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How PPL's new benefits package helped improve engagement by 7% and win an award

Sheneen Harris

Compensation and Benefits Manager


Following the changes being announced, indicators show they will have an impact on retention. If we compare June to September last year with June to September this year we have seen a 20% reduction in voluntary leavers.
Sheneen Harris
PPL-HR-team-with-Peter-Leathem 2

How PPL successfully introduceda benefits package tailored to their employee’s needs and won the Employee Engagement Award for Reward and Recognition.

PPL, based in London, licenses the use of recorded music in the UK for broadcast, online and public performance. They collect and distribute royalties on behalf of their 90,000 record company and performer members.

As part of PPL’s ongoing people strategy, they focused on reviewing their benefit package to help achieve their aim; becoming an employer of choice within the music industry, attracting talent, whilst retaining and motivating employees. Their approach won them the coveted Employee Engagement Awards Reward and Recognition Awar.

Employee engagementat PPL


PPL have worked with People Insight for several years. Through surveying and analysis, they have been able to identify key issues and make significant improvements, increasing their engagement score by 7 percentage points in four years. Really significantly, they have also improved staff’s belief in the survey and change process, with a whopping 72% believing improvements in the organisation will happen as a result of the survey findings.

Sheneen Harris, Compensation and Benefits Manager at PPL, who lead the project said,

“Working with People Insight has allowed PPL to gain valuable feedback from employees on their workplace experience thus ensuring the people and engagement strategy continues to align to current desires making PPL a more enjoyable place to work.”

Despite these positive survey results, PPL had identified through the survey that only 43% of employees thought that the benefits they received compared favourably with other employers in our industry, against an external benchmark of 48%.

…I have worked here for over 10 years and thoroughly enjoy the social aspect in PPL. I do feel my job makes a difference, the experience and interest in the way we work is very interesting, and fruitful…
…the not for profit work that we do, the flexibility in working hours/working from home for those who need it or are of disability is absolutely great. Overall it really is one of the best companies I have worked for and I am really proud to work for PPL…

Challenges PPL faced

PPL undertook a thorough analysis of its benefits scheme to understand what might be causing dissatisfaction, and the results revealed:

  • The benefit offering did not match PPL’s young employee demographic – half of staff are millennials. Analysis showed the package was most appropriate for a middle aged, married male with children
  • Employees were not aware of all the benefits available and 84% of employees did not know the monetary value of their benefits
  • A large number of the benefits were not available until 1 years’ service and therefore employees within their first year had very little access, aside from pensions

In addition, the scheme was not as cost effective as it could be for employees:

  • The Private Medical Insurance (PMI) scheme – a taxable benefit – was due for renewal and the cover rate was due to increase by 30%
  • The broker arrangement included 8% commission of the annual health benefit premium, and the fee was being passed onto employees and taxed

PPL’s vision &strategic priorities

Given the challenges PPL faced, 3 clear priorities emerged:

  • To update the current benefit offering so that it was relevant to the company’s demographic
  • To raise benefit awareness
  • To increase understanding of the value of the benefits available

Sheneen said,

“We wanted employees to have a package that differentiates PPL from other organisations, and to make sure they understood and took full advantage of the benefits available to them.

As a not for profit, we wanted to ensure that we were receiving the return on our investment as well as ensure that we have the most cost effective solution.”

External and internalreview of benefits

Sheneen said,

“We carried out research both externally and internally with a focus on looking at benefits that would appeal to our average demographic.


“We carried out a review and audit of PPL employee data and the benefits available, to give a strategic overview of current benefits and the benefits that we should offer in the future. We also benchmarked benefits against firms with a similar economic profile of employees.


“Staff undertook a survey to understand how they perceived the benefits package and what they would most value.

We recognised a need for a brand for this project, so the ‘WE ARE LISTENING’ brand, used for our engagement survey was further evolved to the ‘WE ARE REWARDING’ brand.”


The additional holiday for long serving employees is the benefit I would most like introduced… it would really show PPL’s commitment to rewarding loyal staff.
Most benefits are not affordable, i.e. not everyone can afford to purchase extra holiday. Length of service awards like holiday can make a bigger impact for lower paid people.
There’s no link or real perks to reward us for working within the music industry, which is the main reason why I applied for my current role.

Quotes from the internal staff survey about the existing benefits scheme and what they would like to change

New benefits packagefor staff announced

“Following the audit and the survey with staff, we were delighted to be able to roll out a range of new benefits under the ‘WE ARE REWARDING’ brand. We had listened, and this package is much better suited to our staff, with the majority available from day 1 of employment,” said Sheneen.

The benefits now include:

  • Music benefit – annual expense claim of £120 towards a music related activity
  • Fruit baskets – to promote health and wellbeing
  • Social activities – a social committee arranges monthly events to aid cross department interaction
  • Holiday increasing with length of service –Increases from 25 days by one day a year, up to 30 days (after two years’ service)
  • Holiday buy scheme – changed to salary sacrifice providing the employee with tax and NI savings
  • PMI scheme – qualifying period reduced from 12 to 6 months
  • Health cash plan – qualifying period reduced from 12 months to from day 1
  • Life assurance scheme – the qualifying period reduced from 6 months to from day 1
  • Group income protection scheme – qualifying period reduced from 2 years for managers and 5 years for non-managers to from day 1

To ensure staff understood both what was on offer, and the value of the benefits, PPL also introduced total reward statements. They continue to carry out regular communication under the heading ‘WE ARE REWARDING’ as well as deliver benefit workshops.

What difference havethe benefits made in PPL?

Overall engagement has improved by 7 points over the last 4 years which is a significant improvement. Underpinning this two key improvements stand out: belief that benefits are good at PPL compared to other employers (up 18 points) and belief that the organisation will act on the survey findings (up 21 points.)

“There have already been some significant impacts on the business,” Sheneen says.

Following the changes being announced, indicators show they will have an impact on retention. If we compare June to September last year with June to September this year we have seen a 20% reduction in voluntary leavers.

The benefits review revealed a number of opportunities for cost savings. Introducing salary sacrifice benefits and driving take up numbers will increase the employer NI cost saving for PPL, whilst an increase in employee engagement supports retention which will lead to a decrease in costs associated with recruitment. In addition to this moving from a commission based broker arrangement to a fixed fee basis has also seen a reduction in the cost.

The additional holiday is great!! I think that definitely boosted morale and helped employees see that they were being listened to. The vouchers for the music services were really good and will make us all feel that little bit closer to the music industry.

Employee survey score improvements as measured by People Insight



PPL have really shown employees they care, with rewards that PPL recognises they deserve. Through that care comes a more relevant and healthy benefits package on offer. PPL has been able to dramatically reduce qualifying periods for benefits, introduce new benefits, reduce cost and ensure they are both relevant and accessible to all employees.

The new benefits strategy is cost-effective and aligned with the employee demographic. It has delivered against the original goals and had a significant impact internally, at relatively low cost.

PPL listened to its employees and used the insight to make changes that impact and benefit everyone.