Employee Benefits Awards 2010: Communications strategy of the year for employers with fewer than 5,000 staff


Moneyway FlexiBen (entered by Motivano)

The judges were “blown away” by this entry, which made use of social media to communicate benefits to a workforce that is hard to engage with perks. This small bank’s workforce comprises mostly young, low-paid employees, few of whom would consider sacrificing part of their salary to buy voluntary benefits. As a result, in 2008 the company saw just 40% of staff sign up for benefits through its voluntary scheme. It therefore faced a challenge in how to make its 180 staff value the benefits it offered.

At the heart of its revamped communications campaign was a small rubber figure called FlexiBen which perfectly suited the company’s brand values of the “human touch” and “on your side”, as well as its fun culture.

With 60% of its workforce aged under 30, the firm decided to use social networking sites Facebook and Twitter in its communications campaign. Giving the character its own Facebook page enabled staff to interact directly with a recognisable figure. The company’s CEO also banters directly with FlexiBen via his blog and Facebook. Offline media featuring FlexiBen was also created that was more appropriate for older employees. As a result, the character has gained cult status within the organisation.

The FlexiBen campaign cost just £200 to deliver and resulted in a significant rise in benefits take-up, such as a 93% increase in childcare vouchers and 33% jump in buying additional holiday. Such moves resulted in cost savings to the business equal to a 728% return on investment.

Anne McKenning,head of HR at Moneyway, said: “We use a lot of social media as we have quite a young workforce and call centre workers. It was all about finding something that would appeal to them.” 

One judge said: “The results appear outstanding and are well supported by evidence of a clear return on investment that would be hard to match. This programme really appears to say something about the organisation and has succeeded in engaging the workforce in a way that all programmes should aspire to do.”

Runners up
Amadeus Services Made4us (entered by Motivano)
This well-structured communications campaign used a wide range of methods to reach a previously disengaged workforce. It also had to overcome challenges such as reaching the one-third of staff for whom English is not their first language. Despite being implemented on a very limited budget, take-up of the voluntary benefits scheme increased from 79% to 99%.

Eli Lilly UK UK pension change (entered by Towers Watson)
This communications strategy supported major changes to the firm’s defined benefit pension scheme, including closing it to new members. A wide variety of channels were used, including a video featuring the managing director. Channels were set up for staff to give their views.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car Retirement savings plan (entered by Buck Consultants)
The car rental company saw a 54% rise in employee pension contributions after a clearly-targeted campaign to boost understanding and participation in pensions. This was segmented to suit workforce demographics, such as younger staff, and made good use of line managers.

I-Level I-benefit (entered by Thomsons Online Benefits)
A multi-media approach suited a workforce whose core business is digital media. The main aim was to communicate the firm’s first People plan. Creation of an ‘I’ character and brand helped to engage staff, and was placed online, on a benefits DVD and communicated via staff iPhones. Benefits take-up increased.

Sony Pictures Entertainment (entered by Buck Consultants)
This firm cleverly linked benefits communication to one of its big 2009 film releases. Its benefits booklet took the form of a fold-up map of Rome, based on Angels and Demons, the prequel to The Da Vinci Code.

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