Reward Live: Some of the UK’s leading organizations reveal their reward strategies and their impact in a panel discussion.
Organisations across the UK have faced challenges following the recent changes in legislations. Some of the leaders in the industry discussed the steps they have taken to overcome them at Reward Live 2016 and their most successful strategies to keep employees happy.
Speaking during the panel was Dermot Courtier, head of group pensions at Kingfisher plc, Edward Okpiabhele, compensation & benefits manager at Tate & Lyle Sugars, Dave Roberts, head of pensions and benefits at Virgin Media and Amanda Willis, head of reward at Peel Ports Group.
During the session, panellists explained their concerns and how they are tackling them. Pensions legislation and communication were terms that cropped up quite frequently during the discussions.
It quickly became apparent that in order to have a good employee benefits package and successful reward scheme, communication was key. Amanda Willis began as she explained that they address all these challenges by “writing to our employees, emailing them, we’ll have presentations and roadshows. It’s important to us that they understand.”
She highlighted the benefits of these communications and explained that the roadshows were helpful as line managers attend alongside employees and know employees on a personal level.
Dave Roberts from Virgin Media also said they were “concerned at people’s fear of auto-enrolment and ensuring people are engaging with pensions and understanding them is key.” Similarly, Kingfisher plc’s Dermot Courtier explained that “dealing with the legislation change and specific changes in terms of retirement and pensions options” often keeps him awake at night. He added: “Trying to engage all of those people across the different stores and branches we have is also a challenge.”
Pensions on a whole appeared to be a concern amongst a lot of people in HR. The panellists explained their solution and how they educate their employees and interact with them. Roberts said: “Posting things to employees and actually works as do team meetings. The other real challenge however, are the retail stores because we have 3 or 4 in a store at a time.
“As [those in store] are often younger people, they don’t always respond to paper based messages so we have an intranet that they can access from their phone with all the information.”
Edward Okpiabhele, on the other hand, agreed with the pension concern but also discussed the challenge of offering affordable schemes that are also competitive and innovative. He added: “Training our line managers is a priority in order to provide understanding to our staff and ensuring employees understand the packages that are on offer to them.
“For the first time, we had a talk on pensions and we simplified IT so people actually left knowing about pension and we are now looking at our financial wellbeing package.”
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