Gardener’s World: Evergreen Benefits
When we think of voluntary benefits, we think evergreen. Benefits that are available to your employees day in and day out on every day of the year. We believe that benefits should not be viewed like the rare and nasally offensive Amorphophallus Titanum (from Ancient Greek amorphos, “without form, misshapen”, also known as a carrion or corpse flower), whereby flexible benefits providers feast on your overstressed budgets creating a hoo-ha once a year and then disappear without trace until the next annual election. Sometimes, just like the good old corpse flower, they even create a stink because many of your employees will find flex benefits inaccessible (e.g. premiums too high or pre-existing medical conditions obstruct them).
Most people are aware that shopping discount schemes for employees are available 24/7. But what about other benefits, sometimes regarded as within the province of flex? If you’ll forgive the play on acronyms, we use the expression “FIR” to describe a meaningful evergreen benefit.
FIR means it is likely to be:
- Certainly the case for Cycle to Work.
An admin fee is charged for Childcare Vouchers (CCV) but a good provider will also allocate a CCV uptake specialist to your account, free of charge. So you get more engagement, more voucher take up and that means more secondary National Insurance savings – far outweighing the administration costs.
- Employers can now sign up to Gymflex, a national salary sacrifice service – Asperity is currently the only employee benefits provider to offer such a service – which offers employees deeply discounted access to over 2500 gyms. No charges are passed to employers.
- An employee-paid healthcare Cashplan is a viable solution for employers wanting to offer their staff the chance to supplement their PMI, or at least smooth their basic medicare-costs. For no cost to the employer, a good Cashplan will deliver
at least £300 of real no-quibble benefit for £240 worth of premiums over two years. And that’s not including scans and complementary therapies.
- Holiday Trading gives employees an added level of flexibility and is often a highly valued component in their benefits package. Look for a voluntary or flexible benefits scheme that offers Holiday Trading as a free add-on to their existing programme.
In our opinion, evergreen benefits should be interesting. They should cover the here and now, not consume scarce employee cash in return for assurance (not always well- founded in respect of benefits such as critical illness cover) against events that may never happen. At least not within the average job tenure of most employees these days.
OK, I admit it would be stretching a point to say that Childcare Vouchers are interesting but savings of over £900 on CCV for basic rate taxpayers can be put to astoundingly interesting use!
Gym membership can provide access to new and interesting social networks. Gone are the days of sweaty exercise mats and medicine balls. Most clubs have a thriving entertainment scene including comedy, dancing and themed occasions. The heavily discounted cost of membership through salary sacrifice will offer a great incentive for employees to sign up, get fit, make friends and correct the all-important work-life balance.
It’s true that benefits programmes should be useful, convenient and rewarding for employees. But wouldn’t it be great if employers could also offer engaging, exciting and even revolutionary benefits that suit – and exceed -the needs of both employees and employers? For instance:
- Exclusive double-discount savings across some of the biggest retail names on the high street at the start of every month.
- Extra double savings on specially selected, relevant retail offers for employees who sign up to Childcare Vouchers and Cycle to Work.
- Employee communications branded to suit your brand and workforce.
- ISO 27001 Data security compliance in all processes
- Friendly, dedicated Helpdesk available for employees to call 7 days per week.
- A dedicated Childcare Voucher uptake specialist who will do the hard work for you when it comes to increasing scheme uptake with your employees.
So, if you don’t want the leaves to fall off your benefits programme every year, make sure your provider adheres to the characteristics of FIR. And you’ll soon reap the rewards of evergreen benefits.