Moneyway FlexiBen (entered by Motivano)
This entrant was the outright winner because it got its voluntary benefits exactly right for its budget, employee profile and business objectives.
This small banking company has 180 staff who are largely on salaries of £14,000 a year, and most have been there for fewer than three years. The ethos is that “first and foremost we are a bank, but one with a great personality”, with the understanding that there is a link between happy staff and happy customers, and happy customers mean commercial success. Moneyway clearly understood its business limitations and parameters, so linked its voluntary benefits into the broader HR strategy to achieve success.
The challenge was to explain the benefits of using salary sacrifice to obtain voluntary benefits to make pay go further. Rather than having HR, consultants or managers explain this concept, the firm introduced a character call FlexiBen, which it felt would appeal to the Generation Y audience. This small, rubber figure had his own, highly popular Facebook page and ‘tweets’ on Twitter, as well as communicating via more traditional media. FlexiBen has now achieved cult status among staff. There are also benefits champions (Flexerts) in each department, helping the firm to elicit new ideas on how to promote the voluntary benefits.
Voluntary benefits include: buying and selling holidays, health and wellbeing assessments, health cash plan, medical and dental insurance, childcare vouchers, bikes-to-work scheme, group personal pension, and give-as-you-earn. Staff rewards are given via the website as vouchers.
Now 36% of staff use voluntary benefits. The cost of running the scheme was £5,600 and, overall, Moneyway has saved £41,000 through using salary sacrifice – a return on investment of 728%.
E.On My choice everyday (entered by Benefex)
Among a low-paid workforce where staff might move jobs for just £500 more a year, it was important to offer a voluntary benefits plan that really delivered savings. An existing scheme was rebranded with specific emphasis on offering products that appeal to young people with no children. It proved especially popular in the run-up to Christmas. Good use of technology.
Farrer and Co
This voluntary benefits package is closely aligned with the core perks, rather than being a second level of standalone benefits. The largely tax-efficient benefits are promoted during bonus month, but staff can take them up at any time. New perks were added after staff feedback.
This entrant originally wanted flexible benefits, but opted for the voluntary route for cost and strategic reasons. Many non-UK staff are in the country short term, so want to maximise cash earnings. The salary sacrifice-based offering is limited but appropriate for this small firm. Take-up is very high at about 40%.
A neat little scheme that is run in-house by one person and grew out of trying to get cheaper pizzas for night shift staff. Run online, it can be accessed internally and externally, and uses staff feedback to suggest suppliers. About 80% of staff registered to use the scheme, compared with 65% in 2008. Cost is £1 per employee.
IBM IBM rewards (entered by Asperity Employee Benefits)
The goal of this established plan was to increase engagement from 56% to 75%. Existing offerings were improved using technology and the employee community. The entry demonstrates senior commitment, sharing of staff stories, and innovative use of Twitter feeds and You Tube videos.
See full list of winners and finalists for the Employee Benefits Awards 2010