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4 min read

Since 2012, the UK has seen a steady increase in turnover rates, leading to a very strong labour market. According to Xpert HR’s latest recruitment survey, the cost-per hire is up by as much as 40%, while one in three employers say labour turnover has increased at their organisation over the past 12 months. 

With a changing market, the pressure is on to find new impactful ways to attract and engage employees and create organisations where their employees thrive. 

When it comes to evolving or introducing new employee benefits, an organisation might budget for a project that will allow them to launch a new programme, but often don’t factor in the cost of the ongoing roll-out or communication of the initiative. This impacts awareness about the benefit, along with its adoption and ROI.

But with more strategic employee communications around innovative benefits, many organisations have seen increased takeup and awareness around their benefits, adding to an increased ROI and happier employees. 

Strategic communications and employee benefits: Spotlight on ViacomCBS


ViacomCBS Networks International, a media group whose portfolio includes MTV, Channel5, Paramount Pictures and more has a benefits team of five based in London.

A big priority for the team is to constantly improve their benefits offering to compete for talent (and retain their veterans) among other media companies. 

To help their strategy, ViacomCBS Networks International focusses on improving employee financial wellbeing with two core products from Reward Gateway, an employee discounts programme and SmartTech, a net salary deduction benefit that supports employees with free financing and instant access to essential technology products and whitegoods.

Discover innovative benefits to engage your employees »

ViacomCBS Networks International can use the benefits in a number of ways to suit their workforce by keeping the benefits window open two times a year, and allowing for an “anytime” benefit for certain groups. The employee discounts programme is always on, to add to the organisation’s retention and attraction strategy. 

Since switching to Reward Gateway as a provider for technology financing, the spend from employees has increased 113%, with employees spending £35,000 on whitegoods and the latest tech. 

Daniela Silva, Reward Analyst for ViacomCBS Networks, says,

From an admin side of things, the flexible benefits window for SmartTech™ has helped us with our overall budgeting and increased takeup from our employees who have more choice in when and how they want to use the benefit. 

With 72% of their people registered and 200+ orders on the employee discounts programme every month, Daniela and her team are doing what they can to promote the benefits to the wider population. Here are a few ways they’ve done it: 

Around high-shopping holidays, like Black Friday: Big spending holidays are a prime time to engage employees with innovative communications. Looking at shopping days where employees are most likely to want to save, such as Black Friday, Christmas or other gift-related days such as Father’s Day or Mother’s Day, can be a big driver for benefits engagement. Here’s an example of a promo we ran around Black Friday: 


Around Back-to-School promotions to extend savings to the family: When savings extend to the whole family, everybody wins! Make back-to-school shopping easier with a list of retailers to buy office supplies and back-to-school essentials like at Argos or new clothes to start the year with a deep discount at John Lewis. 


Proactive communications around benefits windows: Viacom CBS Networks Internal staff can learn directly from benefits champions, including members of the Reward Gateway team, at biannual spring and autumn benefits fairs on how to use and engage with SmartTech and the employee discounts programme.

Plus, additional materials on using employee benefits technology such as the SmartSpending mobile app are always available for distribution to coincide with internal communications around benefits.

making employee benefits adoption easy

Make employee benefits adoption easy for your people

When employees understand and know what benefits are on offer, they’re more likely to adopt employee benefits into their everyday lives, helping solidify the business case for investing in your people

Financial wellbeing benefits like our employee discounts programme and SmartTech™ make it simple for employees to save money on everyday purchases, or create financial flexibility if an emergency arises for a new big-ticket item like a washer, dryer or laptop. 

The focus on financial wellbeing for Viacom seems to have taken off, with one employee noting that SmartTech is “simple to apply for and extremely useful to see what monthly payments would be. It’s a great benefit for Viacom staff.”

When evaluating your benefits, put yourself in your employees’ shoes. What would they want, to help them in their day-to-day? 

If you're interested in learning more about SmartTech or the other employee benefits Reward Gateway offers, reach out to my colleagues below. 

Talk to an Engagement Consultant »


Jenni Yates

Jenni is of one of our Head of Client Successes, whose team works primarily with smaller businesses to help them improve engagement at their company. She loves working with people to get the very best out of them.

Head of Client Success

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