EXCLUSIVE: Travis Perkins and Hays tailor financial wellbeing messages

Rosemary Lemon

Employee Benefits Live 2017: Building merchant organisation Travis Perkins and recruitment organisation Hays have tailored their respective financial wellbeing communications in order to engage their differing workforces.

Travis Perkins has centred its financial wellbeing communications on established health and safety messages, which its employees readily engage with. A large number of Travis Perkins’ 30,000 employees work as lorry drivers or forklift operators, so health and safety messages are a key aspect of its organisational culture, said Paul Nelson, group head of reward at Travis Perkins.

Speaking in a session titled ‘The financial wellbeing journey’ at Employee Benefits Live 2017, Nelson explained that the organisation intentionally uses similar language across its health and safety messages and financial wellbeing messages, as this is easily relatable to staff and helps the business’ focus on financial health permeate through to all employees.

“That helps us to land and to communicate to our managers in a way that really gets them [clear in their minds about] financial wellbeing,” he said.

Travis Perkins also links conversations around financial health to employees’ life events, such as marriage or the birth of a child. This helps employees to put financial issues into context for their own lives.

“What we’ve found is that the way to trigger discussions, advice and guidance is to hook it into those life events, so instead of talking to our [employees]about investments and ways to save, [we] can talk about [if the employee is] just about to get married what are the things they might want to consider?” he said. “[If the employee is] having their first child, what might they want to consider? When do [employees need to] start thinking about [their] retirement? What provisions do [they] need because maybe [they’ll] need some care for parents and relatives.”

Information on financial wellbeing is primarily available via Travis Perkins’ benefits portal, My Perks. The organisation also uses targeted campaigns centred around financial health, as well as reward champions within the business to help promote these messages. In addition, the organisation has an active Google Plus community of employees, which it also uses to share ideas and messages.

Recruitment business Hays, which has 3,500 employees in the UK, also uses a range of communication methods to promote its financial benefits to staff and support employees’ financial health. The financial benefits the organisation provides include an employee loan scheme, as well as short, medium and long-term savings products and protection benefits.

Speaking in the same session, Rosemary Lemon (pictured), group head of reward at Hays, said: “Communication is really key. I’m a really strong advocate of trying to make benefits come alive and have stories. Yes, they’re there to attract employees, yes people expect it through market practice but they also have to mean something to people.”

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Hays’ communication strategy includes cascading information through HR leaders, as well as giving managers information packs that they can use to inform their teams about benefits.  It also holds on-site sessions for staff to promote the financial benefits available. Previous sessions have been based on a baking theme, for example, using different cakes alongside cake and baking-related puns that were linked to savings to help to make the messages more fun and memorable.

The organisation also tailors messages to specific generations in the workforce, such as its millennial population. “I think it’s only now that [organisations] are starting to nurture employees, and there’s been a real concern among [organisations] about giving people advice or interfering with people’s personal circumstances, but really this is a win-win,” she said. “[Employers] don’t want employees coming to work being concerned and worried about things outside of work. If [employers] have healthy, happy employees, they’re going to be far more productive, and far more engaged with the [organisation]. Nurturing leads to growth.”