For Domestic and General, a key aim of its benefits proposition is that it is well-rounded enough to support its diverse employee base.
Its holistic approach ranges from enhanced pension contributions and free flu jabs for all employees, to long-service awards and even mindfulness colouring books. Kay Mellor, head of HR, explains: “What we try and do is make sure we’ve got a mix of benefits that reflect the fact that we have a mixed population. We’ve got a mixed employee profile with people at different stages of their career and of their family and personal life, so we try and make sure we’ve got something of value for everybody.”
The appliance care provider has a broad range of job roles in locations around the UK, including professional and commercial functions in its Wimbledon head office, and staff at two contact centres, which are the primary port of call for customers. Domestic and General buys into the philosophy that it is its combination of contractual and voluntary benefits that feed into an employee value proposition that is relevant, flexible and affordable. “A competitive core benefits offering is fundamental, but there’s so much else we can do without spending a lot of money to make the [organisation] a better place to work,” says Mellor.
Support strategic goals
A key focus for the business is to deliver great products and customer service in a digital world and further develop strategic relationships with its partners. It uses its benefits provision to reinforce the delivery of these goals. “We’ve evolved the benefits over time as the [organisation] has evolved,” says Mellor. “As we accelerate the growth and development of the business, so we’re accelerating the availability and scope of our benefits; they have to run together.”
One example of this is the employee recognition scheme that Domestic and General runs with provider Red Letter Days for Business. The scheme was first introduced in 2014, but in 2015 it was changed to support the implementation of the organisation’s behaviour-based leadership framework of driving high performance.
Every employee in the organisation is able to recognise a colleague, or to receive recognition themselves. This involves awarding a colleague with a ‘thank you’, the points for which are then converted into a monetary award. The more significant values of points directly align to the business’s strategy: at one level points align to values, at another they align to leadership behaviours, and they also align to achievement against strategic programmes.
Mellor says: “We’re interested in recognising input, not just output, so we’re looking for people that have really put in the extra effort and worked hard on something, whether or not they are directly involved in major projects.”
The scheme has been a great success for Domestic and General, with more than 50% of its 2,700 international employees engaging with it.
Competitive benefits package
Domestic and General reviews the market to ensure that its benefits package remains competitive, and understands that employees are driven by more than just base salary to join and remain with an employer. Mellor explains: “We try to make sure we are not just covering all ages, and career and life stages, but that we’re also covering the different aspects of people, so looking at health and wellness, finance, environment, and family. We try and offer a portfolio of benefits that reflects the portfolio of people and of people issues and needs, from enhanced pension contributions and [life] insurance protection, to professional employee assistance and counselling, to local retailer discounts.
“One of the important things as well is to be communicating regularly and making people aware of what is available through work. We make use of our different communications channels to introduce new and promote existing benefits, and each site can also focus on what is important locally.”
For example, the organisation will bring providers on site for employees to meet and learn more about a benefit: an independent financial adviser (IFA) is regularly available at every site, health professionals come into offices to carry out health checks, body mass index (BMI) checks, blood-pressure checks and offer free taster sessions in a local gym, to get employees thinking about wellness. “We may have a healthy breakfast campaign and give everybody breakfast, or pay for onsite stress massages,” says Mellor. “We bring things to people to keep them thinking about themselves, their wellness and what they do outside of their working lives.”
In response to employees’ requests, the employer introduced a bikes-for-work scheme in the summer of 2015. It also put in place secure-storage facilities on site for employees to store their bikes as part of the scheme.
In addition, the organisation has been working with The Work Perk for the last six months, giving employees a range of free product samples, for example, new cereal bars, tea or fragrances, which are being market tested. “It’s a small benefit, but staff value it as a fun extra,” says Mellor.
Employees are also encouraged to experience Domestic and General’s own products and can take advantage of a 50% discount on the organisation’s protection plans, which is extended to close family, while friends are entitled to a 25% discount on products.
The view of supporting an employee through their different life and career stages is represented in the focus Domestic and General puts on long service and career development. It offers long-service awards beginning after an employee has been with the business for five years when employees receive vouchers, a certificate signed by the chief executive officer (CEO) and drinks with the senior management team. After 10 years’ service, an employee is given an extra 10 days’ holiday in addition to the vouchers and drinks. The CEO takes longer-serving employees out to lunch each year, and they also receive a certificate and a monetary ‘thank you’. The organisation has just seen its longest-serving member of staff retire after 41 years.
Mellor says: “We invest in people, we invest in their skills and their development. We want people to stay.”
The benefits offered by Domestic and General
- A group personal pension for all employees, with a 3% employer contribution for all staff, and matching or enhanced employer contributions based on seniority.
- Employer-funded independent financial advice for all employees.
Healthcare and wellbeing
- Private medical insurance: employer-paid on a seniority level, with the ability for employees to pay for cover for family members.
- Regular medical health checks based on seniority.
- Eyecare voucher scheme.
- Employee assistance programme (EAP).
- Life insurance at four times salary for all employees.
- Free flu jab for all employees.
- Occupational health support.
- Discounted local gym membership.
- Car allowance based on seniority or business need.
- Bikes-for-work scheme for all employees.
- Season-ticket travel loans.
- Discounted car parking at head office.
- Enhanced maternity and paternity pay.
- Flexible, part-time and term-time working patterns.
- Childcare voucher scheme.
- A baby gift for new arrivals.
- 22 or 25 days of holiday, every employee has 25 days after five years of service.
- After 10 years of service, employees are awarded an extra 10 days of annual leave.
- Sabbaticals are available under certain circumstances.
Voluntary discount scheme
- Access to more than 1,500 national and local offers, cashback or voucher partners.
Motivation and recognition
- Discounts on Domestic and General products.
- Employee-recognition scheme.
- Long-service awards.
- Dress-down Fridays
Domestic and General at a glance
Domestic and General is a specialist warranty provider, having operated for more than 100 years to offer people protection on their household appliances and heating systems. It operates in the UK, Germany, Spain, Italy, France and Australia, and has around 2,700 employees. Its employee base is split 50:50 male to female, with the average age being in the mid-30s. The average length of service can vary by location. The longest-serving employee has recently retired after 41 years.
- To cement its position as Europe’s leading product protection specialists by becoming a world-class service organisation for the connected world.
- To focus on taking the worry out of breakdowns for customers by creating a next-generation, digital customer experience that meets and exceeds consumers’ ever-evolving needs.
Kay Mellor, head of HR, has been at Domestic and General for five years. Previously, she was head of HR at BT. One of the projects Mellor is most proud of is getting the employee recognition scheme implemented from concept stage through to an international, multi-language scheme in just over four months, as well as ensuring that it remains relevant to the business. “We refreshed it to align it with the developing [business] strategy and keep it relevant,” she explains.