Mental health home care organisation Next Stage introduced a voluntary benefits programme in January 2016, using the scheme as a key driver for recruitment and retention. The programme, provided by Perkbox, enables the organisation to offer its 155 staff over 200 perks, such as free mobile phone insurance and retail and leisure discounts. Next Stage has seen take-up of the scheme reach 86%.
With health and social care work often involving long, unsociable hours, in a typically lower-paid environment, Next Stage wanted to provide potential employees with a strong benefits offering that would entice them to stay with the business.
Alex Handley, recruitment manager at Next Stage, says: “We use it as a recruitment and retention tool because you’ve got to do something different to attract the best staff. Everyone is offering the same job, everyone is offering very similar salaries, so when we offer a voluntary benefits package [such as] this, it’s different to other people; it strengthens our position as being an employer of choice.”
The voluntary benefits platform sits alongside a suite of benefits that Next Stage has in place, including a health cash plan, access to a 24/7 counselling service, attendance bonus scheme, and paid volunteering days.
Since introducing the voluntary benefits scheme, the organisation has seen substantial improvements in both referral rates and staff retention, says Hanley. Before January, only 5% of employees referred potential new hires to the business, however, in the past three months, this has increased to 33%. Before the introduction of the scheme, 58% of staff left within 12 months of joining the business; turnover has now fallen to 13%.