Realigning reward to drive change and improve employee engagement

Cross Keys Homes (CKH) manages in excess of 10,500 homes in the Greater Peterborough region. Employing circa 320 staff, the organisation’s vision is to create opportunities that change lives through their drive, expertise, resources and passion. They do this by being a local social enterprise, with housing at its core. While continuing to provide services in Peterborough, CKH is expanding beyond and building a more significant regional presence, whilst continuing to offer more affordable housing.

The issue

Before the project commenced, the reward frameworks had not been reviewed for over 10 years. With a leaning towards the local authority terms and conditions that were the legacy of the organisation, they were no longer meeting current business needs. With new values and behaviours, CKH needed employees to live by the new culture of a commercial business with a social heart and respond to the changes in its business environment, brought about by the reductions in rent introduced by the Government.

Our solution

The project involved a high level of collaborative working between CKH and Paydata, to deliver the required results against very tight timescales. Paydata led most of the research and reward policy design work, whereas CKH led the organisation design, communication and contract-related activities. 

Our approach is to deliver evidence-based solutions. We suggested that CKH should undertake a discovery project to make sure there was absolute clarity about the changes required and that a wide cross-section of views were considered. 

Through a series of interviews, questionnaires and workshops we clarified the cultural changes CKH desired, the reward drivers they wanted to focus on, and what needed to change from the current approach to bring this about.

Based on this work we made a number of key recommendations:

  • Develop a function-based job family structure, underpinned by our PAYgrade factor points-weighted job evaluation system;
  • Introduce a pay ladder made up of fixed pay points, and hang the job family levels off the ladder, so they align to different market benchmarking data sources;
  • Adopt a skills-based pay system, whereby progression through the pay points is linked to skills development;
  • Review the bonus structure to ensure it is adding value and supporting the required behaviours;
  • Review a number of benefit areas, in order to bring them into line with best practice;
  • Redesign the performance management process to increase its effectiveness; and
  • Improve communication of the employee value proposition, by introducing total reward statements.

Based on these recommendations we developed the job family framework. In the process we evaluated around 120 roles, covering the whole organisation. We also carried out all the benchmarking work, created the pay ladder, and determined where each family level should hang off the ladder.

The outcome

This project resulted in all employees accepting the changes to their terms and conditions. The approach adopted and the results delivered were acknowledged as being fair and fit-for-purpose, including by the two recognised trade unions that negotiated on behalf of the employees. 

“At CKH we’re very proud of the fact that the Pay and Benefits project – working in close partnership with Paydata - was delivered to time and budget, with all employees signing contracts reflecting their new terms and conditions, without exception. Perhaps more importantly though, is the way in which we have changed how we reward and recognise competence and performance; our approach to this has fundamentally changed and is already instrumental in supporting the organisation in its cultural change programme, as well as enabling us to continue to deliver against our strategic imperatives.

“Paydata has proved to be a very effective reward partner for CKH, sharing their expertise generously, challenging us when needed and at all times supporting us to get the right solution for our organisa­tion.”

Allison Long
Executive Director of Organisational Effectiveness & HR
Cross Keys Homes