Remember the days when, during the recruitment process, you could differentiate yourselves from your competitors by pointing to the fact that you had a pension scheme and they didn’t? It wasn’t too long ago.
But now all employers are required to have a pension scheme. Some will have better contribution rates than others but, by and large, employees view pension schemes as much of a muchness (at least until they get into their 40s and 50s).
So how do you make yourself the potential employer of choice? Of course, you could simply pay better than everyone else. But do you genuinely know what your rivals are paying? And for the employee, is it really worth having more in their take home pay if they then need to spend that on the things you don’t provide?
Going back to the old days (by which I mean before 2012), employers who ran a pension scheme for their employees may also have offered other insurance type benefits. The most common were Group Life, paying out a sum of money if an employee died; Group Income Protection, ensuring an employee absent from work for a prolonged period due to illness or accident would still receive an income without it being a burden on the employer; and Private Medical Insurance, giving employees the opportunity to have non-urgent medical conditions treated at a time and place of their choosing by the most appropriate medical professional.
These schemes can still be found but employers are, quite rightly, now asking themselves if these are the best value for money. And employees, rightly or wrongly, can be more concerned with the here and now.
No employer has an unlimited benefits budget. Therefore, they will want to ensure that the benefits they put in place are cost-effective and valued by the workforce.
A pension scheme is a legislative requirement so there is no getting around that (as the coach operator from Oldham who has become the first employer to be taken to Court by The Pensions Regulator for failing in their legal duties has found out). But are there other ways of providing benefits to staff that will make you a more attractive employer?
Fortunately, for the sake of this article continuing, the answer is an emphatic “Yes!”.
How about a retail discount scheme where everyone can get money off their weekly shopping and bigger discounts on more occasional purchases? Or, if wellness is a motivator, how about discounted health check-ups? Or corporate rates on gym membership irrespective of the size of the employer? Cancer screening is another option.
No longer does employee benefits have to mean choosing from a list of 4 options, 3 of which you hope you never have to use. Employers can get creative and genuinely tailor benefits to their workforce without having to break the bank.
More details on all the above are available from Richmond House Corporate Services.
Peter Murphy Dip PFS