Affordable housing social enterprise Bromford uses a holistic benefits package to empower its 1,800 employees to plan for the future, as well as looking after their health, finances and work-life balance in the present.
A key element of this approach is the organisation’s commitment to allowing its workforce, which includes field engineers, neighbourhood coaches and office staff, to work on a trust-based system.
A trust-based system, in which employees work their allotted time without having to evidence their hours, has been part of organisational policy for 15 years. It is one of the most popular aspects of Bromford’s total reward package.
Helena Moore, director of people experience at Bromford, says: “What employees talk about the most is the trust-based working. It gives employees the flexibility to blend their lives. It isn’t about just working set hours, it is about your input. It has been huge for us. You can see it in our Glassdoor feedback. It’s the benefit that people comment about the most.”
Mental health is also a key concern, Moore adds: “Actively encouraging employees to look after their mental health will continue to be important in 2019. We want our employees to feel happy and energised at work, so anything around health and wellbeing is definitely an area we want to continue to focus on.”
The organisation began to tackle this in November 2018 by training mental health first aiders; approximately 30 individuals have been trained so far, with plans to have around 60 qualified in the next few months.
Employees’ financial health is a further priority; Bromford hosted more than 50 financial education workshops between June and September 2017, before opening two defined benefit (DB) pension schemes in April 2018. “Pensions are so complicated, lots of employees don’t understand how the decisions they make now will massively affect their future, and that’s important to us,” explains Moore.
During the workshops, employees raised numerous questions around general finances, which led to Bromford planning more educational workshops for 2019.
Helping staff plan for the long-term future is not just about pensions, however. With five generations in the workplace, all with different priorities, Bromford is keen to add innovative solutions to its reward package. For example, in April 2017, the organisation introduced the option to take a one-year sabbatical.
“A lot of people don’t think of retiring because of the way pensions are, so they want gaps to do different things,” adds Moore. “We are always trying to think of the different generations. Not all benefits will appeal to every employee, but it’s the fact it’s there. It sends a message to the whole of the business about what sort of people we are, which is really important.”