Bibby Financial Services tailors flex communications

When Bibby Financial Services introduced a flexible benefits scheme provided by Thomsons Online Benefits in 2012, it struggled to communicate the plan effectively to its 700 employees.

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The organisation over-communicated the launch by sending out messages to staff and repeated emails reminding them that the deadline to sign up to the flexible benefits scheme was looming, despite a number having already done so.

Following employee feedback, Bibby sent out targeted communications in 2013 and 2014 using a variety of methods, including emails and text messages to employees with company mobiles.

Vicky Smith, HR project manager at Bibby, says: “In the first year, we got feedback that we had overdone it. We started to send out communications before the enrolment window, but before it closed we sent out a reminder only to those employees that had not logged into the system and made an action. Employees liked that.”

This year, Bibby’s targeted communications strategy took a step further. It segmented employees according to those that had dependants, using data in the HR system. This enabled it to send targeted communications about childcare vouchers to employees with children.

“We did this because we felt this benefit was just not relevant to those that do not have children,” says Smith. “The targeted approach has really worked and we have been able to increase take-up in a number of areas of our flex scheme, including pensions.”

Bibby’s targeted approach to communications has also boosted employee participation in flex from 92% of the workforce in 2012 to 97.5% this year.

The organisation will continue to use a targeted approach, but will not go as far as to suggest benefits that an employee may want to subscribe to.

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Smith adds: “I do not believe it is HR’s role to assume employees will like a benefit because they are in a certain job role, are a certain age, or are male or female. Being that judgemental could be discriminatory.

“But with the feedback we get, we are able to know what works for them and use targeted messages to those working in different fields. It is great when employees personally thank me, because I know that segmentation and targeted messages have worked.”