Reducing absence at Virgin is not pie in sky

Case study: Reducing absence at Virgin is not pie in sky

When looking to demonstrate a return on its benefits investment, Virgin Group looked at absence levels, recording these both before and after new healthcare benefits were introduced.

One of the new benefits provided was an on-site physiotherapist to help employees deal with muscular problems at work.

Caroline Jowett-Ive, group reward manager, explains: “Sickness absence is a good one. You can usually link the money spent on healthcare benefits, particularly the on-site physiotherapy, to reductions in absence.”†

The organisation’s finance department was also interested in the savings that could be made on certain benefits. Jowett-Ive found that the potential financial savings that could be made on group risk benefits, for example, helped to prove that investing in such perks was a worthwhile decision.

When it came to providing hard data, however, Virgin Group’s HR team ran into issues with the fact they wanted money to spend on benefits but had no real evidence to prove how the business would improve after these were introduced.

To overcome this, it drew upon data from other companies that had introduced perks, which helped to prove the potential return on investment, adds Jowett-Ive.

“It can be difficult to get initial buy-in from the finance director because they can’t see the trends,” she explains.