Where work-based rewards and benefits were once seen as an optional way for businesses to show a duty of care to their employees, they are now recognised as imperative practices that require overt attention with bespoke design and have value across attracting new talent, retaining your best employees, increasing engagement, organisational motivation and much more. For a workforce as large and diverse as ours, it’s incredibly important to offer a comprehensive range of benefits where there is something for everybody. Nobody knows this more than the one and only Chris Brindley, Head of Reward and Co-member Experience at Reed. After a stellar few years which have seen Chris spearhead numerous new reward concepts, we caught up with him to discuss all things #RewardsAtReed – past, present and future!
Chris, thanks for catching up with us today! Let’s go from the beginning, how did your journey with Reed start?
I actually started as a temporary worker, working as a resourcer in Reed Talent Solutions back in 2017 whilst I was still at university. At that point, I heard about Reed’s Graduate Training Scheme (GTS) and was lucky enough for my application to be successful and so, in June 2017, I started as a HR Recruitment Consultant. I loved my time as a consultant, it was so rewarding, you really do get to change people’s lives with placing them into work. I still keep in touch with my placements from that time and I love seeing how their careers are developing! Many are still in the roles I placed them in 5 years ago.
For my second year on the GTS, I moved into the Reward Team, which is part of HR, as a Reward Advisor working directly for the Head of Reward. I really took to it and a year later was promoted to the permanent role of Reward Business Partner, leading the reward function. In April 2022, I was promoted to Head of Reward and Co-member Experience and took on responsibility for communications, engagement, and inclusion and belonging in addition to reward.
Chris’s Graduation from Aston University in 2017 🎓
From the options available via the grad scheme, what was it about Reward that appealed to you?
I’ve always been interested in people and behaviour and so, to be honest, it seemed like an obvious choice. I was really lucky that the opportunity became available at that time because the Reward team is small, only the Head of Reward and a Reward Advisor. Working in reward allows me to utilise my analytical, data-orientated side alongside the people/engagement side. I love the fact that a change I make to a reward or bonus scheme drives people to change their behaviour.
How has Reed’s reward offering evolved since you first started?
It’s pretty unrecognisable to be honest. I believe that reward, and Reed in general, has been through a period of unprecedented change. Some of this is as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, but a lot of it has been driven by our Global MD, Ian Nicholas. He set me and the HR Director a challenge a couple of years ago to reimagine our Network reward offering, and as a result we removed almost all our existing reward schemes and were able to launch new, exciting, market-leading rewards. Co-members can win up to £5,000 worth of holiday vouchers to design their own bespoke holidays, a bundle of the latest technology, unlock private healthcare, or even win a Tesla – none of this was available when I started.
Chris (right) with Natasha Litchfield, Reward Advisor (centre)
As the offering has developed, so has your seniority and responsibilities within the team – was that always the plan? What’s that been like?
Reed is great at seeing people’s potential and giving them opportunities to develop – I count myself lucky to be included within that group. I think it was always the plan to be honest, but you’d be better off asking my manager! What I can say is that when opportunities presented themselves, I was given the ability to run at them, and in time build my experience and knowledge. It’s been super challenging, working in reward during a pandemic was something that I will never forget and wouldn’t want to repeat. Even since then, Reed has been on a journey of re-imagining itself, so that’s been equally challenging, but it’s all been worth it for me personally.
As an expert, I’m sure people would love to know – what’s your personal favourite reward on offer?
Thrive, without question. The Golden Ticket scheme gets a lot of attention because it’s a big event which we communicate on periodically, but for me the Thrive scheme really connects to our Co-member Value Proposition and Company Purpose of Improving lives through work. Co-members get to go on a bespoke, fully designed by them, holiday of a lifetime with their family or friends. They will make memories they will remember forever as a result of a scheme we launched – I love it!
What is the “Golden Tickets” scheme? How would I qualify for this or “Thrive”?
Golden Tickets was a little nucleus of an idea that Karen, HR Director, had where we wanted a big bang moment at the end of the financial year, so we actually had the idea of the event before we knew what the prizes were!
Consultants, accounts co-members and business managers qualify for a Golden Ticket each period if they bill over £20,000 that period. Managers qualify based on net income and contribution growth and central support co-members qualify based on peer-to-peer nominations for bringing our purpose and values to life. Consultants can win either a bundle of the latest technology, chosen by themselves, or a Tesla! Lifechanging. Managers and central support co-members win a bespoke holiday to the value of £3,000. All the golden tickets are then entered into a draw and the eight lucky winners find out in a massive end of year virtual live event. We sent members of the Board around the country, from Ipswich to Edinburgh, to bounce into the office on the live event and surprise the winners.
Thrive is for our very best consultants, accounts co-members and business managers who all run their own desks. For those that bill over £200,000 in the year, we give them an additional bonus £2,000 bonus at Christmas. For those who bill over £300,000+ in the year, they are eligible for up to £5,000 of holiday vouchers plus £5,000 bonus at Christmas. I love the Thrive scheme as it’s a real incentive to hit those billing levels and what a fantastic reward for their hard work.
The Tesla winner reveal from our first annual live Golden Tickets giveaway this year🏎️
Very exciting times! If you have any spoilers to share, we’d love to hear about what the long-term future of Reward looks like for Reed?
I can’t give away too much, but there’s plenty to keep us busy at the moment! One upcoming initiative I can let you in on is that that we are currently working on launching a salary sacrifice electric vehicle scheme which will allow eligible co-members access to electric vehicles in a tax efficient way – win, win.
And there you have it! From Chris’s journey through Reed to some of the exciting initiatives on the way, #RewardsAtReed is clearly something to keep your eye on (eye emoji). In the meantime, you can check out some recent highlights from our co-members enjoying some of the previously mentioned rewards below!
By Ryan Pearson