When Buckinghamshire County Council developed an idea for a new recognition-based employee benefit for its staff, it found that providers were not willing to build a new product to suit its needs.
Gillian Hibberd, corporate director (people and policy), explains: “None of the providers have been able to come up with what I wanted them to provide. What they have done instead is try to sell me something that they have already developed.”
The council wanted a motivational gift card that allowed staff to accumulate points that could be converted into non-financial rewards. Although some similar cards are available on the market, these typically require employers to load cash onto the card.
Hibberd was looking for providers that could be more collaborative with the council to help meet its requirements, but found that none were willing to work with it to develop a product for its specific needs.
She adds that she does not doubt the lengths providers go to in order to keep the benefits market fresh, but feels they may not always be hitting the right spots. “I think that many providers are proactive and are trying to come up with new benefits all the time. I think they would be more successful if they asked us how we could develop products together,” she explains.