2019 Categories


The Employee Benefits Awards celebrates the best individuals, strategies and initiatives in the HR, reward and benefits industry.

Click on the categories below for the individual criteria.

This category will celebrate an in-house benefits team that has worked together to deliver benefits that meet the HR and business strategies of their organisation.

We want to know:

  • Who is in your team.
  • How the skills and talents of each member played a crucial part in the effective delivery of your benefits strategy.

Using examples of strategies and day-to-day work, we would like you to demonstrate how the collective achievements of team members has led to the results achieved. For example:

What makes your team stand out compared to other organisations?

How has your teamwork impacted HR or business strategy?

How have you set up your team strategy and job roles in order to support your organisation’s needs?

The judges will be looking for thought-through strategy and objectives, innovation and quantifiable, measurable results.

Most effective alignment of benefits strategy to business strategy

This award will celebrate an organisation that demonstrates how its benefits strategy is aligned with its broader business strategy.

The judges will be looking at how your overall reward strategy (not just one specific benefit) supports both your organisation’s HR and business goals.

  • For example, in terms of:
  • Improved staff recruitment and/or retention.
  • Increased productivity.
  • Improved staff engagement.
  • Reduced absenteeism rates.
  • Staff buy-in for a specific/one-off project or organisational aim.

The judges will be looking for thought-through strategy and objectives, innovation and quantifiable, measurable results.

Most effective benefits communications strategy for employers with more than 5,000 staff

NB: This entry will be judged solely on the communications materials submitted to support this entry, rather than the benefits strategy itself. You must supply examples of all communication materials mentioned in the entry.

Entries that do not include accompanying communication materials will not be judged.

The winner of this category will demonstrate an effective and innovative approach to benefits communications, be it face-to-face, print, social or digital media. Your campaign could have been focused on a one-off benefits promotion or a whole benefits package.

The judges will be looking at:

  • What media was chosen and why.
  • The costs involved.
  • Who put the communications strategy and materials together; for example, was this done by an internal team or external provider?
  • Why the media and strategy were appropriate for your workforce
  • How did the communications campaign help the organisation to meet the overarching aims of its benefits strategy?

The judges will be looking for thought-through strategy and objectives, innovation and quantifiable, measurable results.

Most effective benefits communications strategy for employers with fewer than 5,000 staff

NB: This entry will be judged solely on the communications materials submitted to support this entry, rather than the benefits strategy itself. You must supply examples of all communication materials mentioned in the entry.

Entries that do not include accompanying communication materials will not be judged.

The winner of this category will demonstrate an effective and innovative approach to benefits communications, be it face-to-face, print, social or digital media. Your campaign could have been focused on a one-off benefits promotion or a whole benefits package.

The judges will look at:

  • What media was chosen and why.
  • The costs involved.
  • Who put the communications strategy and materials together, for example, was this done by an internal team or external provider?
  • Why the media and strategy were appropriate for your workforce.
  • How did the communications campaign help the organisation to meet the overarching aims of its benefits strategy?

The judges will be looking for thought-through strategy and objectives, innovation and quantifiable, measurable results

Most effective use of benefits to support employees manage their time at work and outside it.

The judges will be looking for strategies that offer greater flexibility to help support employees manage their lives outside work, as well as their own wellbeing and wider workplace experience. For example:

  • Flexible-working arrangements to enable employees to adapt their work around their caring commitments, while continuing to meet business needs.
  • Childcare vouchers, emergency/back-up care arrangements and on-site nurseries to reduce the strain of balancing work and care.
  • Access to information and resources to help with external commitments, such as guidance on eldercare or care facilities for elderly relatives.
  • Programmes to help employees reduce stress from both work and life, which might range from meditation and mindfulness in the workplace, to counselling and EAPs.
  • Benefits that support a family-friendly environment, such as support for new or expectant parents, employee networks, enhanced parental leave, family events for staff, areas for breastfeeding.
  • Creating a positive working culture that combats presenteeism and encourages healthy balance.
  • Providing opportunities for personal development, such as volunteer days and hobby funding.
  • Support for employees in managing their own physical, mental, and financial wellbeing and work-life balance.

