Womble Bond Dickinson promotes benefits year-round to engage staff

Law firm Womble Bond Dickinson recognises the the role that benefits can play in engaging and retaining employees, particularly when these are effectively aligned to the business strategy.

From the outset, at job interview stage, the firm promotes its reward and benefits offering to candidates. Once staff join the organisation, it then continues to communicate the package to all 1,200 employees throughout the year.

Part of this communication effort is an online and hard copy reward booklet. David Wood, reward and analytics manager, says: “[The booklet] encapsulates not only the core and the flexible benefits we offer, but also additional perks, discounts, and things that people otherwise may take for granted.

“This is the message we try to promote throughout all of our efforts to engage people with benefits: it’s a lot more than just what you may typically think of as a benefit.”

The booklet also includes information on learning and development opportunities, flexible-working options, social committees and the events these organise, and local discounts at each of the firm’s eight UK locations.

“When people do join us, the retention and engagement journey begins there, and we’ll spend time engaging people with what our business is, what our culture is, but also how our reward and benefits strategy fits into that,” explains Wood.

Benefits are also promoted throughout the year at various events, one of which is its a roadshow for which Womble Bond Dickinson was highly commended in the Benefits communication, small employer category at 2019’s Employee Benefits Awards. The roadshow consists of presentations and video conferences from benefits providers. In 2018, the roadshow had a cinema theme in order to further engage employees, while the December 2019 event will centre around Christmas.

Laura Tokell, HR project executive, says: “There are a lot of serious benefits that have a great impact on people’s lives, whether it’s the employee assistance programme (EAP) for mental health, our mental health first aiders, [or] the pension thinking about people’s future. We also want to make sure we have the fun element to try and engage people.”

“The lead up to [the roadshow] was really important,” adds Wood. “We pulled together promotional materials, we thought creatively and innovatively. We did some desk drops and flyers, we did a lot of work around promoting it in advance. We had people pay attention and take notice. That’s the highlight of the year for us in terms of how we engage people with their benefits.”

Womble Bond Dickinson also runs awareness weeks that correlate with national campaigns, like Mental Health Awareness week in May, during which time it takes the opportunity to promote benefits such as the EAP and mental health first aiders.

Wood says: “We [take] steps to remind people of things that they perhaps don’t think of as benefits, and also to show how it’s embedded in our culture and our strategy.

“We want to grow our business, that’s our key objective. Our role as an HR team in promoting that growth is retaining our best people and engaging them, and clearly reward and benefits play a part in that as well.”