City & Guilds is the biggest name in UK vocational education, with 2 million learners working towards one of their qualifications every year. Chris Coyne, Head of Reward & HR Services commented: “I am delighted that the wider Reward team at City & Guilds has been recognised by winning the ‘Team of the Year’ award at the Pay & Benefits Awards 2012. The work we have done over the last two years to integrate health and safety, HR operations, employee wellbeing and the more traditional compensation and benefits functions into a true ‘total reward’ offering has certainly paid off. An important part of this has been working in partnership with Thomsons Online Benefits to communicate the range of reward on offer to our staff and to drive improved employee engagement through the ‘Imagine’ benefits brand and platform. To be recognised by our industry peers with this award is great recognition for a fabulous team!”

Pay & Benefits is a monthly magazine that provides a comprehensive and reliable news summary and a detailed analysis of the latest payroll and benefits developments. The ‘Team of the Year’ category is awarded to the payroll or benefits team which has worked consistently well to offer exceptional service to its customers, whether internal or external. The judges looked for examples of how the winning team pulled together to produce maximum results and were obviously impressed by the City & Guilds team and their partnership with the Thomsons Online Benefits team to deliver the ‘Imagine’ programme.

Chris Bruce, Managing Director, Thomsons Online Benefits added: “It is so gratifying to see the City & Guilds team recognised for their achievement. Chris Coyne gave an inspiring keynote address at our December Reward Club conference for clients and we had every confidence that they deserved to win this award. They are definitely on a winning streak as they also won the award for ‘Most Effective Benefits Strategy for Organisations with Fewer than 1000 staff’ at the 2011 Employee Benefits Awards.”

Led by Chris Coyne, the City & Guilds team includes HR Operations Manager, Derek Seume, Occupational Safety and Wellbeing Manager, Jem Sarna, Benefits Specialist, Mike Reed and Compensation Specialist, Sangeeta Mistry. As a registered charity operating in a commercially competitive market, efficiency is everything. HR had to lead the change process by adding value while reducing costs. Their new brand identity needed to be communicated and the business needed a vehicle for this - the employee benefits re-launch was a perfect opportunity. Getting this right on the basis of evidence from benefits enrolment data would ensure that City & Guilds continued to attract and retain the right individuals to deliver their agenda for the future.

The highly branded ‘Imagine’ portal powered by Thomsons Online Benefits Darwin™ technology platform and a sophisticated range of communications vehicles such as informative e-booklets written in accessible language, a telephone helpline, launch drop-ins run by Thomsons and themed benefits windows on topics such as pension and financial awareness and health & wellbeing all contributed to it being voted a roaring success by employees.