The judges will consider:

  • How you tailored your benefits strategy to support the varying needs of employees.
  • Why this is appropriate for your particular workforce demographic.
  • The impact the strategy has had on engagement, benefit take-up rates, as well as recruitment and retention.

The judges will be looking for thought-through strategy and objectives, innovation and quantifiable, measurable results.

Most effective use of benefits within an employee engagement strategy

The winner of this category will be awarded for how it has used benefits within its wider strategy to engage employees with the organisation. For example:

  • How benefits are used to boost employee engagement.
  • What other elements are included within your employee engagement strategy.
  • How benefits and other elements complement each other in the approach to employee engagement.

The judges will be looking for entrants to demonstrate:

  • How you measure employee engagement levels, for example, do you use an external organisation to carry out staff engagement surveys or do you do so in-house? Which employees are included, and how often are surveys undertaken?
  • Evidence of how engagement levels have changed over time, and how benefits strategy has factored into these changes.
  • How the strategy has impacted recruitment and retention and strengthened the employer brand.
  • How employee engagement has impacted on wider business results, such as business performance, improved productivity, share price and reduced absence levels.

Entries must include tangible employee engagement statistics. Where these are quoted, entrants will be contacted to verify these.

The judges will be looking for thought-through strategy and objectives, innovation and quantifiable, measurable results.

Most effective use of financial education and workplace savings for employers with more than 1,000 staff

The judges will be looking for employers that have taken a proactive approach to their workforce’s financial needs and have supported staff in the making of financial, retirement or investment-related benefits decisions. For example, entrants may have:

  • Brought in financial advisers for one-to-one meetings.
  • Run financial seminars or workshops.
  • Installed financial modelling programmes on the intranet or internet.
  • Provided pre-retirement education.
  • Offered staff time off work to sort out personal financial affairs.
  • Offered workplace savings outside of the pension scheme.
  • Offered sharesave/SAYE, share incentive plan (Sip), or company share option plan (Csop) to employees.
  • Made use of technology to encourage employees to consider their short-, medium- and long-term savings needs and subsequently take action.
  • Held themed events to encourage staff to think about financial matters, whether that be debt management, mortgages, or retirement income.

The judges will be looking for thought-through objectives, innovation and quantifiable, measurable results.

Most effective use of a flexible benefits plan

The judges will be looking for a successful strategy that has effectively delivered benefits through a flexible benefits plan. This can include plans that operate within a set enrolment period, as well as plans with any-time enrolment.

  • They will be looking at:
  • Which benefits you included and why.
  • How the plan was structured.
  • How the plan was communicated and administered.
  • How it complements or helps drive other HR or corporate initiatives.
  • How you handled costs and tax breaks.
  • Do you operate a specific theme for the plan each year to promote particular issues, for example, employee health and wellbeing?
  • What other schemes run in tandem within your organisation; for example, voluntary benefits or total reward.

Where you use a third-party provider to administer the scheme, the judges will be looking at:

  • How you have customised the product in the way that it is presented to staff to make it unique to your organisation.
  • Whether you have adapted the functionality to suit your particular workforce.

The judges will be looking for thought-through strategy and objectives, innovation and quantifiable, measurable results.

Most effective use of financial education and workplace savings for employers with fewer than 1,000 staff

The judges will be looking for employers that have taken a proactive approach to their workforce’s financial needs and have supported staff in the making of financial, retirement or investment-related benefits decisions. For example, entrants may have:

  • Brought in financial advisers for one-to-one meetings.
  • Run financial seminars or workshops.
  • Installed financial modelling programmes on the intranet or internet.
  • Provided pre-retirement education.
  • Offered staff time off work to sort out personal financial affairs.
  • Offered workplace savings outside of the pension scheme.
  • Offered sharesave/SAYE, share incentive plan (Sip), or company share option plan (Csop) to employees.
  • Made use of technology to encourage employees to consider their short-, medium- and long-term savings needs and subsequently take action.
  • Held themed events to encourage staff to think about financial matters, whether that be debt management, mortgages, or retirement income.

