Aberdeenshire Council uses data to shape employee benefits strategy

Around 16,500 people work for Aberdeenshire Council across a diverse range of roles including office staff, teachers and waste recycling operatives. Data plays an important part in understanding their needs as Niall Silvestro, analytics and reward strategy lead at Aberdeenshire Council, explains: “Effective use of data fosters innovation and helps us make more informed decisions around benefits and reward. It’s a strategic asset.”

As well as using data to create baselines to measure the impact of initiatives, for instance tracking pension opt-out rates following financial education activity, it also helps shape the benefits strategy. To illustrate this, Silvestro points to the anonymised data the council receives from its health and wellbeing platform, Vivup. “This recently highlighted a clear shift away from in-person counselling to telephone and online services so we were able to respond to this by focusing on this type of support,” he explains. “We also ask Vivup to compare our data to similar client data to see what we can learn from examples of best practice that may be emerging.”

Data can also serve as an early warning signal, with its analysis lying behind the recent introduction of a new benefit. “We started to see data indicating that our peripatetic staff were struggling with the rising cost of travel,” explains Silvestro. “This could be seen on data from a range of systems including our employee assistance programme, spikes in salary advances and, as some of these staff were leaving, offboarding reporting. Many of these staff help the council deliver our statutory services so it was important to find a solution.”

This came in the form of a car club, with the council distributing vehicles across its region so that its mobile employees could use these, rather than their own cars, for their business mileage. This reduced the cost of travel for these employees and helped retention within this part of the workforce.

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