bwin.party, the world's largest listed online gaming company, has launched a global flexible rewards programme in conjunction with Thomsons Online Benefits.

bwin.party, which is listed in the FTSE 250 index and was formed in March 2011 from the merger of bwin and PartyGaming, operates a range of online gaming brands including PartyPoker, bwin and Foxy Bingo.

It is a diverse and culturally rich organisation with more than 50 different nationalities to be found in its 2,700-strong employee base that works out of several different locations on three continents. The employees work in a dynamic, fast-moving industry - an industry that is at the forefront of technological development and innovation.

Phil Hutchinson, Reward Consultant at bwin.party, explains the rationale behind the company's adoption of a total and flexible rewards approach. "We had three clear objectives. Firstly, we wanted the ability to quickly integrate employees from any companies that we acquire. Secondly, we wanted to ensure that employees could easily see the value of their remuneration package. Finally, we wanted to provide employees with much greater control on the overall shape of their remuneration package."

Following a competitive pitch, bwin.party selected Thomsons Online Benefits. Hutchinson continues: "We wanted a provider with a technology platform that was flexible enough to be able to link to the other systems we wanted to include in our global reward strategy such as: total reward statements and benefits selection, recognition, a global share plan and voluntary benefits. It was also important that the provider had a proven track record in delivering a global brand and reward philosophy. For us, Thomsons Online Benefits were the clear leader in both of these respects."

bwin.party and Thomsons faced several challenges in implementing the strategy, primarily in employee engagement and data management. Hutchinson comments: "As a recently merged and fast growing business we recognised the need to update our reward administration. The first task was to carry out due diligence to document in each location exactly which rewards were in place."

"When preparing for the launch we knew that how we communicated would be the key to whether or not employees engaged with the scheme. We have a very young workforce with an average age of below 30 in some countries, and it was important that we gave our people the choice over how they received communication."

"We had to address the different requirements across our diverse workforce with some people wanting to receive detailed information in person through onsite reward fairs, whereas others were content with an online summary. We catered for both ends of this spectrum. We used our own employees to create a viral video marketing campaign that really caught the imagination and sparked enormous interest."

"We called the scheme "just.rewards". It has already been established in the UK and Gibraltar, with India and Bulgaria to follow in June, and Austria, Israel, Sweden and Italy to be launched before the end of the year. In each location we adopt a global brand and reward philosophy but cater for local variations in terms of which rewards are appropriate for the market."

In conclusion, he said: "We are absolutely delighted with the launch of just.rewards and have seen phenomenal participation rates of up to 95% of employees to date. As well as the employee engagement success we have also seen benefits and savings accruing. just.rewards has already enabled us to harmonise seven different sets of employment terms and conditions, and it can be administered using one person rather than the seven we previously had in place. We look forward to working with Thomsons to deliver this successfully in the rest of our global locations as we now have the reward platform we need to help the business to continue expanding at a rapid rate".