New employee benefit campaign wins national praise

A first of its kind employee benefit scheme, which has transformed the lives of colleagues at a leading housing provider, has won national recognition.

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Stonewater won Best Benefits Communications - Small Employer Award at this year’s Employee Benefits Awards for its myOwnHome launch campaign.

myOwnHome is an employee shared ownership scheme that supports colleagues with overcoming financial constraints preventing many of them from achieving home ownership in high-value areas like Reading and Bristol.

Given current expensive land prices, Stonewater is not looking to build new homes in those locations, meaning colleagues in these areas are not able to take advantage of the company’s standard shared ownership scheme.

When preparing to launch the scheme, Stonewater’s Corporate Communications team believed it was important to share the announcement in a fun and engaging way, to convey the same excitement colleagues behind the scenes had experienced, whilst developing the new employee benefit.

David Blower, Executive Director (Corporate Services) at Stonewater, said: “We’re not aware of any other housing association offering this type of benefit.

“This meant that the project team had to work with our regulator, our board and our staff committee to get approval of this brand new benefit in time to launch it at our annual company day. The timing meant it seemed like a real 'mission impossible' and so we incorporated that into the materials we created for the launch.”

As well as crafting leaflets, intranet articles and developing a page on its colleague benefit platform, Stonewater also created a short video, which was a parody of the Mission Impossible films.

The video was then shown during a presentation from Stonewater’s CEO and followed with a question and answer session with some of the stars of the video; who had worked behind the scenes to make the scheme possible.

“None of our colleagues had anticipated us launching a scheme like this at our company day or even taking the approach we did,” continued David. “There was not only a huge round of applause but the announcement also brought some of our colleagues, like Linda who was the first to complete through the scheme, to cry tears of happiness.

“The launch of the scheme was a great success, with feedback about the video and stage session being overwhelmingly positive, so I’m absolutely delighted that our team has been awarded for this innovative campaign.”

Stonewater introduced myOwnHome as part of its overarching mission to give everyone the opportunity to have a place they can call home. For more information about the scheme, visit Stonewater’s website here.