Reward schemes: how I made a difference

Paul Marsh, HR director, GW Professional

We have a very traditional reward and working structure. We’re a recruitment company, so our best people are rewarded well with commissions and bonuses, but we realised that we haven’t been addressing the needs of our younger staff.

We decided that we needed to offer non-financial benefits, too. I pulled together a focus group, asked the participants what, outside of pay and reward, would motivate them. Surprisingly, it was small things, like being able to carry over holidays, or coming in later after working late the previous evening. I spoke to the other board directors to decide what was commercially right – and feasible – to offer.

We put together a six-pronged benefits programme, called Tailor Made, including: flexible working giving back (for example, time off for volunteer work) research and development additional benefits flexible time off and the super biller scheme (an additional bonus scheme). We’re also, as part of the programme, giving people their own financial advisers.

We want Tailor Made to be aspirational, so at the moment only 10% of our staff are eligible. Sales people have a minimum income to generate before joining the scheme, but as we also have non-sales people to deal with, we’ve developed a behavioural indicator piece where they have to put forward a business case showing that they exhibit those six behaviours.

We’re trying to come up with things that will engage people more – lots of little things that will add up. This is a very competitive industry, with high turnover. We want people to think ‘I could leave because X is going to pay me £5,000 more, but I’ll stay because I’ve got flexibility in this, I can work from home, I’ve got my financial adviser coming to see me here once a quarter. Would I get all of that if I went over the road?’

The programme is also a tool for attracting new staff. We’ve just launching our employer branding brochure, and we’ve included Tailor Made in it to make us stand out from the competition. We’ve included it as one of five key reasons to join us: ‘If you come here and do well, it’s about more than monetary reward’.

Lessons learned

  • Ask staff what they want
  • Don’t assume salary is the deciding factor
  • Give them something to aim for

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