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Employee Benefits Case Study: Molton Brown

A diverse workforce requires an equally diverse benefits package. Molton Brown complements perks that appeal to the young with a solid pension for the more mature.


Staff happiness is a core value at Molton Brown, purveyor of luxuriously packaged beauty products and candles. But with more than 850 people working for the brand globally, the challenge has been designing benefits that enthuse everyone from part-time shop assistants, to long-serving factory and head office staff. Having your birthday off once you've been with the company for three years, and gift certificates on significant birthdays - £400 on your 40th, for example - are just two ideas that proved popular. But HR felt a pension was needed to satisfy the needs of long-serving, less transient personnel. Hence the launch in April of a group personal pension, courtesy of Scottish Equitable and consultancy Jelf Group.


All 850 Molton Brown employees can take up the pension. Staff at the London head office and the Stansted manufacturing site could opt for one-to-one discussions with Jelf representatives, while branded packs were sent out to all 450 retail staff, with Jelf phoning every employee to talk through the options and advise on transferring pensions from elsewhere. A Scottish Equitable micro site with Molton Brown branding was also set up and there was a well-publicised helpline. Older, more stable employees interested in planning for their retirement are the obvious benefactors, but the portable nature of the pension means even young people can still enjoy pension provision, taking it with them should they leave.


The company's values of integrity and fairness are being realised through benefits that meet the needs of all. Quirky perks such as birthdays off have generated interest among younger employees but the pension strengthens the total offer and satisfies the stable, more mature sector of the workforce. Take-up of the pension scheme is 25%, but among head office staff the rate is closer to 45%, and in manufacturing where staff tend to stay longer it leaps to 60%. A total of 95% of the workforce received personal advice and Molton Brown is confident that having the option to join speaks volumes about its commitment to its people. Retail staff turnover is not a good enough reason not to offer a pension the company believes.

THE HR VIEW - Natalie Morgan, group HR and development director, passionately believes that appropriate benefits can both elevate the profile of Molton Brown in a competitive job market and please hard-working staff. "These days people looking for retail or manufacturing work online can very quickly assess what companies are offering at the click of a mouse, so relevant, attractive benefits are essential. Even in the transient world of retail, a company that at least offers a pension scheme looks good, and gives the employer kudos," she says. "The Molton Brown consumer brand is much-admired and this addition of a pension to our existing range of benefits will make people more likely to say 'yes, that's a fantastic place to work'." Ensuring the pension would be accessible to all -from Saturday part-timers across 70 retail locations, to head office managers - was a major concern for Morgan. "Showing care and even-handedness in the planning and communication has paid off," she says, confident that staff morale and engagement levels are on the up.

THE EMPLOYEE VIEW - Danielle Wilder, retail controller for EMEA at Molton Brown, was pleasantly surprised by the company benefits on offer when she applied for her job less than a year ago. "People talk about the perks of any job, and elements like the generous product allocation, Christmas gift vouchers, and birthdays off are a genuine talking point," says Wilder. "In some cases you only qualify after three years, but it's still seen as a fantastic idea." She feels the pension really puts this relatively small company on the map and sits particularly well for a company promoting health and wellbeing. "Among my colleagues there's a real sense Molton Brown has our interests at heart and is really trying to do something different," says Wilder. She feels the inclusion of the entire working community is important too, and helps in the recruitment of every age group. "Whether you're 16 or 60, working in the UK or Japan, there will be benefits to suit you and make you feel appreciated," she adds.