Dev Raval: Are voluntary benefits just a conduit for selling products?

I take the view that a good voluntary benefits offering can add a lot of value to an employer’s overall reward package.

A voluntary benefits scheme is the only universal benefits plan where there are no distinctions for service, level or tenure. An employee can engage with it from day one. It is also the only part of the benefits offering that employers can do something with on a regular, even daily basis.

More valuable or expensive plans, such as pensions and shares plans, are slow burners, which may not have a material impact for years, if not decades (and that is only if people choose to participate).

At Sky, our voluntary benefits programme, Sky Benefits Extra, is tailored to reflect our business priorities, offering choice and quality. We use it to support initiatives such as protecting the environment, giving people an everyday opportunity to join in. A good communications programme helps us to keep our employees up to date with the service without pushing it onto them. For us, it adds another dimension to our existing benefits package, all of which helps to make us an attractive employer.

The proof of the pudding? The hit rate for Sky Benefits Extra is topped only by the hits for online payslips. In the six months since the re-launch, people at Sky spent more than £1 million through the platform.

Dev Raval, director of reward at BSkyB