Benefits Everyone: a day at the reward festival

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Max Liversuch and Farhan Aziz from NHS Employers attended the ‘Benefits Everyone Summer Festival’ at the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Find out about their experiences of the festival in this blog and watch the highlights in the short video where they met with organisers, staff and suppliers.

We were pleased to attend the Benefits Everyone Summer Festival at the Royal Victoria Infirmary Hospital site, this was an excellent day with lots of great offers for staff.

At the event staff could find out about salary sacrifice options, including a car benefit scheme, cycle to work and childcare. There were various discounts on local and national services including hotels, local amenities and cinemas. Staff engagement was supported through the presence of the staff networks and the better health at work team. We found the Staff Members Internal Lottery Enterprise (SMILE) fascinating which staff can join by making a small contribution for a monthly cash draw. SMILE comes as part of the staff social Club membership and is also run by them. The social club also organises various events throughout the year at discounted prices and gives their members an opportunity to join the trust fitness centres.

Of course, events like this do not just happen. Fiona Lee, staff benefits manager, and her team worked hard throughout the year to achieve this success, forging constructive working relationships with the suppliers, promoting the event to staff and even helping to set up the marquees in the run up to the festival.

The trust has been running the benefits festival for almost nine years. The festival this year was the biggest and most successful which included more than sixty suppliers, and a number of internal departments including the hospital chaplaincy service and the staff social club. It was great to see staff from all parts of the hospital and the marquees were full to capacity at the busiest times. The trust sees these events as an opportunity to showcase its staff benefits package while promoting constructive working partnerships with suppliers.

The festival this year was themed around the musical fame and was bathed in warm sunshine which encouraged a healthy queue at the ice cream cart. The imaginative and colourful displays produced by suppliers supported the enthusiastic and positive way in which staff greeted the event. There was something for everyone and staff were very appreciative of the opportunity they were given at this event.

Speaking to staff visiting the event confirmed how much they had enjoyed spending time in the marquees and discussing benefits available to them. One attendee said: “I found this event more interactive than reading information on web pages.” Another commented: “It made it real for me and I am going to consider some of the travel options."

Suppliers supported the event as they benefited from talking directly to staff about their products and services. They were keen to join in the spirit of the event and many appeared in fancy dress and ran competitions. There were armfuls of freebees to entice staff in to talk to them.

The benefits everyone team is already looking forward to the next festival which promises to be bigger and better than ever.

View the highlights in our short video and hear from Fiona Lee, staff and suppliers giving us their thoughts on the day.

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