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HR Excellence Awards 2011 - Most effective benefits strategy: RS Components

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In an environment of redundancies, pay freezes and lack of bonuses, RS Components launched its total reward benefit scheme to keep employee engagement at its peak. In short, the company set out to let staff know that reward was worth much more than pay and benefits; it was about brand and engagement.

In a competitive recruitment market, the company, which manufactures and distributes electrical and manufacturing parts, wanted to differentiate itself from its competitors in the eyes of its prospective candidates.

Before the firm took any action, it set out its goals for the scheme: to boost employee engagement, design a rewards scheme that would be well communicated and easily accessible and use these things to increase the strength of the employer brand.

It held focus groups and discussion forums with staff to get their feedback on proposed perks.

The company then grouped all its reward offerings together into three groups: My money (salary, bonus, discount schemes, long-service awards); My lifestyle (childcare, holidays, social clubs, sickness pay, accident insurance, EAP, car parking); and My future (pension, share scheme, income protection, life assurance, PMI, learning and development). It adopted new salary sacrifice benefits such as a cycle to work scheme and new recognition initiatives to reward performance.

To accompany the restructure, the company implemented an internet-based portal for staff to access the system, send staff email bulletins to communicate and forums to discuss benefits and wrapped it all up under one coherent brand: 'My reward.' It most recently launched total reward statements, so each employee could see what they receive from the business.

The results speak for themselves. Interviewing new recruits, the company found 84% said the benefits at RS Components were a driver in their wanting to work for the company - and 35% said it was a 'significant' driver.

Engagement scores have soared since 2009 to record levels in 2010 and the company has enjoyed a saving of £366,419 through its salary sacrifice tax breaks alone, since the launch of the scheme.

And while the board has championed the benefits strategy from the start, it was launched and managed in-house by a reward team of three people.

Our panel of judges believed the entry stood out in the category and felt the company had genuinely taken pride in the submission. They thought the attraction and take-up figures were impressive and the company's values were evident and important in the scheme.

Highly commended

The Pensions Trust

The Pensions Trust offers a comprehensive range of benefits to all staff, including private health cover, health insurance, death in service payment and season ticket loans. But, in a bid to develop employee engagement, the organisation introduced discretionary benefits leave, free parking, Christmas bonuses, moving house leave or marriage leave, which it awards only to those who are genuinely demonstrating the effects of engagement - high performance - in the workplace.

The Pensions Trust implemented a performance and engagement matrix, covering a number of behaviours. The more that staff demonstrate attainment of these behaviours, the more perks they can enjoy.

As a result, benefits communication is improved and the company's values are clearly understood.

Judges felt a lot of thought had gone into the initiative and were impressed with the values-driven idea - as well as the clear metrics the organisation produced.

Finalists

ICE Group

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

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