Flexible benefits - are you missing out?
by Equiniti consultant Rachel Daly
The chances are that if you have a flexible benefits scheme then December will have been a fairly busy month. With the enrolment window for schemes typically closing in the last month of the year it’s not uncommon for HR teams to be inundated with enquiries or to be running information sessions to answer questions during this time.
But if you don’t have a scheme in place in your organisation, what are you missing out on?
Plenty. Generally, a scheme works like this. You give each employee a lump sum through payroll which can be either taken as cash or used to subsidise a lifestyle choice. A scheme provider will have deals with all sorts of companies, from gyms to wine clubs, to cater for a wide selection of interests and tastes, that employees can choose from. Where once flexible benefits schemes suffered from prohibitive costs and were a nightmare to organise, technology has now arrived at the point where providers are able to offer customised packages at a reasonable cost.
As part of an overall employee engagement strategy a flexible benefits scheme offers several benefits for employees. Not only do they get control over their benefits by being given a choice over what they receive but they will value their benefits more because they are relevant to their lifestyles.
For employers, a flexible benefits scheme has a fixed cost, giving financial clarity. It also allows you to cope with the needs of diverse and aging workforce and attract new personnel. Then there’s the added bonus of knowing what your employees like to do with their spare time, allowing you to refine choices in future years.
Think of a flexible benefits scheme like one of those Christmas hampers people are so keen to give away to employees. In monetary terms their value might be relatively low but in terms of employee engagement they are worth their weight in gold. They make your staff feel appreciated and are appreciated in turn.
There are also some advantages to payroll of running a flexible benefits scheme over another type of scheme. With everyone receiving the same amount of flex cash, the administration is easier.
Equiniti is the provider of one of the largest flexible benefits schemes in the UK and has recently launched PeopleSpace, which combines everything your employees need to know about, including pay, benefits, employee share plans and appraisals, into one web-accessed portal.