Health cash plan provider Simplyhealth has revamped its benefits and reward proposition for its 1,300 UK-based employees, including enhancing the organisation’s defined contribution (DC) pension scheme, introducing financial education and launching a flexible benefits personal spending account.
The changes to the organisation’s benefits offering, which were collectively effective from 1 January 2018, have been designed to help increase employee engagement and better support employees with their personal lives and finances, to align with Simplyhealth’s organisational purpose of supporting people. The revised benefits and reward approach was informed by both internal and external research conducted over 2017, which gathered feedback on the benefits that Simplyhealth’s employees valued. This included an in-depth seven-week consultation process with an employee forum held in July and August 2017.
As part of the changes, Simplyhealth has enhanced its DC pension scheme by paying a 6% employer contribution into every employee’s pension pot to fulfill auto-enrolment requirements. This means that employees do not have to contribute to their workplace pension in order to save for their retirement. If employees decide to contribute 4% of their salary to their pension, Simplyheath will match this with an additional 4% employer contribution, on top of the initial 6% employer contribution. This additional employer contribution can be placed in the employee’s pension, or be put towards medium- or short-term savings goals instead, such as saving for a rental deposit, buying a house, or paying off a student loan.
Previously, employees were only able to receive an employer contribution to their pension by also paying in themselves with a minimum contribution of 3% of salary.
Simplyhealth has also introduced a flexible benefits personal spending account, which awards employees with an allocated pot of money to spend on the flexible benefits of their choice, such as travel insurance, private medical insurance, shopping vouchers, or out-of-workplace learning, for example driving lessons or sports coaching. Employees at or under middle management grade will receive an annual personal spending account of £500, and employees above this level will receive £1,200.
If employees additionally use some of their own money for out-of-workplace learning opportunities, Simplyhealth will match fund up to £100.
Financial education has been added to the organisation’s intranet site to signpost employees to information pertaining to how they can utilise the new benefits and enhancements to make their salary go further. The financial education programme will be developed to include more articles in future, and Simplyhealth also has a view to potentially incorporate financial advice in due course.
A new reward framework has been launched to introduce two new ways employees can be paid in recognition of good performance. This includes a group-wide annual bonus that is based on achieving business performance targets, and a recognition bonus for individual employees of between £750 and £5,000, depending on an employee’s level within the business.
In addition, annual leave has been increased to 28 days for all employees, with service-related elements removed. Previously, employees needed six-months of service before they could select benefits, but this has also been removed to enable employees to make their benefits selections from their first day.
The benefits changes were communicated to managers at the beginning of October 2017, and then cascaded to all employees at the end of that month.
This started with events that informed employees of the key benefits changes. These larger sessions were then followed up with one-to-one meetings with managers, personalised paper packs that employees could take home, emails and mail shots, on-site digital screen promotions, and benefits fairs.
The benefits fairs, which up to 700 employees attended over the organisation’s two UK sites, were primarily used to launch the new retail vouchers offering, which became effective in October 2017. To date, more than 50% of employees have been active on the retail voucher site since its launch.
In December 2017, employees were able to make their benefits selections, with the new benefits and reward framework officially live from 1 January 2018.
Paul Thomas (pictured), head of reward at Simplyhealth, said: “So for us, it’s about having meaningful rewards and meaningful benefits that genuinely make a difference to people’s lives. And we’ve really designed this whole reward and benefits approach based on what really makes a difference to our people.
“For me, it’s around trying to drive real engagement with our employees, so this is a great way of being able to connect the employees to the organisation that they work in, and if we can make a difference to people’s lives, whether that’s on a daily basis or even every now and again, for me it just means that they’re really committed, really engaged, and want to do their best for the organisation.”