Consultancy Advice and Administration
Providing a well-thought-through benefits strategy goes a long way towards maintaining employee engagement and happiness.
In order to advise on the implementation of a strategy we will prepare, issue, and manage an employee survey, in order to:
- Gauge understanding of, receptiveness to, and preference for to employee benefit scheme options.
- Advise on the implementation of both fixed and flexible benefit schemes.
- Issue benefit information to employees.
- Collate benefit application forms and administrate the benefit schemes.
- Provide a bridge between companies and benefit providers.
- Assist with all medical and insurance claims and liaise with the appropriate authorities and companies.
The providers of cover and of pensions change their stances over time. Consequently, as a matter of course, we will conduct a full market “rebroke” of all employee benefits at their rate reviews. In this way we can ensure that the benefits remain competitive in the market place.
The range of benefits that can be offered under salary sacrifice arrangements has expanded in recent years and the advantages for employer and employee are considerable.
Salary sacrifice arrangements around tax-efficient benefits allow staff to swap part of their gross salary for a non-cash benefit provided by their employer. Typically, these are offered as part of a voluntary or flexible benefits package, and enable employees to save tax and national insurance on the perks, while their employer also saves up to 12.8% on national insurance contributions (NICs) on the portion of the employee’s gross salary that is sacrificed.
We can advise companies on how to frame this provision and on how best to communicate it to their employees in order for the maximum benefit to be taken whilst benefitting from reduced overall taxation.
There are many reasons why an organisations will have a variety of benefit rules and providers in place: perhaps as a result of mergers and acquisitions, evolutionary changes to benefit arrangements having been made through the years, or as a result of complicated grading and reward structures.
Bringing these elements together can have a number of benefits:
- It can consolidate the many provisions under more straightforward rules
- It can improve the value of the benefits to the employees without impacting your costs;
- It can reduce your costs by grouping employees together under single insurance schemes;
- It can reduce your benefit administration;
- It can simplify and improve reward communication.
However, harmonisation can be fraught with difficulty, so excellent communication is required to reassure employees that they are being well looked after and to educate them on the positive outcomes.
We will handle all of this communication for you. Once a strategy of harmonisation has been agreed we will conduct meetings with every employee and “hold their hand” throughout the process.
Flexible Benefits Schemes (Cafeteria Benefits (USA)) enable employers to build a suite of potential options for employees to choose from, then allow staff to select the benefits that suit them. Typically, employees are given a percentage of their salary which can be spent on their choice of benefits from the suite.
Flex is beneficial for the following:
- As a way to integrate benefits packages during mergers and acquisitions and at other times of company change.
- For companies who have employees from many different age groups or with differing commitments.
- As a way to control benefit costs (the company can select a sum of money that an employee is able to spend, and knows these costs at the outset)
- As a way of increasing the engagement an employee has with the benefits regime.
Flexible benefits schemes can include a wide range of options for staff to select from, including tax-efficient benefits such as childcare vouchers and mobile phones, salary sacrifice pensions contributions, green-friendly schemes like Bikes4Work, and many others.
Whilst most companies have moved away from Trust based Occupational Final Salary and Money Purchase Schemes to offering their employees contract based Group Personal Pension Plans, there is no reason why companies cannot take an active interest in their investment strategy. We can work with our clients to put in place sound Investment Governance by adopting six key underlying principles:
- Clear roles and responsibilities for investment decision making and governance
- Effective decision making
- Appropriate investment options
- Appropriate default strategy
- Effective performance assessment
- Clear and relevant communication to members