Grant Thornton merger boosts pension take-up

Grant Thornton introduced a flexible benefits scheme and increased the take-up of pension benefits when it launched its new stakeholder pension after its merger with accountancy firm Robson Rhodes in July 2007.

These perks were introduced to its 4,200-strong workforce in April 2008.

Under the terms of the companies’ previous pension schemes, Grant Thornton offered age-based contributions, while Robson Rhodes offered a flat contribution rate of 6 percent for staff who contributed 4 percent to its group personal pension. Post-merger, the new stakeholder scheme offers matching employee contributions of between 3 percent and 8 percent. The overall take-up rate has increased by 400 staff since the changes were made.

Grant Thornton also uses its new flexible benefits plan, provided by Vebnet, to offer staff more choice. The scheme has also been used to deal with the two firms’ annual leave variants, allowing employees to buy up to 10 days’ holiday or sell five days each year.

Jenny Balme, head of reward and relations at Grant Thornton, says: “We wanted to make a statement that this is now a new firm and we wanted the reward for that. It was important that we understood what the constraints were within the business. We wanted to benchmark ourselves against other organisations.”

Total reward statements were used to communicate the value of the packages.