Employee Benefits Awards 2009: Most effective total reward strategy

Zurich Financial Services Zurich Total Reward Statement
and Flexible Benefits Scheme 2009 (entered by Buck Consultants)

This programme was designed to engage staff with their reward and to create a link between personal and business performance. It aimed to explore the reciprocal relationship between employer and employee.

A key part of this was to recognise individuals’ contribution to the business as well as their cost. A total reward statement was used to calculate the value of an employee’s reward for 2008, and including data on the business and employee performance for the past year. Then it calculated how the flexible benefits choices an employee makes can affect or enhance their life, and set out the employee’s personal and business goals for the year ahead. Zurich drew up this information by mining data held on its SAP HR system. The firm also used its total reward statements to drive up engagement by introducing targeted and personalised messages. Total reward communication was colour-coded into four sections – your total reward, your flexible benefits, your experience and your performance. It was also tailored according to each employee’s location, so local work environment perks could be included for specific staff.

Each business unit had a tailored message from the relevant business area head, giving a localised performance review.

Performance data from the SAP system also allowed comments to be included in reward statements to motivate staff by alluding to their level of performance and how it helped the business. Employee engagement increased from 77% to 84% over this period.

Pictured: Pete Steer, HR payroll and benefits director at Zurich Financial Services. Steer said: “We believe in using total reward to link individual performance to business performance, and that is reflected in this strategy. It’s a great pleasure to receive this award.”



  • Active Assistance The PA Reward Scheme
    This live-in care provider employs more than 200 staff on zero-hours contracts. It needs to deliver high-level care and continuous service to its clients (who have high-level spinal injuries), so it introduced career maps, a reward structure and a loyalty bonus. This put it far ahead of its competitors in the recruitment market and enabled it to change its culture through pay. The number of staff taking an NVQ has jumped from 18 to 55, with 23 waiting.
  • Midas Group Midas Reward (entered by Jelf Group)
    There was a 21% attrition rate at this property services group, so its key aim was to attract and retain top staff and keep the company strong in the downturn. It introduced a new induction programme, performance management, staff surveys, trainee development programme and benefits development. As a result, it saved 6% on its benefits spend, and absence fell by 17%.
  • RICS RICS Total Reward
    This entry from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors demonstrated a significant cultural shift for members as it moved from a culture of expectation and entitlement to a global high-performing culture. By implementing a total reward structure, it has been able to articulate the two-way deal to staff, and change itself into a more commercially run business. It highlighted its development opportunities and linked its pay and performance reviews.
  • Tesco Tesco Benefits (entered by Strait Logics)
    The retailer worked hard to give all staff access to their complete reward information with consistent messages. Using high-quality booklets, it was able to show all staff what they received, illustrated with pie charts. Staff who were not pension scheme members were shown what they would get if they joined, and newer staff were shown what perks they would get if they stayed for the required period.
  • Towry Law Total Reward
    This financial services firm has moved from earnings through provider commissions to earnings through client fees. It therefore needed to totally restructure its reward strategy. It moved to pay higher base salaries – an unusual strategy in its sector – to treat pay, benefits, long-term incentives, learning and development, the work environment and employee wellbeing as integral elements of reward. It wanted to ensure there was a big difference between average and high performance by staff.