Employee Benefits Awards 2009: Benefits team of the year

FirstGroup Invigorating the Communication of Our Total Rewards Programme

Under the careful direction of group reward and pensions director John Chilman, this team has a thorough knowledge of the organisation they work for. Each member has to take part in a two-year programme of visits to every UK bus depot so each one gets to know the colleagues they serve. The team believes this close knowledge of the business’s front line helps them frame their reward strategies.

John has built a team of people who embrace a culture of collective support and constructive change. No one is allowed to sit in their comfort zone – they are challenged to take part in all situations so that each person can bring a different perspective. They are able to make great achievements by working as a unit, tapping into the diverse skills of the team.

They appreciate the importance of the small, perhaps more boring, details. For example, no matter how good a benefit, its impact is undermined if the team’s administration of it is undermined.

Equally, they are committed to communicating with colleagues, with face-to-face meetings a key part of the overall total reward strategy.

Team includes: John Chilman, group reward and pensions director; Richard Murray, group pensions manager; Lisa Proctor, group reward manager; Ian Robertson, First UK Bus pensions manager; David Beattie, group reward finance manager; Clair Petty, group reward associate.

Pictured above (from left): Richard Murray, group pensions manager, John Chilman, group reward and pensions director and Ian Robertson, First UK Bus pensions manager. Chilman said: “We all have different skill sets and we have brought them together to create a package that is very much appreciated by our employees.”


  • Roche My Total Roche (nominated by Deloitte)
    The team delivering the flexible benefits implementation was drawn from across the business as well as the HR team, thus maximising the skills and knowledge of the wide range of employees.


  • Henderson Global Investors
    To deal with an annual bonus period, three teams – share schemes, pensions and payroll – worked closely together to deliver a complex, data-intensive project.
  • Informa InformMyBenefits – Health and Wealth Programme
    This small team has one full-time member and two parttimers. Working effectively together, they have delivered an award-winning health strategy (see page 20).
  • RSA Insurance Your Benefits
    This multidisciplinary team was constructed so that subject-matter experts headed each team, which then took total ownership of their own area. They had to work to aggressive deadlines across multiple time zones.
  • Towry Law Total Reward
    This team continues to build on its winning position at last year’s Awards. Once again, it delivered good results to make significant cost cuts across its reward portfolio.