Giving employees access to discounted products through a voluntary benefits scheme is a cheap, cost-effective way to provide benefits, particularly for employers that cannot afford to pay for staff perks. But voluntary schemes are by no means the poor relations of the benefits world. Many employers offer them alongside core or flexible benefits plans to give employees a greater range of choice at little, or no, extra cost to the organisation. Voluntary benefits schemes can also be used as a first step towards flex to enable employers to introduce the concept of choice around benefits to staff.
Employees typically look to voluntary benefits schemes to obtain discounts they could not achieve elsewhere on everyday products and services. Tastes appear to have changed little over time, with some of the most popular voluntary benefits now offered by employers – gym membership, healthcare/ hospital cash plan, dental and travel insurance – remaining the same as those offered by respondents five years ago.