Employee Benefits Awards 2009: Most effective use of reward as part of a CSR strategy

Aviva Helping You Make a Difference

The judges awarded this entrant top prize because of the simplicity of its wide range of strategies, its back-to-basics approach and the way it practises what it preaches. The insurance giant puts an emphasis on treating people as individuals, and the benefits and rewards aspect of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy recognises staff development needs by promoting volunteering schemes.

Staff are given 21 hours a year for volunteering projects, to be taken as days, half days or by the hour. Staff can find volunteering projects via a link on the firm’s online training resource that enables them to select projects linked to core competencies, or they can go directly to the Easier2Give website to find out more about volunteering for projects. For payroll giving, staff can apply for matched fundraising once a year, for up to £500. They can opt for payroll giving on a oneoff basis, a monthly basis or via a freedom account that allows them to donate to charities throughout the year.

The environment is another key part of Aviva’s CSR strategy. Staff can carbon-offset via payroll giving, volunteer to mentor local school students on the impact of climate change, take part in car sharing, or take up the bikes-for-work scheme. Aviva’s CSR strategy is communicated in an integrated way across its nine business divisions. The results were impressive, and show the effectiveness of this strong, formal CSR strategy.

The number of staff taking part in volunteering schemes rose by 164% from 2,510 in 2007 to 6,646 in 2008, equating to a 57% increase in the number of hours spend volunteering, and the money raised doubled from £413,000 to £830,000. Also, 684 staff have signed up for car sharing since its launch in 2008.

Pictured above: David Schofield, head of corporate responsibilty at Aviva. Schofield said: “[CSR] is not about doing no harm, it’s about doing something good. Our scheme reflects the values of our brand – not about profit and loss. We love being able to do this stuff.”


  • First Direct First Volunteer
    The judges felt CSR was very clearly embedded in the business strategy of this financial services firm. Its human resources team play a key role in achieving this, supported, in turn, by its reward and recognition team. From staff volunteering and payroll giving, through to company cars and carbon offsetting, this employer included all aspects in a comprehensive and effective CSR strategy that was well supported by a high proportion of staff. For example, 23% (up from 9.4%) took part in volunteer day


  • BT BT Community Champions and BT Chairman’s Awards (entered by Lumina)
    BT’s community champions and chairman’s awards have had a major impact on the staff taking part. Under the schemes, staff are recognised and supported for the work they undertake, outside their employment, with local community groups. As an international company, BT has a great opportunity to make a big difference in many countries through this simple, yet effective scheme to recognise staff efforts in their communities.