Royal Bank of Scotland rolls out flexible benefits globally

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is rolling out its flexible benefits programme globally in a bid to aid recruitment and retention overseas and to offer staff more choice around benefits.

The bank’s 800 employees in Singapore and its 600 Hong Kong-based staff will be able to take part in the scheme for the first time from this month. This follows the roll out of flex to RBS employees based in Gibraltar in November last year. They were the first staff outside the UK to be given access to flex.

The scheme, provided by Thomsons Online Benefits, will also be rolled out to RBS’ 800-strong workforce in India within the next three months. Germany and the Netherlands are also scheduled to receive flex.

Dominic Cole-Morgan, technical partner, remuneration and benefits, said: “When you get into tight markets such as in India, any sort of improvement to the package is worth it, in terms of recruitment and retention of staff. It gives you an edge over employers that don’t offer flexible benefits.”

Employees will be given a pot of cash to spend on perks, called the Value Account, the amount of which will vary depending on employees’ seniority. They will be able to access the bank’s flex scheme and then spend this online making choices to suit them.

Before commencing the rollout, RBS held staff focus groups at locations worldwide to gauge employees’ level of interest in flex. Feedback from these showed that staff were keen to have more choice around perks so they could choose the options that best suited them.

“The focus groups were pretty consistent [as] employees asked for choice. They have quite diverse needs, for instance a single man won’t want family health cover, so we think that employees value the additional choice,” said Cole-Morgan.

In the UK, the level of choice that is available to staff has led to a general increase in satisfaction in the benefits package and the bank is hoping flex will have the same impact on staff worldwide.

“We have found that giving choice does increase satisfaction with the package, and this leads to higher engagement,” said Cole-Morgan.