Size of company shouldn’t limit the number of voluntary benefits

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The size of an organisation should not limit the type of voluntary benefits that employers are able to provide in any way, says Jacqueline Shaw, business leader, voluntary benefits at Marsh.

There is no doubt that employers, both large and small, are focusing more on the importance of offering relevant voluntary employee benefits. There is a strong desire for small- to medium-sized employers to be able to offer a comprehensive range of benefits in order to be able to compete with larger employers on a local, regional or national basis.

For many small to medium-sized organisations, however, this can be problematic in terms of the resources that they can devote to sourcing and managing the individual benefits, and their companyπs buying power.

The size of an organisation should not limit in any way the type of benefits employers provide. All employees should be entitled to exciting and valuable offers, which are relevant to them individually.

The benefits offering provided needs to be targeted around what is important to employees and where they feel individually they will get the most value. There are four key benefits groups to help achieve this. First up is protecting the employee, their family and possessions in the form of products such as personal accident insurance, healthcare cash plans, income protection, wills, and discounted home, motor and travel insurance. Others include: lifestyle products providing employees with discounts on everyday shopping items such as food, clothing, gifts and flowers, DVDs, CDs, electrical items and home and garden goods; time out with friends and family through discounted days out, experience vouchers and travel discounts; and salary sacrifice products such as bikes for commuting to work and childcare vouchers.

To source the products, manage relationships with providers, and communicate the package effectively can be very time consuming and costly for a small to medium-sized employer.

A good alternative is to choose a benefits provider which can coordinate the whole programme and, importantly, can provide the buying power to deliver product savings to employees. This can create a hasslefree and low-maintenance solution, enabling employers to focus on their core objectives.

Commitment is required from employers in terms of agreeing on access to communication methods which take into account their working environment and the different audiences within their workforce.

Their provider should co-ordinate launch offers, and promotions, and communicate benefits to staff on a company-wide basis or one-to-one if required. Communicating benefits effectively to employees who do not have access to a workplace intranet or the internet is crucial. If employees do not understand what is available to them, the take-up rates of benefits will be poor.

The only point in creating a benefits scheme is if its success can be measured in a meaningful way by providing the employer with insightful management information with which to measure this. In essence, whatever the size of an organisation, it is possible to deliver a truly engaging voluntary employee benefits programme which delivers value to your business and creates a tool to help recruit and retain the best employees in a competitive job market.

The views and opinions in this article are those of our sponsor, MARSH, and do not necessarily reflect those of