The judges will be looking for thought-through objectives, innovation and quantifiable, measurable results.

Most effective healthcare and wellbeing strategy for employers with more than 1,000 staff

The judges will be looking for a successful health and wellbeing strategy that helps boost productivity or engagement through employee wellbeing. For example, you may have:

  • Introduced a whole new healthcare strategy.
  • Provided healthy eating or nutrition advice.
  • Introduced gym membership or sports activities.
  • Brought in health checks, on/off-site access to health services such as GPs or dental care, weight management or smoking cessation support.
  • Provided a carefully targeted benefit aimed at tackling a specific issue.
  • Restructured your organisation’s healthcare benefits provision in order to better tailor it to the workforce, reduce costs or produce a better return on investment.

The judges will be looking for thought-through strategy and objectives, innovation and quantifiable, measurable results.

Most effective healthcare and wellbeing strategy for employers with fewer than 1,000 staff

The judges will be looking for a successful strategy that helps boost productivity or engagement through employee health and wellbeing. For example, you may have: 

  • Introduced a whole new healthcare strategy.
  • Provided healthy eating or nutrition advice.
  • Introduced gym membership or sports activities.
  • Brought in health checks, on/off-site access to health services such as GPs or dental care, weight management or smoking cessation support.
  • Provided a carefully targeted benefit aimed at tackling a specific issue.
  • Restructured your organisation’s healthcare benefits provision in order to better tailor it to the workforce, reduce costs or produce a better return on investment.

The judges will be looking for thought-through strategy and objectives, innovation and quantifiable, measurable results.

Most effective approach to supporting mental health in the workplace

This award will recognise employers that have made a concerted effort to address employee stress and mental ill-health in the workplace.

The judges will be looking for employers that have put measures in place to actively identify stress or other mental health issues, such as depression, and taken steps to support affected staff. For example, you may have:

  • Introduced cognitive behavioural therapy.
  • Implemented or actively promoted an employee assistance programme or other form of employee counselling service.
  • Taken steps to rehabilitate employees back into their workplace, following an absence due to stress or mental ill-health.
  • Trained line managers to recognise the signs of stress or other mental health issues and support affected staff.
  • Implemented flexible-working arrangements to enable staff to better balance their work and home lives or take steps to support their own mental wellbeing, for example, to attend exercise classes during the working day or to travel outside of busy periods.

They will also be looking for:

  • Strategies that address the wider causes of stress or help to improve employees’ mental health resilience, such as work-life balance, caring or financial issues.
  • The steps you have taken to overcome these. For example, you may have introduced flexible-working arrangements, emergency care benefits, or financial education or debt counselling for employees.

The judges will be looking for thought-through strategy and objectives, innovation and quantifiable, measurable results.

Most effective pensions communications strategy

This award will be judged solely on the communications materials submitted, rather than the benefits strategy itself. You must supply examples of all communication materials mentioned in the entry.

Entries that do not include accompanying communication materials will not be judged.

The judges will be looking for a successful strategy that helps to boost employee knowledge, and understanding, of pensions and the need to plan for retirement. They will be looking at:

  • What methods you have used to communicate pensions to staff.
  • How these were appropriate or tailored to suit your workforce.
  • The language and imagery used to communicate pensions issues.
  • How this engaged staff with pensions
  • What issues/topics the strategy covered. For example, was it to educate employees about specific issues, such as investment or contribution levels, the new pension flexibilities, changes to lifetime or annual allowance?
  • Was this linked to a pensions change project which required communication to elicit employee buy in?
  • Was this linked to pre- or at-retirement education for pension scheme members?

The judges will be looking for a thought-through strategy and objectives, innovation and quantifiable, measurable results.

