Employee Benefits Awards 2010: Benefits team of the year


This entry from the large energy provider shows good practice can be simple, provided it is executed well and team members are prepared to put in the hard work at the front line.This is a team that is happy to roll up its sleeves and promote benefits directly to its 17,000 staff by getting out into the workplace and talking to staff where they work.

This hands-on approach gives the team first-hand experience of what employees want and engages staff in what is on offer.

The team runs a wide variety of communication channels, including blogs, surveys and focus groups, as well as “hitting the road with roadshows and benefits fairs over 100 times”. However, they know their limitations and can identify when to bring in providers to supplement their skills and achieve the best results.

The team has also set up a network of over 120 benefits champions who represent colleagues across the business and help promote benefits locally.

Within the past three years, the team has brought together a previously dispersed benefits package that had no cohesive strategy. There was also no general source of benefits information.

Thanks to the team’s hard work, over the past two years more than 75% of employees have chosen a benefits option online.

The team has been able to analyse management information figures to show that staff who make a benefits choice are more likely to stay with E.On longer than those who do not make a choice, demonstrating that the hands-on communication practices of the benefits team are having a positive impact on staff retention.

Runners up
John Wood Group

This entrant showed a clear alignment of the team’s goals with those of the business. But this is also a team that has fun and enjoys working together. It demonstrated good practice, such as: being among first to adopt the National Association of Pension Funds’ pensions quality mark, saving £170,000 a year through pensions salary sacrifice, winding up an old defined benefit plan, implementing a global incentive plan, rebrokering insurances to save 14% on group life, 15% on PMI premiums and 10% on international PMI premiums. One judge commented: “It is clear the team has done a fantastic amount of work over the last few years in a climate where influencing for change was clearly challenging.”

McDonald’s Restaurants
This team’s members have over 100 years’ experience between them and maximise this by ensuring all administrative work is left to providers, so team members are free to consult with staff. Each team member is a go-to person for particular benefits, with another team member trained as a back-up. A range of well-documented research results show this team is having an excellent impact on the business. Two of them have received awards for outstanding contributions to the business.

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This team has undergone major staff changes over the past year, but still managed to deliver a wide range of blue-chip benefits to staff. It also cleverly used internal staff in other departments to promote benefits, when Tesco’s own products were being offered to employees. The team made impressive progress in 2009, but the judges would have liked to have seen more detailed evidence of the role team members played in achieving this.

See full list of winners and finalists for the Employee Benefits Awards 2010