Wickes and Peppy won this year’s Employee Benefits Award and went on to scoop the overall award from our judges. We look at the winning entry and those of other entrants in this category.
Wickes in partnership with Peppy
Hardware retailer Wickes has a male dominated workforce and has introduced a range of benefits to help it attract and retain women. This has resulted in a 187% increase in the number of female managers and a 16% increase in the number of women in employs in the past five years.
Additional budget was assigned by the company to help tackle some of the issues women face. This included improving maternity pay from statutory pay to 13 weeks on full pay and 13 weeks on half-pay before returning to statutory. It also offers two weeks full paternity pay is to men, which it says is a sustainable starting point it will look to improve.
It partnered with digital health solution Peppy to provide specialist help in three areas: fertility, baby (pregnancy and early parenthood), and menopause. Peppy connects users to real-life practitioners on a secure mobile app, which it says enabled Wickes to become the first minimum wage employer to offer full support across these areas.
The service enables employees and their partners to have unlimited, confidential chats with specialists; book 45-minute virtual consultations with specialists; chat with a mental health practitioners; participate in group chats, moderated by an expert; participate in group video calls on specialist topics; and to access virtual events and resources.
Support is provided by registered nurses with a minimum of five years’ clinical experience or extensive experience in women’s health.
The service has received 100% positive feedback from the 144 Wickes employees that have used Peppy. The judges said it was great to see a large employer investing in its benefits offering as part of a diversity initiative and the positive impact it has had on staff.
Financial Services Compensation Scheme
The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) was launched in 2001 to help people get back on track when authorised financial services firms fail.
A family-friendly approach is central to the organisation’s culture and it offers a generous benefits package, with many benefits that can be extended to include family members. This includes an FSCS-funded health insurance scheme that covers employees’ partners and children; a virtual GP service that is open to children free of charge; and an employee assistance programme that offers specific resources and advice for families.
Its shared parental pay offer matches its enhanced maternity pay offer, which provides 100% of salary for weeks one to 20, statutory maternity pay for weeks 20 to 39 and unpaid leave for the remainder of the year.
Enhanced paternity pay is also offered, with all employees able to take up to 20 weeks paid paternity leave for each child. The FSCS has seen 100% of fathers taking more than two weeks, and the majority using the full 20.
During the Covid-19 pandemic it increased its paid dependants leave from five to 20 days – this change has since been made permanent.
Other types of family leave, including adoption leave, are also offered.
Offering family-friendly benefits has helped the FSCS achieve 62.5% female representation on its executive team and 54.5% female representation on the board in 2021. It has also seen its median gender pay gap reduce from 11.8% in March 2019 to 6.5% in March 2020.
Pets at Home Group
Pets at Home Group comprises of pet supplies retailer Pets at Home, veterinary service Vets4Pets and pet grooming brand The Groom Room.
In 2018, its annual employee survey revealed that its benefits engagement score was only 67%. Although it paid retail staff above the sector median, it knew its offer should involve more than pay alone.
It created a Reward Hub that would enable employees to access all of their rewards and benefits, including discounts on everyday essentials and luxuries, in one place. More than 7,500 people signed up to the hub within eight weeks of launch.
Thousands of employees also became share owners. Its first restricted share plan vested in July 2020 led to 5,000 colleagues becoming shareholders or seeing their plans enhanced. A further £2.1m in shares was vested to more than 9,300 colleagues in June 2020.
A further sharesave scheme was offered in September 2020, which received its highest ever take-up of 17.2%.
Core benefits were also revamped. Employees in the lowest bands saw their holiday entitlement increase; middle-managers and above received fully-funded private healthcare; pension benefits were expanded; and bonus potential was improved.
An employee Wellbeing Hub was implemented, offering staff access to mental, physical and financial wellbeing services.
Staff were also looked after during the pandemic with £1.9m in additional “thank you” payments made. Stores were closed on Boxing Day as an additional day off and an offer of five family support days were available to be used throughout the year.