Engine Group is the UK’s largest independent communications company, comprising 12 companies in several market sectors, employing 830 people in the UK.
In 2011, the organisation formed an LLP and became Engine People UK. This gave rise to several challenges, including harmonising the benefits offering across 12 different businesses, each with its own culture and demographics, and with major differences in sick pay and maternity leave, as well as multiple providers of pensions and other benefits.
With no facility for using salary sacrifice for pension or other benefits, and with an imminent staging date, the group faced additional pressures in establishing a pension and payroll system that was fit for auto-enrolment.
There was also confusion among employees about the overall reward package, making an effective benefits communications strategy a priority. Engine People UK sought a benefits package that would match this diverse and complex workforce, and a seamless system of delivery.
Through close collaboration Engine and Thomsons Online Benefits were able to identify which benefits were already in place, and model the cost implications for the CEO of each of the 12 companies, setting out a plan for migration to a central scheme.
There was a relatively short lead-time in which to work; the government had changed the dates for retail distribution cut off, and Engine needed to use postponement for auto-enrolment to allow more time to deliver the new package.
A new company-wide benefits portal, My Benefits, My Choice, was launched in September 2013, delivering a broad range of employee benefits, tailored to the brand, without compromising the individuality of Engine’s component businesses and cultures.
Communication of the new scheme was personalised for each business and driven through multiple channels to reflect each culture, including email, workplace posters, awareness days, one to one meetings, presentations, desk drops, and even branded cup-cakes.
Eight months after launch, My Benefits, My Choice has proved to be a huge success across all component businesses, with 85% logging onto the portal.
The health and wellbeing elements of My Benefits, My Choice have proved popular. On Engine’s health awareness day, which included yoga and boxing classes and talks by experts in cycling and nutrition, more than 250 employees had their BMI checked.
With group personal pensions offered through salary sacrifice, the company has increased its annual employer NI savings by more than £20,000.
Other salary sacrifice benefits, including childcare vouchers, bikes to work and holiday buying, have delivered further employer NI savings.
Creating a single benefits scheme tailored to the Engine brand, while meeting the very diverse needs of its component business parts, was a major challenge, but My Benefits, My Choice has delivered on both counts, with increased take up and higher cost savings, and greater clarity on the value of Engine’s reward offering to employees and partners throughout the group.
Of employees and partners logged on
Flex selections made at launch
By collaborating with Thomsons, Engine Group implemented a benefits portal to harmonise their benefits offering across 12 different businesses, leading to employee engagement and annual NI savings.
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