Local government organisation uses engagement hub and employee advocates to engage 81% of its staff
Ashford Borough Council is a local authority providing services to those living in Ashford, Tenterden and the many surrounding villages. They have nearly 460 employees who work from 18 locations, with almost all having online access.
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The team at Ashford Borough Council had one clear challenge – how to reward staff in a public sector, local government environment whilst being faced with a decreasing government grant. This was particularly important as the Council wanted to attract talented employees who would fit in with their forward thinking vision. And to do that, they knew they needed to provide a suitably strong employee reward package.
In a time of low funding, the team needed to persuade their management team that the money needed for employee reward was justifiable in a time when pay rises were limited. The age-old public sector question would also need to be answered – could the cost be justified?
In order to show the merit for overall employee reward, the team cleverly gauged the interest of their people to see if it was something they actually wanted. After a single day, a quarter of staff registered their support. These encouraging employee statistics were incorporated into a wider pitch to management, and soon after a trial period began.
Seeing the value for money in partnering with Reward Gateway, the team implemented their employee engagement hub and named it “My Ashford Rewards,” complete with unbeatable employee discounts. A custom designed cartoon pig named “Wilbur” was also created in conjunction to become the hub’s mascot, complete with his own monthly article in the staff magazine. The team used this to establish a recognisable brand which they could tie into seasonal initiatives, such as highlighting the January sales, summer holidays and Christmas shopping.
In order to reach every area of the Council, the team used a direct communication strategy aimed at continuously drip-feeding information as employees sit at their desk and move around the building. This helps the hub form part of their everyday routine through the following channels:
The team also used their hub and discounts to create a buzz amongst the Council and form the first staff engagement team. This team is made up of a wide variety of volunteers from mixed genders, ages, lengths of service and departments. They provide valuable feedback as well as actively drive awareness and engagement through the Council, being particularly effective in areas which find traditional communications too corporate.
Thanks to the team’s efforts, there is 81% engagement with their “My Ashford Rewards” hub, 371 live registrations and to date there’s been a spend of £1.3 million – which has given employees a saving of £126,000. The cost savings the organisation has seen is nearly 2x that of a company-wide pay rise, as the £126,000 saving employees have made would have cost £156,000 as a pay rise, considerably more than what the Council spend on the overall offering.
The team have also seen scope to expand their offering to include recognition through Reward Gateway’s eCards, which will be designed to fit into the immediately identifiable “My Ashford Reward” brand.
As for the formidable team of engagement volunteers, their enthusiasm and dedication has made a considerable impact to the engagement of benefits and wider staff events.
engagement with rewards hub
saved by employees through platform