Exclusive: Wolseley staff name new benefit scheme


Wolseley is introducing a salary sacrifice car scheme for its 6,000-strong workforce and used a unique angle to encourage employee engagement with it.

Having received warm support when the idea was floated at employee forums and roundtable meetings, the plumbing and building supplies firm decided to let staff name the benefit.

"The car salary sacrifice is one that we've been trying to set up for a long time. We've been hearing a lot about it, and we've heard about other companies using it and how they've found it to be a very successful benefit," says Wolseley UK reward and benefits manager Christina Jones.

"We talked to our colleagues about car salary sacrifice and the response was so positive that we took it forward to our leadership team with a view to launching this year."

The procurement process commenced in the spring and once a supplier had been found the name the scheme contest began in August.

"We had a long run up to the scheme which gave us a great opportunity to think about the communications and engagement that we could do and we thought it would be a really fun and different way of getting our employees involved to name the scheme," Jones continues.

"We had 262 entries for the competition, which far exceeded expectations and with some great names suggested. We eventually landed on calling the scheme The Wheel Deal.

"What we also wanted to achieve was to generate some interest early on which it absolutely did - off the back of it we got employees asking about the scheme and when it's going to come in. The competition seemed to really work and I think the employees appreciated being involved in the naming," she adds.

Jones believes staff will appreciate the scheme for several reasons and is making sure it is an environmentally friendly version.


"It takes the hassle away from the employee but they can also benefit from the reduction in prices that we get with our fleet and that our provider can get too," she says.

"They don't have to find a deposit to pay up from and of course it's a salary sacrifice arrangement so there's tax savings too based on CO2 emissions. We really wanted get that green initiative promoted as well so we've capped the CO2 emissions of cars available at 130g/km which is great from an environmental point of view but also helps our employees with the tax."

There is also the option for staff to return the car after a two or three year lease and get another one. The scheme will remain open for new purchases throughout the year so the Wolseley team can continue to evolve its communications.

They also plan on using information from the provider Zenith on take-up rates what the vehicles being selected to inform the process.

However, with more than 6,000 employees spread across 700 locations, the very dispersed workforce means communicating to people out in the branches and particularly those in the field is always going to be a challenge.

"The naming of the scheme competition was just the start of communications, and we try to use as many different ways as possible. We've been sending out emails, printing posters and also writing articles in our internal workforce magazine.

"As we move towards the launch we're going to be doing roadshows so that people can come along to hear about the scheme and the different types of vehicles that they can access through it too," Jones concludes.


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