Flexible Benefits

Case Study 7 - A small Branding and PR Company

A small Branding and PR company had been looking to implement a flexible benefits scheme for their employees for two years, but due to a number of influencing factors they had been unable to achieve this.
The main factors were:
  • Size of company, less than 50 employees
  • Providers were not prepared to offer a fully flexible scheme
  • Consultancy firms neither had the systems or experience in place to deal with a flexible benefits scheme for the SME market place
  • High costs of implementation and administration

The Company was keen to implement a flexible benefits scheme as not only did they value their employees and recognised the advantages this would offer but they were also looking at ways for the Company to control their costs and improve on the communication across the company and lower administration levels within HR.

The project was undertaken in 3 phases:
Phase 1 – Strategy and Design
A number of meetings took place with the client in order to fully understand their objectives and budgetary requirements with a number of key factors being highlighted:
  • The cost of the new benefit package was not to exceed the existing benefit spend, if possible cost savings were to be identified
  • Employees were to be no worse off by introducing any changes but more innovative options and flexibility were to be identified
  • The Company wanted to change their benefits strategy to focus employees more on total reward, by reducing the emphasis of base salary

A full analysis of the Company’s existing benefit package and attributable costs were undertaken, breaking these down for each individual, and we then worked with them to identify possible benefit spends.

In particular, the Company had in place waiting periods for certain benefits i.e. Private Medical Insurance was not funded by the employer until the successful completion of three years service and there was no Employer contribution into the Pension Scheme until the successful completion of two years service, and they wanted to use the introduction of a flexible benefits scheme as a way to harmonise the waiting periods without increasing costs.

Areas were also highlighted where existing costs were significantly high and creative ways in addressing these were identified.

Once the benefits spend and design had been decided upon a detailed project plan was drawn up, a communication strategy agreed upon and Phase 2 began.


Phase 2 – Implementation
The Company was keen to ensure that employees received a number of communications about the changes leading up to the launch of the scheme including face: face presentations that were carried out at specific times to ensure maximum attendance.

By the end of the implementation phase, we had developed an on-line flexible benefits site, branded with the client’s logo providing employees with access to benefit modelling, price information together with Tax and NI implications of their choices thus enabling them to make an informed decision on the benefits they would like to select. An IFA was also made available on site on specific days should any employees have required advice.


Phase 3 – On going consultancy advice and support

Whilst the flexible benefit system provided the Company and employees with access to the information they would require throughout the year, there are a number of administrative tasks supporting the benefits scheme, which we have undertaken. These include:

  • Submission of monthly membership data to the benefit providers and payroll
  • Processing of new entrants and leavers and other employee changes
  • Processing of claims
  • Annual report processing for P11Ds
  • Dedicated advice and support for employees and the Company

Results

After successfully completing the implementation of the Flexible benefits scheme the following results were achieved:

  • An overall cost saving to the company of circa £10,000.00
  • 100% of employees had an improvement on their benefit choice
  • 80% of employees saw an improvement to their benefit spend
  • Waiting periods were all streamlined to the probationary period of 3 months
  • The communication of benefits was significantly improved with a noticeable drop in the number of queries HR received from employees
  • Enhanced employee appreciation and awareness of their benefits package through the on-line Total Reward Statements and flexible benefits system