FirstGroup staff take advantage of voluntary benefits scheme

EXCLUSIVE: More than 5,000 staff have registered for FirstGroup’s voluntary benefits scheme since it was launched in April.
This has resulted in a spend that is approaching £500,000, as well as £32,000 worth of savings among staff taking part. The first two days after the launch saw 2,048 registrations and an employee spend of £48,000.

The transport operator launched the scheme, which is branded FirstXclusives and provided by Asperity Employee Benefits, to help staff save money in hard economic times, as well as build broader financial awareness. Through the scheme, its 38,000 staff can access about 3,000 products to get discounts or cash back. Previously, it offered voluntary benefits more on an ad-hoc local basis, rather than group-wide.

The scheme will operate alongside FirstGroup’s in-house discounts on travel on its own bus and rail networks for employees and their friends and family. The disparate nature of FirstGroup’s workforce meant it faced particular challenges around communicating the scheme.†

Lisa Proctor, group reward manager, said: “Only 5% of our employees have access to a computer as part of their job role. It is a real challenge to communicate with such a large employee base. We tried to foster a sense of employee ownership of the benefits. Understanding the [workforce] demographic and culture is essential to keep the message accurate and simple.”

To overcome these challenges, FirstGroup made use of technology such as quick-response codes to enable staff to access the scheme’s website through mobile devices. It also developed single sign-on access to the scheme to make it as user-friendly as possible. Proctor added: “Our aim was to offer something to everyone.”

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