BT calls out to managers using performance perks

BT has introduced flexible benefits for its 27,000 managers to complement a recently revamped performance and appraisal system.

The telecommunications firm also expects to extend the plan to its entire workforce following the initial roll out.

The organisation has made a number of changes to the job families of its managers and has introduced performance scorecards to tie its reward policies into new performance measures.

Group head of reward Colin Evans said: "In the past, when we looked at flexible benefits on its own, the business has struggled to see it as a priority. But when we were introducing a whole new approach, requiring a new mindset, it made much more sense to do the three together. There are a number of system implications and process changes you need to make and it offered economies of scale to do everything at the same time."

Managers were offered the plan first as they are the only group of workers to be included in the changes to job families and performance measures.

In future years, the firm hopes to include developments such as allowing workers to use their bonus in their flex pot.

"The enrolment [this year] is actually after they’ve received their annual bonus and that’s certainly something we’re considering [because] it gives them more money to spend," said Evans.

But he added: "We have about 95,000 employees in the UK and there’s absolutely no reason not to extend this beyond the current population."

The flex system was launched in the middle of August, with staff choosing from a range of benefits such as dental insurance, health screening and critical illness cover.

The software has been provided by online benefits provider Vebnet and is being used alongside its recently launched Peoplesoft HR system.

The group also hopes to include its company car scheme in the flex plan next time. Evans said: "[Company cars schemes] are very popular with our employees [but] it presented a challenge in the short term that we weren’t able to overcome."

Evans added that the flex method means that staff wouldn’t receive benefits that they did not want. "Why would you want to do anything other than deliver people’s benefits in the way that gave them the most value for the money you’re spending?"