Shire Pharmaceuticals streamlines flexible benefits scheme

EXCLUSIVE: Shire Pharmaceuticals has streamlined the structure and communications for its online flexible benefits scheme.

The organisation has streamlined its flexible benefits website, removing around 50% of the content because it was either duplicate information or considered to be too technical. Instead of its annual hard-copy brochure, it now provides staff with a soft copy that includes a link to the website.

It made the changes after identifying that its online scheme was not well understood by staff and communications around it were considered disjointed and overly technical. For instance, the benefits enrolment form included a range of benefits that were not available to all staff and the flexible benefits site did not have a single sign-on.

Communications were also felt to be confusing, with content that lacked basic information, multiple sources for the same benefits and very technical text.

Jane Fenwick, associate director, total rewards at Shire Pharmaceuticals, said: “We recognised that we needed to make some changes. We had a very low level of employees making active benefit selections during open enrolment. A lot of people were just sitting back and letting it happen.

“We’ve got a really great internal benefits brand, but the content was lacking some fundamental information, such as when employees could add, remove or change a benefit, and which benefits were [available via] salary sacrifice [arrangements].

“As a result, we found we had a lot of calls and emails into our internal HR shared service. That’s not really the direction of traffic we wanted. We want to drive people to the website so they can help themselves in the first instance.

“We really told employees how they were able to add, remove or change each benefit and when, and we did that in a very structured way. Each section on each benefit had a particular format so that it was really clear.”

The organisation sent a teaser email to staff a couple of weeks before the annual enrolment window which opened at the end of February, followed by an email to explain the basic changes.

Since making the changes, Shire has seen a 16% reduction in email volume to HR services, a 25% reduction in call volume and a 22% increase in the number of employees making active benefits selections.

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The organisation’s 530 UK employees’ benefits selections took effect from 1 April.

Shire Pharmaceuticals has offered a flexible benefits scheme, provided by Vebnet, since 2011.