How a not-for-profit, with a distributed workforce, drove their highest ever benefits engagement

Notting Hill Genesis is one of the largest housing associations in London and the south-east. Their diverse 2,000 employees work in offices, at home and in communities across the capital – so driving employee engagement is a big priority.

A Comprehensive Wellbeing Strategy

For years, they’ve built up a comprehensive wellbeing strategy covering mental, physical, career, social and financial wellbeing. But recently, they wanted to take their financial wellbeing programme to the next level and offer even more support to their employees.

Natalie Quilter, who is Diversity, Inclusion and Wellbeing Lead, says that Notting Hill Genesis has long offered various financial benefits to employees – including a rewards platform with offers and discounts as well as a series of training and workshops such as building financial resilience and debt management workshops.

But the team thought there was an opportunity to increase employee engagement further, especially as the cost of living crisis became more prominent. “We can offer financial workshops on general themes, but as HR teams, we don’t know what our employees’ finances are really like and we don’t know what they’re each worried about.” If they could find a benefit that was “tailored to each individual employee,” they were confident they’d see even better engagement. 

Personalised Support: The Lightbulb Moment

“When we discovered Octopus,” Natalie says, “it was a lightbulb moment.” The service was “bespoke to each employee” and “everyone could meet with a coach at a time that was convenient for them.” Now, every employee has access to their own money coach, who gets to know their situation, gives them space to reflect on their financial goals and builds them each a custom action plan.

This personalised approach fits Notting Hill Genesis’s diverse and distributed workforce, which makes it hard to get everyone together at the same time. “The cost of living crisis is affecting everyone and we didn’t want to exclude anyone in the support we’re offering.”

Octopus’ pricing also appealed. The service is 10 times more affordable than traditional finance advice. Plus, every single employee gets the opportunity to have a free 30-45 minute session with their personal coach every year. As a not-for-profit, Notting Hill Genesis was excited about the fact that Octopus also included access to monthly webinars and content for free. “There was so much added value to enhance our financial wellbeing offering.” 

Their Biggest Uptake…Ever

As soon as the benefit launched, Natalie got the engagement she was hoping for – and then some! “The uptake from Octopus was the biggest of any benefit we’ve ever launched. It completely exceeded all of our estimates.” And after hundreds of sessions, employees rated their experience 4.8 out of five stars on average.

The team at Octopus supported Notting Hill Genesis with a comprehensive comms plan to maximise engagement at launch. They used webinars, newsletters, posters and QR codes to make it easier for staff who work on site to book a session with their coach. Natalie says that being able to talk to an expert in a way that’s private and anonymous has given staff “a sense of security.”

And now that employees are holding sessions with their coaches, Natalie also appreciates the insights she’s getting back from Octopus, which are already informing other parts of her strategy. “It’s helping us learn more about the kind of support our employees need,” she says.

“When I talk to people in other businesses I always say, there really isn’t anything as specialised and targeted to someone’s individual financial needs as Octopus.”

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