Employee Benefits Awards 2009: Most effective use of a flexible benefits plan (Sponsored by Thomsons Online Benefits)

Winner
White & Case Youchoose

The judges were impressed with how the law firm went the extra mile to ensure it used its flexible benefits scheme to maximum effect. Since the scheme began in 2006, White & Case has sought employee feedback to identify how it can improve its offering, and has subsequently made changes to the scheme’s administration, cost and range of benefits.

Such improvements support the firm’s rationale for flex – to move the organisation’s culture away from one of a parent/child relationship to an adult/adult way of working. When reviewing the scheme, White & Case takes employees’ views and external pressures into account. For example, in 2008 it added a carbon offsetting perk following staff feedback, and introduced staff discounts to help employees’ money go further in the current economic climate. The scheme also includes innovative perks, such as subsidised wellness and learning accounts, skin cancer screening and emergency evacuation.

Replacing previous core benefits – such as private medical insurance and gym membership, which were provided for all employees – with more flexible options has resulted in significant cost savings. Removing the gym benefit alone has saved the company more than £200,000 since the scheme began. Just over one-third of staff have opted not to take up PMI, which has also saved the firm money.

Since introducing flex, White & Case has seen a reduction in unintended turnover from 20% to 12%, to the end of 2008.

Pictured left: Kate Coulson, senior HR manager – management information and reward. On winning, Coulson said: “This year was the fourth year of renewal and we wanted to give staff more choice. In the current economic climate that is even more important.”

 

Sign up to our newsletters

Receive news and guidance on a range of HR issues direct to your inbox

OptOut
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

HIGHLY COMMENDED

  • City & Guilds Your Benefits (entered by Benefex)
    The judges felt the launch of City & Guilds’ flexible benefits scheme was an extremely strong entry. They particularly praised its communications strategy, which was designed around the character Mr Potato Head, for its interactive elements. These included screen savers and pop-up messages that appeared when staff logged onto their computers to deliver key information about the scheme. As a result, nearly three-quarters of employees accessed the flex portal to view their perks, and more than two-thirds modelled their benefits selections.

RUNNERS UP

  • Alcatel-Lucent Flexlink
    Alcatel-Lucent’s flexible benefits scheme was seen as a driving force behind benefits integration and the change management process, following the 2006 merger of Alcatel and Lucent Technologies. Both companies previously operated flexible benefits schemes, so where there was an overlap in perks, the more generous of the two was generally incorporated into the plan wherever possible. • RSA Insurance Your Benefits RSA launched a flexible benefits scheme alongside total reward statements to promote the value of its package, and aid staff recruitment, retention and engagement. The scheme is funded using the savings made from salary sacrifice arrangements, which are predicted to result in significant savings for the business.
  • TD Waterhouse TD Waterhouse Flextra (entered by Aon Consulting)
    Since introducing flex, TD Waterhouse has seen a decrease in staff turnover because it can clearly demonstrate the value of its benefits package. The savings gained from offering tax-efficient benefits via salary sacrifice, meanwhile, have enabled it to increase the number of perks on offer.
  • Zurich Financial Services Zurich UK Flexible Benefits Scheme 2009 (entered by Buck Consultants)
    The insurance firm’s introduction of a combined total reward statement and flexible benefits guide, which was personally tailored to each employee, helped to increase take-up rates across a broad range of benefits. The company also used an interactive web conference to answer its 7,500 employees’ questions about the additions to its long-running flex scheme.