Ashford Borough Council uses award-winning communication strategy to launch My Ashford Rewards to an age diverse workforce. This has lead to 87% engagement, 84% of employees rating their overall employment as good or excellent, and 89% of employees saving at least £500 each year with My Ashford Rewards.
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One main challenge had grasped the team at Ashford Borough Council, how to reward staff in a public sector local government environment against a backdrop of decreasing government funding. Especially when they faced the age-old public sector question of – could management and councillors justify the cost to the media if necessary?
Ashford Borough Council also has a competency framework that is built around being risk aware not risk averse, being flexible and open to change. Gone are the days of white collar workers doing the same job day in, day out for 40 years. They require their employees to move with technology, to be creative, and to continuously improve their knowledge, skill sets, and processes. To achieve this, they needed to entice and retain the sort of employees that will achieve their business objectives with an excellent, all-around employment package.
Initial research was conducted by the team through a survey in their staff magazine. After just one day, 25% of staff had registered their support, indicating how much employees value the idea of having employee benefits in place. With this weight of approval on their side, the team set about partnering with Reward Gateway to launch their SmartHub® powered platform – My Ashford Rewards.
To kick off, Ashford Borough Council wanted to create a recognisable brand that they could use for the promotion of My Ashford Rewards. Thought was put into a personality that could be the mascot for the platform and, with the incorporation of their corporate brand colours, Wilbur was born. Wilbur, otherwise known as Sir Wilbur of Trottsville, became the mascot and logo for My Ashford Rewards. He’s a piggy bank with his own monthly article in the staff magazine showcasing different ways of using the site to save money.
Ashford Borough Council used the customisable features of SmartHub® to make Wilbur move with the seasons. This is a powerful promotional tool as it meant Wilbur could highlight the New Year sales, Valentine’s Day gifts, summer holidays, and Christmas shopping, as well as being used to promote My Ashford Rewards in different ways to appeal to different genders and age ranges. He has become instantly recognisable and associated with saving money – Ashford Borough Council even put him on their branded KitKats that were given out via deskdrop when launching their SmartHub® platform!
My Ashford Rewards saw engagement with the platform reach 87% and their staff saving £89,000 too, which would have cost over £110,000 to provide as a pay rise.
The team at Ashford Borough Council conducted a follow-up survey in January 2016 revealing 80% of employees were happy with their pay and benefits, and 84% rated overall employment as good or excellent. They also found that 85% of employees agreed their benefits package influences their decision to stay at the council, and 89% save at least £500 each year with My Ashford Rewards.
in employee savings since launch
employees rated overall employment as good or excellent