The judges chose the security and defence firm for the top award because of the sheer scale of its achievements.
Most employers would see pensions auto-enrolment compliance for 7,000 employees as enough of a challenge without the extra complexity of standardising all employment contracts across the workforce.
Thales, however, saw the new pensions legislation as an opportunity to truly unify its business, which has grown through a number of acquisitions, resulting in huge disparity and complexity in employees’ terms and conditions, and no fewer than 150 different benefits packages. The employer therefore decided to implement a new, harmonised reward offering.
The judges were impressed with the results, which saw 100% employee take-up of the new contracts, savings of £5 million a year resulting from new efficiencies and strong levels of employee engagement with pensions ahead of auto-enrolment.
Overall, Thales’ alignment strategy enabled a complete business restructure to take place.
Neal Blackshire, reward manager at McDonald’s Restaurants, was named this year’s ’Employee benefits professional of the year’.
In a career spanning more than 25 years, Blackshire has established himself as a recognised leader in employee reward and benefits. He has been instrumental in developing the McDonald’s organisational brand and ensuring the restaurant chain is perceived as an employer of choice.
Blackshire is highly regarded in the benefits industry, with peers saying that he consistently delivers, pushes the boundaries and is an inspiration to others.
The Employee Benefits Awards 2014 took place on 27 June at the Artillery Garden at the HAC in London.