Hays structures benefits provision to meet employee need

Hays keeps its benefits portfolio under constant review, with an extra focus throughout the year on finessing the offering ahead of the annual opening of the recruiter’s benefits portal every November.

When she first joined the organisation, group head of reward Rosemary Lemon spent some time  organising its employee benefits into a simple structure. “It helps to have a coherent framework,” she says. “It makes it easier to explain the benefits themselves and why we have them, as well as to identify any gaps in provision.”

Lemon has her own preferred method of organisation. “I have five pillars I believe make up employee wellbeing: mental and physical health; short and long-term finances; work-life balance; learning and development; and working environment, which includes culture and values and approach to equity, diversity and inclusion.”

All existing benefits were placed into these groups, with everything from retail discounts to loan plans coming under financial benefits, for example.

Hays doesn’t rest on its laurels, however, and Lemon is always looking to see what else the business could offer to help staff and keep them happy and focused. As well as tracking new products on the market, the organisation maintains a dialogue with individuals.

“I often look to see what the issues are in wider society that are affecting people outside of work,” says Lemon. “I talk to people externally who are at different stages of their career to understand what is impacting them and I sometimes also talk to an internal focus group.”

This approach has paid dividends for Hays.

“One benefit we introduced a few years ago was an employee loan plan,” says Lemon. “Many of our employees have variable pay and commission, or haven’t had the opportunity to build up a credit rating, and may not always have access to competitive interest rates or loans.”

The employee loan scheme, which takes repayments directly from payroll, is another option for staff to secure funds. About 200 people have taken out a loan through the scheme and about half of these loans have been used to consolidate credit card or store card debt, reducing repayment costs.

Feedback has shown Hays that certain staff were able to use the scheme to reduce high levels of stress they were living and working under, benefiting the individual and also ultimately helping them give their best to their employer.