Employee Benefits Awards 2010: Most effective motivation or incentive strategy (sponsored by Compliments)


Whitbread Going for gold

In a closely-fought category, Whitbread’s entry stood out because of the way it used its motivation strategy to address key business challenges. The firm operates across industries hit hard by the recession, so it was vital to engage staff with the business to improve sales across brands. The fact that most staff are young, low-paid and felt the pinch of the recession through reduced working hours meant this was a significant challenge.

At a time when many organisations were cutting back their reward budgets, Whitbread invested £1m in a project to improve engagement and motivation. Previously, it had been left to local site managers to reward and motivate teams, with no formal central process or way of tracking spend.

Key objectives in the Going for gold initiative were: rewarding staff often to keep them engaged, ensuring winning was attainable, rewarding staff with things they wanted, encouraging teamwork, and changing the criteria for measurement periodically to ensure different sites had a chance of winning.

Every month, one site in each of the firm’s 36 regions with the best sales performance is awarded £1,000 of retail vouchers. At the end of each quarter, an further £1,000 is awarded to sites that achieve specific targets relating to business accounts. Extra prizes, such as Ipods and cinema passes, go to winning sites in key trading periods to use for special recognition. The company also developed a recognition scheme for staff deemed to have “delivered incredible results through their own efforts to drive sales and the guest experience”. Winners of this employee-nominated scheme are awarded a brand new Mini car. The second of these was presented via a secretly-filmed ‘Gotcha’, a DVD of which was sent to all sites.

Overall, the judges were impressed with “how clear and comprehensive the strategy was, creating a clear and unified scheme”.

Highly commended
Ladbrokes Serious about service
The bookmaker was commended for its incentive brand encompassing three key initiatives, supporting business, employee and customer needs. A service-based initiative awarded 200 additional days off, £15,000 worth of monetary prizes, and £23,000 worth of vouchers to more than 1,000 staff. There was also peer recognition and management recognition schemes. The results were impressive.

Runners up
Aviva Spotlight (entered by P&MM)
Introducing a UK-wide recognition scheme was a key tool in building a culture of peer-to-peer recognition after the firm moved to a worldwide brand, including Norwich Union’s rebranding. The scheme uses three methods of recognition: individual and team nominations, and e-cards to say ‘thank you’. In its first seven months, the programme received over 15,000 nominations.

Debenhams Retail Debenhams VIP (entered by Capital Incentives)
The retailer introduced this magnificant Oscars-themed scheme to replace a previous staff incentive plan. The judges felt Debenhams Retail really knew what it needed to achieve in a difficult economic climate.

KPMG Encore! (entered by Globoforce)
In just over a year, this scheme enabled KPMG to recognise 18% more staff than previous schemes, while reducing spend on staff recognition by 24%. The primarily peer scheme comprises five levels of reward. Team awards can also be made.

Virgin Media Shout! (entered by P&MM)
Virgin Media encourages staff to recognise colleagues’ achievements. All staff can submit nominations for colleagues, who are praised for their achievements and receive points paid into an online reward account. Staff are recognised monthly, quarterly and annually through a random prize draw.

See full list of winners and finalists for Employee Benefits Awards 2010