Enviros uses pensions savings to offer flex

Enviros is using the success of its revamped stakeholder pension scheme to fund the development of a flexible benefits plan, specifically targeted at its young workforce.

The environmental consultancy firm has seen membership of its pension scheme substantially increase after it harmonised seven different arrangements into one ethical stakeholder plan.

And it has been able to use the commission payments to its pension provider to help fund the consultancy work on the flex scheme, which may include offers on products such as Ipods and outdoor sporting equipment.

Doug Cattermole, head of human resources at Enviros, said that it wanted to ensure its young and socially responsible workforce were happy with the choice of pension arrangements, which include a 6% employer contribution.

"[Being an environmental consultancy] played a part in the choice of pension provider. [Friends Provident] offered quite a good range of ethical funds and we felt that was important for maybe not all of our employees, but certainly some of them. We felt we could offer something that was very sound financially and was a very good pension scheme, but for those people interested in the ethical side of the business, they had that option themselves," he said.

Previously, employees joined the pension scheme following talks with a range of independent financial advisers (IFAs). But Cattermole added that it had scrapped this in favour of a simple application form. "People can actually join on day one [now] and there are no complications. We felt there wasn’t a need to have those IFAs, they were only slowing up the process of people joining the pension scheme. We’ve seen membership increase considerably."

Enviros is now looking to introduce a flexible benefits scheme in October that will suit its active workforce and include a number of salary sacrifice benefits, such as childcare vouchers. "Because of the nature of our business, very environmentally friendly, tax free bikes came up and we’re trying to introduce that as well as computers," added Cattermole.

He also said that because the majority of its 350 staff, based in 10 locations across the UK were fairly young, offers on outdoor climbing gear and MP3 players would probably appeal.