Amanda PhillisIt’s well known that happy, motivated employees perform more effectively at work.

We strive to deliver a stimulating working environment for colleagues, along with a range of incentives which improve quality of life, and give employees a stake in our success.

The approach is working, with an encouraging increase in our annual employee engagement survey scores in 2013/14, seeing us reach the ‘UK high performance’ benchmark as measured by Towers Watson (a leading provider in employee and engagement surveys throughout the UK).

Recent improvements to our employee reward and recognition programme include:

Extending our private healthcare coverage: from April 1, 2014, we extended our company-funded private medical coverage to almost all our employees, including apprentices. We also redesigned our healthcare benefits, in consultation with non-managerial employees, introducing ‘cash back’ for everyday healthcare expenses, while retaining core private medical cover.

Sharing success: at the start of the current financial year we increased the maximum savings limit under our employee share scheme, ShareBuy, from £1,500 a year to £1,800 a year. To encourage uptake among colleagues, we also provide one free share for every five shares bought by employees. Around one third of employees currently participate in ShareBuy, giving them a vested interest in our performance.

Recognising good performance: our bonus scheme rewards great performance at all levels of the company. Bonuses are paid to colleagues who outperform stretching targets. Following strong company performance in 2013/14, bonuses totalling £16 million were paid to employees.

Discount scheme: from childcare vouchers to a great deal on a new bike, we offer colleagues a staff discount scheme which unlocks savings on wide range of goods and services.

High quality pensions: we recognise the importance of helping employees to plan for the future and 98 per cent of our employees are signed up to our pension schemes.

Some longer serving employees are members of our historic defined benefit schemes. Newer employees can participate in our defined contribution pension scheme.

The defined contribution pension scheme has received the NAPF Pensions Quality Mark Plus and offers ethical investment options for employees.

If you would like to send us a comment about this report, please email our Head of Sustainability, Chris Matthews