Case study: Notting Hill Housing Trust
Notting Hill Housing Trust is to launch a voluntary benefits scheme this month to help it stand out from its competitors. Jayne Hilditch, corporate services director at Notting Hill Housing Trust, admits it is unusual for an organisation in the social housing sector to implement a voluntary benefits scheme.
"Our pay is average for the sector and we offer the same pension and holiday as pretty much everyone else. There is very little in the core benefits package that differentiates us so this should make us an employer of choice."
The scheme, which is administered by You At Work, will be the first for the organisation. Previously, it only offered discounts at nearby amenities, such as the local gym or Wagamama’s restaurant. "We want to be more consistent and offer a bundle of benefits rather than an ad-hoc mix," says Hilditch.
However, one of the main benefits that attracted the housing association to offer a voluntary benefits package – HCI – is no longer available. If tax exemptions were not still available on bicycles, Hilditch doubts they would have opted for a voluntary benefits plan. "The rest of the benefits are nice but people could get the same discounts elsewhere," she says.
Bicycles tie in with the Trust’s ‘Healthy Workforce’ initiative, however, which it is promoting this year. Hilditch will be watching closely to see if staff value the voluntary scheme at its launch. If it proves successful, the plan could pave the way for the introduction of further perks. "Ultimately, we want to go down the flexible benefits route but approach it in a phased way," she adds.