Azzurri Communications won the “Award for Reward and Benefits” at last night’s Personnel Today awards, following the implementation of their flexible benefits scheme, “The Benefits Network”, in conjunction with Thomsons Online Benefits.

The Personnel Today awards are one of the most prestigious events in the HR calendar, and set out to recognise businesses that have made an impact with their people policies, successfully managing change, and delivering great bottom-line results.

Azzurri Communications was founded in 2000 and is a leading managed services company delivering flexible voice, data and mobile communications. The company has grown rapidly over the last 10 years, partly through the acquisition of 16 companies, and as a consequence had a lack of unity.

From a benefits perspective, bringing together so many companies resulted in an inefficient and confusing assortment of benefit entitlements and providers. Azzurri appointed Thomsons Online Benefits to harmonise their benefits, including 17 pension schemes, and to create a unified benefit brand to satisfy their key business objectives to:

  • Install equality by introducing a harmonised benefits scheme post acquisitions;
  • Improve employee engagement and increase retention;
  • Reduce administrative inefficiencies and costs, reduce benefit premiums and increase salary sacrifice;
  • Create an accessible communications strategy for office based and non office based workers;
  • Offer a competitive package.

This required a flexible online benefits system that could be easily communicated to all sectors of the workforce with easy access and engaging offerings.

Thomsons Online Benefits created a flexible benefits scheme informed largely by results of a survey undertaken to assess employee needs, and feedback from the employee representative forum ‘Voice of Azzurri’.

The introduction of the Benefits Network has delivered impressive business benefits to Azzurri including:

  • Improved employee engagement, reduced staff turnover and attraction of new employees;
  • Improved employee perception - 89% of employees now think Azzurri is an excellent place to work (previously 56% before scheme implementation);
  • Reduced sickness absence from an average of 7% to 2% a saving equivalent to 38 man days per year or £20k;
  • Reduced staff turnover - it is down from 28% to 8.9% which represents a saving of £1.3million per year in recruitment, training and time. Reduced administration of existing benefit schemes saving approx £100k pa;
  • Reduced the number of pension schemes from 17 to 1 saved £35k pa in premiums, plus £15k pa savings on advisers’ fees. Increased use of salary sacrifice bringing a saving of £45k pa.

Noel McGonigle, HR Director at Azzurri, who on the night was also shortlisted for HR Director of the Year, and the HR Team of the Year awards, comments: “We are absolutely delighted to have won this award, which really cements the outstanding success of the introduction of the Benefits Network. By working closely in partnership with Thomsons Online Benefits, we have delivered a scheme which works at all levels – for our employees, for our HR team and for the business. It is testament to the hard work put in by ourselves and Thomsons and we look forward to continuing to develop it.