BBC improves flex take up with health benefits


EXCLUSIVE: BBC has increased take up of its flexible benefits scheme to 38% since it introduced a range of new healthcare benefits in April.

The media organisation’s flexible benefits scheme, which is provided by Vebnet, has been in place since 2011.

In April, the BBC added personal accident insurance, heart scans and cancer checks, as well as adding a cheaper level to its private medical insurance (PMI) scheme.

The scheme previously included PMI, critical illness insurance and health assessments.

Before the changes, 5,600 of BBC’s 19,000 employees had made selections. Take up has now increased to 7,200 staff.

Barry West, reward manager at the BBC, said: “The introduction of such benefits has helped increase take-up of benefits at the organisation.

“It is true to say that employee benefits have not had a great focus here at the BBC in the past. People want to work for the organisation because the brand is very strong.

“But, over the last few years, we have increased this focus to improve our benefits offering to staff and increase take up.

“There has been a huge focus on healthcare benefits and the quality of these benefits are important to us. Those that do sign up get value for it.”

The improvement in take up can also be attributed to the BBC’s re-designed online benefits portal, which was also introduced in April. The new portal is in line with the BBC brand, to make it look similar to the organisation’s consumer website.

Communication included e-cards, emails and roadshows, although West said the communication could be better.

“The design was new for this year and we put more focus on the front page of our portal so that it stuck with the BBC brand,” he said. ”It worked better. Employees can see what is on offer easily and we got some good feedback on this.

“We want to be able to help people to understand what benefits are available to them and help them make choices. That is where we need to focus, on the communications side.

“Some are good, but in other areas we are not so consistent in making sure everybody who is eligible and could sign up understands what is on offer.