We introduced the role of staff benefit champions during our May 2016 reward roadshows, as we had identified that not all staff were receiving our reward and staff benefit information through existing communication channels. Benefit champions support the promotion and development of staff benefits and health and wellbeing initiatives. We send our champions a monthly email about new and existing benefits and they share the information with their colleagues through the best communication channel for their area.
Since May 2016, we have increased the number of champions from the 140, recruited at the roadshows, to over 330. To make sure each ward and department has a benefit champion, we carried out a mapping exercise that showed all areas of the trust have their own benefit champion. During our November 2016 reward roadshows we evaluated the success of benefit champions by asking staff whether they receive the monthly information. We used a simple, fun method of asking staff who attended the stand to put coloured balls into 'yes' and 'no' bowls to indicate whether they had received the information. We also asked whether the information was having a positive impact on their awareness and take up of staff benefits.
Over 95 per cent of those that responded said they received the monthly benefit information through their champion. They received this in various ways, including through notice boards, in team meetings and by email. Staff also confirmed that champions have raised their awareness of benefits and encouraged them to access the different rewards we offer.
One of the biggest improvements since implementing benefit champions is that we have been able to establish regular engagement and two-way communication with staff across the whole trust. This has helped us involve staff in the decision-making process for new benefits and initiatives, ensuring we can deliver the benefits they find valuable. As a result, we now have a trust netball team and are currently assessing interest in setting up some on-site salsa classes for beginners.
The evaluation of benefit champions has confirmed that they have enhanced our established methods of communicating staff benefits and the awareness that staff have of their reward offer.
You can find out more about how the trust has developed and communicated their reward offer from Andrew Jones, director of workforce and organisational development, who will be be speaking at our Reward in the NHS event on Thursday 4 May in London. Places are limited - book your place now to avoid disappointment.
To find out more about the role of benefit champions, why the trust decided to use them and how they recruited new champions, read our case study with Arlene: Using benefit champions to promote staff rewards.