Britvic wins with benefits plan

About the organisation

Britvic Soft Drinks is one of Europe’s leading soft drinks companies and its brands include Pepsi, Robinsons, Tango, as well as Britvic. It has 2,900 employees based at offices in Chelmsford and Solihull and at six factories and 15 depots around the country. It also has some employees working remotely at home.

The aim

‘Making Britvic a great place to work’ is among the six strategic pillars of the organisation. The company decided to introduce a web-based flexible benefits system to provide employees with tangible improvements to their lives in and out of work. It was also intended as a valuable recruitment and retention tool. Britvic ran a paper-based flexible benefits system but this wasn’t deemed truly flexible because it was driven by employee bands which meant seniority of the staff dictated what benefits were available.

System supplier

Britvic has an established relationship with consultant Deloitte, which recommended using RebusHR, now Northgate HR, as a flexible benefits supplier. The two companies began working on the implementation in November 2003 with the aim of going live with April’s payroll.

The approach

One of the challenges was that 1,800 employees do not work on computers so 75 ‘flex champions’ were trained to help their colleagues with the electronic enrolment process. The champions, who were briefed that the aim was to achieve 100 per cent awareness and take-up of the system, arranged half-hour sessions with each employee and guided them through the system. A poster campaign was also launched and booklets were mailed to home addresses and posted on the intranet.

The solution

Branded ‘My Choice,’ the benefits system runs on platform and is web-enabled so staff can use their login to access the system from any PC with internet access running the explorer browser. My Choice offers a range of options to staff including personal and travel insurance, buying and selling holiday allowance, childcare benefits, healthcare and gym membership. Employees can also buy a discounted PC as part of a home computing initiative scheme.

“All employees, regardless of their seniority, can choose as many benefits as they want as it is based on a salary sacrifice model,” explains Bob Lee, head of HR enablement. “Within the system, each employee is presented with their salary and the benefits chosen are then subtracted from the total to show workers how each benefit would affect their pay.”

The bottom line

Ninety-three per cent of staff are using the benefits on offer to them (the average take-up in the UK is around 50 per cent). Among the company’s priorities for 2005 are to address the needs of single men under 23 who found there was less on offer to match their interests. Options such as retail vouchers are being considered. “Planning is under way for next year, ensuring current benefits are enhanced,” says Lee.

Data mine

Legal Resources Emplaw:

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Human & Legal Resources:

Information must be paid for but both sites from Human & Legal are worth looking at if you’re considering investing in a legal resource.


The service offers: employment law reports, legislation, statutory rates, a legal advice line, recruitment help (including a CV checking facility), model policies and contracts, and a how to section.

Gadget of the month: BT Home Network 1250

What is it?

A networking device that uses the existing telephone sockets in your house to connect computers together. It works across a wired or wireless network so if you haven’t yet joined the wireless world but hope to one day, it offers you the flexibility. (All BT broadband packages are compatible apart from BT Broadband Basic).

What will it let me do?

Get online at home even though the kids are too. The 1250 package lets you hook up two computers with wires using a USB or Ethernet cable and add further computers using other existing phone sockets or wirelessly.

How much will it cost?

It is listed at £159.99 on the BT site but introductory prices may be available at and other sites.

Where can i find out more?, but you’ll find reviews by searching using the product name.

Focus on: video recruitment

Video is increasingly being used to streamline the recruitment process. Obvious Solutions used it to help Microsoft sift through 236 applicants for seven commercial sales positions. The process took seven weeks.

Step one

Obvious Solutions consultants interview a range of Microsoft staff from senior managers to graduate trainees. The finished video aims to give a realistic picture of life at Microsoft. It is shown to graduates who have passed the first assessment stage. Previously these would have been invited for first round face-to-face interviews with Microsoft.

Step two

Graduates are given the opportunity to put questions to a Microsoft representative. They are interviewed on camera by Obvious recruiters.

Step three

Obvious selects the most suitable candidates and generates a CD containing the video interviews, along with other relevant information (work experience, academic achievement, assessment test results).

Candidates are rated and measured against a benchmark and the most suitable sent to a final assessment centre. Ninety per cent of those interviewed felt the system was fairer than traditional interviewing.

New products

Who’s installing what

Newcastle City Council has completed the first phase of a three-part SAP HR and payroll implementation being carried out by Pecaso. The first phase includes an automated payroll system with an employee benefits module and is being rolled out to 4,500 people.

Recruitment company Hays has signed a £15m contract over five and a half years with BT to upgrade to a pan-European internet protocol network. The upgrade will consolidate the company’s multiple European networks and its existing UK network on to a single wide area network, delivering increased bandwidth to 225 sites in six European countries.

Alpha Airports has signed a five-year contract with Ceridian Centrefile for an integrated HR and payroll system, which will support 4,500 UK-based employees. Online access at Alpha’s 50 locations will permit direct input of payroll data at source, achieving Alpha’s aim of reducing paperflow to its head office.

Top resource

Party parties

If you still haven’t organised the department Christmas party, you don’t need us to tell you how late you’ve left it but this site might just save your streaky bacon.

When we visited, everything from a haunted house in Swindon to a Las Vegas Christmas in Manchester were offering festive bash possibilities. One provider will even take the party to your office.





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