How to get your employee benefits scheme fit for the new financial year

Now that 2018 is in full swing, the end of the current tax year will be looming up in the not too distant future. Are you confident that your employee benefits scheme is in the best shape possible to attract the cream of the job hunting crop and help retain your valued staff? You may keep meaning to take a look to see how you can improve the way your benefits package is performing and what you can do to improve results. We’re here to help you make sure your scheme is in tip-top condition for one of the busiest times of the year.

Attracting the most talented job seekers has become increasingly difficult and more aggressive with each passing year and businesses have to adapt and ensure that they are able to tick more boxes than their competitors. Offering an appealing employee benefits scheme is an essential part of the package and is valued and expected by employees.

There is still time to introduce a new scheme by April or to reinvigorate what you already have in place.

Below are some of the key areas we recommend you take a look at before the end of March:

Talk to your employees

We always recommend you speak to your employees about their benefits. They will tell you better than anyone or any other analytics, what they truly want from a scheme. You should gather their opinions before launching and continuously keep speaking to them. As well as allowing you to offer the most relevant benefits for your portfolio, you’re going a long way to getting and keeping their engagement which is vital. For example, introducing a flexible working option may prove really popular and beneficial to your business. You can gauge the likely uptake of this before introducing it.

Offer the right benefits

This might sound like we’re stating the obvious but check that the benefits you’re offering are still the right fit for the demographic of your workforce. It could be that since you introduced your benefit options, the type of people working for your business has changed. You may need to update your offering if the focus is wrong. If you’re using modern software, you will easily be able to see which benefits are working best and which have low-take up. Have a look at the results and see whether you need to drop some options and replace them with more relevant things to choose from. Again, if you’re in constant contact with your employees, you’ll be streets ahead here.

Getting the fundamentals right

We recommend offering a selection of different types of benefits for your employees to choose from including both protection based, long term solutions and more instant, fun options. If you’re unsure of where to start, there are some fundamental benefits that generally offer appeal across the board and are a good base on which to build your scheme:

  • Private Medical Insurance – more affordable than taking out a policy individually by taking advantage of corporate rates.
  • Health screening – get a body MOT and spread the cost over a year.
  • Critical Illness Cover – pays out a tax-free amount if the individual is diagnosed with certain illnesses or conditions.
  • Dental Care – normally pays for check-ups and most work required.
  • Flexible working – this can include job shares and home working.
  • Childcare vouchers – these are a simple way of saving tax and NI on the cost of childcare.
  • Gym memberships – reduced membership fees to a local gym using negotiated corporate rates.
  • Discounts - with thousands of exclusive offers available at any time, employees can easily collect their discounts and save money.
  • Onsite benefits – there are many easy to introduce options, such as haircuts, massages, free fruits and BBQ days which are low cost and really appeal to staff. Wellness has become a hot topic and there some quick wins that could be made here to help increase your staff’s morale.

Technology is king

Modern technology develops so fast that updates are a common occurrence and should happen seamlessly. A good provider will furnish you with an affordable, user-friendly, intuitive system, which is on a fresh and fun, fully branded, single automated platform. You should be on fixed fees, with no hidden costs and no costly upgrades. Communication tools are inbuilt and reporting options provide you with insightful MI. These will optimise employee take-up and reduce admin. These days there really is no need for admin burdens and support ought to be there for you 24-7 if necessary. From a user’s point of view, they will expect to be able to access their benefits on any of their devices. They will be far more likely to interact often if they can access easily on computer, tablet and mobile.  If you don’t feel like this describes the software you current have access to, you should start shopping around.

Launch your scheme

A strong launch is essential to get maximum employee buy-in. This takes thorough planning and shouldn’t be rushed. Make sure you shout about your scheme using every available asset you have - from old fashioned desk drops and presentations to an intranet takeover and webinars, speak to your staff however you can. It’s surprising how many companies have built fantastic employee benefits schemes but overlooked the importance of effective communications.

Want to find out more? Give us a call or drop us an e-mail and we can run you through a free, fast demo to show how You at Work can help you.