Employee Benefits Awards 2010: Most effective total reward strategy


Total reward

In 2007, this financial services firm moved away from commission-based charging to fee-based billing. This led to the introduction, in 2008, of a new reward strategy that included higher pay and lower variable pay for client-facing staff. In addition, the firm needs to hold on to top talent ahead of its planned flotation in 2010/11.

The strategy aims to drive recruitment, retention, employee development and engagement by providing an attractive, competitive reward proposition.

It also aims to drive a unique total reward culture by treating pay and benefits, long-term incentives, learning and development, the work environment and employee wellbeing as integral elements of reward.

For example, all pay reviews include face-to-face discussion to ensure staff understand the total value of their reward and how the pay decision was reached. Total reward statements are used to assist in this process.

Within each element of the total reward strategy, this entrant pushes its overall business strategy. For example, under compensation, a good performer will earn a bonus 100% higher than for an average performer. Under benefits, flexible benefits allow total choice with no core benefits, while the firm’s comprehensive health and wellbeing programme is linked to its absence management strategy. The company also pays for study material and exam fees for staff development.

Each aspect of the programme demonstrates either cost savings for the firm or an impact on key HR measures. So although it may hard to draw a direct link between the new total reward strategy and the doubling of annual earnings since 2006, there must be a strong correlation.

Highly commended
Kent County Council Total reward
This council has cleverly brought together the ‘benefits’ of working for the public sector with conventional benefits into a single place. Employees are able to rate the value of some benefits (homeworking or staff clubs, for example) and, in turn, the employer can use these ratings as feedback to develop better benefits. One judge stated: “This is a great example of how to use technology without over-complicating the solution.”

Runners up
TD Waterhouse International
This entrant has broadened its flexible benefits scheme into a total reward strategy that also encompasses pay, paid leave for corporate responsibility projects, health and wellbeing sessions, social and team events, and one-off incentives such as the quarterly TD champions. Because this entrant pays at the median, it is using this strategy to make itself stand out in the recruitment market.

Warrington Borough Council Total reward package
This council used the compulsory equal pay review and job evaluation process to look at its wider offering in terms of development and benefits and so developed a total reward package. This was an excellent approach to dealing with the downside of equal pay and enhancing the less-expensive aspects of the reward package, using flexible working arrangements and voluntary benefits, as well as green travel schemes and health and wellbeing. As many as 90% of the 50% who responded to a ballot of union members supported the total reward package.

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