A varied and effective communication strategy is essential to make sure your scheme succeeds
However good your offer or provider, if staff do not know about your scheme, are not clear about how it works or simply are not interested, then all that hard preparatory work can come to nothing.
Promoting your scheme effectively in the workplace is therefore a vital part of getting a company car salary sacrifice offer right.
Employers also have a duty of care to explain clearly to employees exactly what it is they are signing up and committing themselves to, the risks and responsibilities that come with the perk, all the financial, legal and tax issues and any matters concerning the day-to-day practicalities of being in charge of a company car.
Carry out a staff survey
Before even getting to the point of launch, it can be a good idea to carry out a staff survey to gauge potential levels of interest, says Phil Cottee, product services manager at LeasePlan.
“A staff survey can help you get an idea of the likely levels of take-up, what will motivate people to get involved and what sorts of vehicles will be most popular,” he says. “From that, you can get a much clearer idea of the sort of savings that are likely to come through.”
For example, if you have a relatively high staff turnover, it may be a good idea – even if the scheme appears to be popular – to carefully consider whether it is the right offer for the business.
You will want to decide whether you are going to run just an all-employee scheme or another one alongside it for more senior employees who already have had access to a company car and could now be offered a notional cash allowance in exchange for a vehicle.
Marketing and promotion
Then you may need to decide whether the two schemes need to be marketed or promoted in different ways.
Once you are further down the track to implementation, leaflets, workshops, presentations and company events, often in conjunction with your lease provider, can be sensible options, says Ben Creswick, head of business development at Zenith Provecta.
“How you communicate your scheme is a massively important factor,” he says. “You may want to consider running some roadshows to take it out to employees so that they understand what it is all about.
“The internet tends to be a very important communication channel, both in helping people to understand what they are signing up for and to explain what you are doing in the first place.”
Your portal should include a calculator that can show the tax savings, and should be simple and easy to follow when it comes to financial, pensions and legal matters. A comprehensive, and regularly updated, frequently asked questions section is pretty much a given.
“There is definitely an education process needed around what is going to be the net saving, the tax saving, the car tax saving, and so on,” says Phil Peace, director of sales at Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions.
Substantial saving on new car
The fact that you are offering access to a new car at a substantial saving may make it attractive to staff who have been struggling to access credit privately.
This makes it all the more important that, however you promote the scheme, you make sure people really understand what sacrificing £200 to £300 a month of their salary will mean to their take-home income, stresses Graham Farquhar, employment tax partner at Ernst and Young.
“People really need to understand how long they are going to be tied into the car and how much they are actually going to be sacrificing,” he says. “You have to have some sort of tool that demonstrates their take-home pay before and after having the company car.”
Chris Bolan, head partner at Compass Reward Consulting, says it is important to have an evaluation mechanism in place to ensure the offer is being pitched and promoted in the right way or whether it needs to evolve or change as the system is developed and bedded in.
“You can have a great scheme, but if you don’t communicate it well, then it will not be successful,” he points out. “So you need to include a mechanism to review it regularly.”
How to promote your scheme in the workplace
- Carry out a staff survey ahead of implementation.
- Work with your leasing provider to run workshops, roadshows and company events and presentations.
- Ensure your portal includes comprehensive FAQs as well as a detailed explanation of legal, tax and financial issues.
- Make sure employees fully understand the salary sacrifice commitment and what it will mean to their overall income.
- Include a mechanism for reviewing take-up regularly.
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