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In the first of a new series, we are shining the spotlight on how clients have transformed their approach to reward and pay – highlighting the impact this makes on their people and their wider business activity.

Here we discuss The Royal Society of Chemistry who continuously works to deliver what is best for employees – supporting them both inside and outside of work. Their HR team strive to offer a leading employee benefits package and identified key areas of improvement that were being hampered by their communication channels and existing infrastructure.

The background

Despite the competitive and diverse benefits package the Society offered, employees were not realising and making use of the existing offering. By listening to employees through drop-ins and tracking employee requests, it was clear that employees were often unaware of the full range of benefits open to them – in some cases requesting benefits that they could already access.

The Royal Society of Chemistry took the opportunity to re-evaluate their package and implement a more robust communications strategy to:

  1. Inform employees to raise awareness
  2. Educate employees via a comprehensive benefits hub
  3. Engage employees through interactivity and social networks

This was further underlined by the results of the Employee Engagement Survey, for which they were awarded the Best Companies 1 Star. Deeper insights into employee perspectives added to the consensus of what employees were looking for – a reinvigorated benefits platform.

The challenge

Rather than being reactive to the feedback, The Royal Society of Chemistry proactively tackled the root cause of the issue. The greatest challenge they faced was overcoming the weakness of their intranet and its archaic design. This was hampering communications about the effectiveness and competitive benefits package on offer. They required a new home and platform for the benefits system.

The solution

The Society decided to implement a bespoke benefits platform for employees worldwide, also taking the opportunity to feature a peer to peer recognition scheme to drive employee engagement and build virtual connections. They incorporated the following additional features to address Employee Engagement Survey feedback:

  • improved peer to peer recognition through eCards and a Recognition Wall
  • holiday purchase
  • private medical insurance for dependants
  • a ‘learn about’ page
  • offering volunteer days.

The communications strategy pre-launch and post-launch utilised a broad spectrum of tools to educate employees on the range of options open to them. The new system enables employees to have access to a region-specific, one-stop-shop dedicated to their benefits. The self-service platform empowers employees to tailor their benefits to their own needs. The eCards are also hosted on the platform, alongside the Recognition Wall to build employee connections by sharing messages of thanks and celebrations.

In addition, by delivering on responses from the 2018 Employee Engagement Survey, employees felt heard. Change was directly activated by their responses – letting employees know that their employer listened. This drives engagement and participation directly – both now and in the future.

Implementing change

The Royal Society of Chemistry selected Reward Gateway to implement a brand-new benefits platform. The communications plan intended to raise interest, awareness and participation by directly involving employees. The launch email was titled ‘You spoke, we listened! A new benefits system is coming…’ to show employees how instrumental they had been in bringing about change.

Employees were encouraged to engage from the outset with the new platform by being invited to suggest names. This created space for dialogue to raise awareness and create intrigue. Employees named the platform ‘Litmus’.

In parallel, the replacement of the old intranet with the new employee intranet was designed to complement the new benefits system. Not only was the new intranet Connect a gateway to the benefits portal, but it was a space to share blogs, news and forums, enriching community-building. The modern functionality facilitated interaction and feedback, engendering feelings of openness and transparency throughout the organisation.

They tailored the communications strategy to the stages of an employee’s journey with the company. Employees’ onboarding experiences were also reviewed to prompt new joiners via emails and make sure they were aware of their benefits options from day one. The addition of the ‘Life’ page on LinkedIn enhanced their employer profile, showing prospective applicants what was on offer. The new benefits portal ‘Litmus’ not only highlighted benefits beyond base pay, it was a space to grow connections with colleagues, making them feel valued and virtually celebrate working together.

“Deeper insights into employee perspectives added to the consensus of what employees were looking for – a reinvigorated benefits platform."

Take up

Since the launch of the new benefits system, findings suggest that employees are more informed, aware and inspired to act. Employees are now opting in more frequently – increasing by 47 per cent amongst those within the first 30 days and 19 per cent within 60 days in comparison to figures from the same time in the previous year.

Compared with pre-launch uptake figures:

  • Private healthcare for dependants has increased by 400 per cent.
  • Critical illness uptake has increased by 8 per cent.
  • Private healthcare uptake has increased by two per cent.

Overall, there has been an 11 per cent increase in enrolment figures and their post-launch survey highlighted the value that employees derived from the new system. The Wellbeing centre and eCards to recognise colleagues have been widely used, evidencing strong community engagement and attracting positive feedback.

The partnership with Reward Gateway has enabled The Royal Society of Chemistry to support its employees’ physical, mental and financial wellbeing. The project removed existing barriers that impeded the effectiveness of an already competitive benefits package that was enhanced by listening carefully to what employees truly wanted. The project was also implemented just in time for remote working throughout Covid-19, helping the organisation remain strong and connected throughout this challenging period. The Society had collaborative tools in place to support remote working and strengthen virtual working arrangements through the Recognition Scheme.

Commenting on the success of the project, Jonathan Fuller, Payroll and Reward Advisor at RSC, said:

“Since launch, we have gone from strength to strength - not only with regards to achieving our objectives – but also in continuing to thrive as one RSC. It goes without saying that the devastating nature of the Covid-19 pandemic, which became prevalent less than a year after launch, has brought new challenges that no one could have predicted. However, our journey has continued and whilst we were physically apart, the implementation of the Litmus platform in collaboration with Reward Gateway enabled us to support our employees’ physical, mental and financial wellbeing throughout this new way of living, and helped ensure we remain stronger and more connected than ever.”

Thinking about your reward strategy design?

Success stories like The Royal Society of Chemistry’s demonstrate the value that effective reward frameworks can offer employees. From driving recruitment of potential candidates through competitive reward offerings to driving down employee turnover by delivering real value to employees – these deliver business-critical outcomes. Get in touch with us today to discuss you reward strategy design and how you can make the most of the investment you make in your people.

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