range of environmentally-friendly benefits were also explicitly linked to E.On’s green strategy.
  • Mott MacDonald Pebbles
    The strong ‘Pebbles’ brand is used across all communications, which are largely online given the firm’s globally dispersed workforce. One element of a broad programme that caught the eye was the online forum for staff to discuss and challenge HR and reward practices.
  • RSA Insurance Your Benefits
    This financial firm aimed to stress the importance of saving for the future. The video made good use of graphics, the online game was engaging, and the website had easy-tounderstand pie charts of individuals’ reward packages. The overall strategy resulted in improved staff engagement.
  • Stagecoach Group The Stagecoach Pension & Investment Plan (entered by Hargreaves Lansdown Corporate Solutions)
    This entry stood out for its extremely clear, simple-to-read forms given to members of the maturing sharesave plan. These short, colourful, forms made it easy for staff to transfer their shares into an Isa, self-invested personal pension or share account. Definitely forms worth imitating.
  • Zurich Financial Services Zurich Total Reward Statement 2008 and Flexible Benefits Scheme 2009 (entered by Buck Consultants)
    An interesting strand of this multi-faceted communication plan was the interactive web conference open to all staff. It answered questions on the flex plan and total reward statements.