Bibby Financial Services claimed the WSB Award for Best Benefits Strategy as it grows the business. Owain Thomas reviews the three-year plan.
- Despite an already well respected reward programme Bibby wanted to see what more it could do
- The three-year strategy aims to support the company's substantial growth project
- High targets were set and confidently reached as staff embraced the first year
Four years ago Bibby Financial Services introduced the Your Rewards programme to promote a total rewards proposition to its employees. It proved a tremendous success including claiming the WSB Awards 2013 Savings and Benefits Team of the Year title along the way.
But the business has ambitious growth plans and as a result reward manager Vicky Smith wanted to increase employee engagement with the benefit scheme to support this development.
"If we've got happy employees and they feel engaged and motivated and feel they are rewarded right then they will be working well with our customers and doing the best for the business. We know how engaged people are and how engaged they are with their reward, it does correlate," she said.
So despite this lofty starting place, Smith and her team wanted to know what could be done better and where they could improve.
Three year plan
They devised a three year reward strategy, not just from HR proposals but as a result of listening to the rest of the business.
"We did loads of information gathering and took people from around the business to form a working party (including sales staff, the managing director and more junior members of staff) so we could make sure it really was linked to what our employees were valuing," she continued.
"What we looked to achieve was what our employees were asking us. It's where the retirement workshops and focus on the wellbeing came through," she added.
Additions included five new flexible benefits, an updated benefits portal, a new wellbeing portal, a peer-to-peer recognition scheme, the retirement workshops and a baby bonus for new parents.
As a result the scheme was increased to 17 flexible benefits but the team needed to make sure that Your Rewards was at the forefront of people's minds, which meant a focus on communication.
This was not just email but using the intranet, posters, text messages and getting the directors to buy in to what they were trying to achieve.
"It wasn't expensive, it was really cost effective, but we know what works within our organisation," Smith added.
Bibby partnered with Thomsons Online Benefits and came up with the Bibby Box of Benefits campaign. This included trips to every one of the 18 sites across the country with a physical box to remind employees in person and prompting ideas of what they would include.
Having conducted all this consultation and background work, Smith set very stretching targets for the 2015 enrolment window, hoping to beat the already high ones from the previous year.
She didn't need to worry - the organisation comfortably beat them all.
Highlights included 98.5% taking-up the flexible benefits (against a target of 98%), 94% of eligible employees attending a retirement workshop, 13% signing up for the new computer scheme (10% target) and 65% of staff using the discounts portal (previously 44%).
Arguably more importantly, some of the wider business metrics showed a noticeable improvement too.
Nine in ten employees would recommend Bibby as a place to work (up 14% since 2013), the acceptance rate of job offers increased 3% to 98%, the days taken to fill a vacancy dropped from 56 to 49.
The organisation also expects to save more than £200,000 in employer national insurance contributions in 2015.
Smith is not content to simply maintain these high results, even with a growing workforce to engage.
"I like being ahead, but 98.5% last year still meant that 12 people didn't make selections. So what are we doing wrong? Why aren't we getting to those people?" she said.
"This year, we've got nearly 800 people working for us and out of eligible employees our target is 99%.
"I don't think I'll ever get 100% because people are on holiday and things like that. The 98.5% was great but we want to get to 99%," she concluded.
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