Most effective use of benefits for staff travel and car schemes

The judges will be looking for a successful strategy that has made staff travel schemes, active commute campaigns, company cars or allowances effective as a benefit in your organisation. For example, you may have:

  • Launched a benefits initiative to encourage environmentally-friendly travel practices.
  • Changed your business travel practices to improve driver health and safety.
  • Introduced a new green car policy.
  • Implemented an effective tax or other form of cost-cutting initiative.
  • Introduced new technology to capture mileage or communicate more effectively with drivers.
  • Run a driver training programme that has helped cut costs or made drivers more efficient.
  • Introduced staff travel policies to reduce employees’ mileage/the need for employees to drive, for example, bikes-for-work schemes. Introduced alternative forms of travel to cars, such as staff bus services.
  • Aligned travel benefits with organisational aims, such as being environmentally friendly or improving employee health through active commuting.

The judges will be looking for thought-through strategy and objectives, innovation and quantifiable, measurable results.

This award recognises how an employer has best utilised and adapted technology to suit its benefit package, its business aims and the needs of its employees. For example:

  • How has technology (e.g. portals, mobile apps) been tailored to meet the requirements of an organisation or a specific benefits package/initiative?
  • Has wearable or mobile technology been used to support a new or existing benefit scheme?
  • In what way has technology been used to increase employee engagement with benefits?
  • How does the particular type(s) of technology chosen, and the way in which it is used, reflect the organisation’s business and benefits strategy?
  • How has the use of benefits technology been designed to reflect employees’ use of technology?
  • Has benefits technology been used to support benefits communication and engagement, i.e. through social media networks and messaging platforms.

Where an off-the-shelf product has been used, the judges will be looking at:

  • How you have customised the product in the way that it is presented to staff to make it unique to your organisation. 
  • Have you adapted the functionality to suit your particular workforce?

The judges will be looking for thought-through strategy and objectives, innovation and quantifiable, measurable results.

The but the overall word count on entries in this document must NOT exceed 1,000. Entries which exceed 1,000 words will be disqualified. Information can be listed as bullet points.

Most effective use of a voluntary benefits plan and staff deals

The judges will be looking for an organisation that has either launched or revamped its use of staff-paid, voluntary benefits or staff deals. These are benefits that are available for employees to take up at any time throughout the year.

Whether it is a plan that simply maximises staff discounts or uses tax-efficient benefits via salary sacrifice, the judges will be looking at:

  • Which benefits you choose to offer and why.
  • How the plan is communicated and administered.
  • How it fits into other benefits strategies.

The judges will be looking for thought-through strategy and objectives, innovation and quantifiable, measurable results.

The overall word count on entries in this document must NOT exceed 1,000. Entries which exceed 1,000 words will be disqualified. Information can be listed as bullet points.

Most effective motivation or incentive offering

The judges will be looking for a successful motivation strategy that uses either incentives or motivational rewards to help drive employee performance, engagement or retention. For example:

  • Clever use of motivational voucher rewards.
  • Bonus rewards and incentives for sales teams.
  • Awards ceremonies.
  • Colleague recognition schemes.
  • Long-service schemes.

The judges will be looking for thought-through strategy and objectives, innovation and quantifiable, measurable results.

The overall word count on entries in this document must NOT exceed 1,000. Entries which exceed 1,000 words will be disqualified. Information can be listed as bullet points.

This category will celebrate an HR professional who has been in the industry no more than five years, but who has already had a considerable impact on the HR and business strategies of their organisation.

We want to know:

  • How the skills and talents of this team member have played a crucial part in the effective delivery of the organisation’s benefits strategy.

Using examples of strategies, initiatives and day-to-day work, we would like you to demonstrate how the achievements of a specific individual have contributed to the results achieved. For example:

  • What has this individual done to distinguish themselves early in their career?
  • How has their input impacted HR or business strategy?

The judges will be looking for thought-through strategy and objectives, innovation and quantifiable, measurable results.

We are not calling for entries for this award, but if you would like to make a nomination, please email the Employee Benefits editorial team at eb.editorial@centaur.co.uk or alternatively, please fill in the section on the registration site.

The winner will be an individual who has made their mark on the industry – as selected by the Employee Benefits editorial team.

Grand Prix

Not open for entries

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