It’s no secret that some employees struggle with the concept of sacrificing their salary in return for a product or service. Here, Julie Coxhill, client services manager at Grass Roots offers tips for launching and promoting a new scheme internally to help ensure a good take up.
Employee benefits schemes come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. From ‘Duvet Days’ to financial incentives or shopping vouchers as a thank you for a job well done, different organisations will all have different ways of rewarding their staff.
Salary sacrifice schemes are becoming an increasingly popular way for organisations to enhance the benefits packages they offer their staff. Cycle to work schemes or those that offer staff access to high value items such as smart phones or other tech devices, allow organisations to extend their range of benefits to appeal to a wide variety of employees at no extra cost to the business.
However, although salary sacrifice schemes are easy to set up and run, it can sometimes be difficult to encourage employee engagement, especially if you don’t take the time to explain how it works and the financial savings staff could make. The ‘launch it and they will come’ approach is unlikely to work on its own so internal promotion is key to making the scheme work for your organisation.
Having worked alongside many organisations to introduce salary sacrifice schemes to their employees, here are some of the tips we’ve picked up along the way to help ensure that employees are keen to take up the new salary sacrifice scheme you have on offer and realise the benefits:
Communication is key – consider how best to communicate a new salary sacrifice scheme to your employees. With more and more employees working flexibly and rarely coming into the office, many organisations use webinars to showcase salary sacrifice schemes to employees. Webinars are cost effective, simple to use and help to engage employees by enabling them to ask questions along the way. Also if your organisation has a benefits portal, it’s a great way to promote a new salary sacrifice scheme. The use of banners promoting incentives and discounts will encourage staff to look at what’s news.
Know your audience – it’s important to promote new schemes in a way that most resonates with your employees. So for example, if you’re in retail and have a young tech savvy audience, they might respond best to mobile apps, offers by email, or any other online information you can provide. However, if you’re a manufacturer and your employees all work shifts, a visual display showcasing the scheme and some of the products available to them may help you reach your target audience more successfully. You could also ask the scheme provider if you can display one of the bikes or a laptop (a demonstration model that is available to employees as part of the scheme) to include as part of your promotional display and help bring it to life.
Keep it simple – salary sacrifice schemes are all about personal choice, empowering employees to buy what they want, cost-effectively. To ensure they opt in, keep it simple and help them understand how it works. If they don’t understand how the scheme works or how it applies to them, they’re far less likely to be interested. Consider putting on a benefits fairs or event including a demonstration from a scheme provider to help employees fully understand what’s on offer to them.
Be available – any new schemes or employee entitlements can take a while to get off the ground as employees take in the details of the scheme, ask questions and consider whether or not to get involved. Try a variety of techniques to encourage their interest; make sure you communicate regularly with staff and promote any new offers that become available. Be on hand to guide employees through the process and answer any questions they may have.
When will they sign up? – Hopefully quickly, but it all depends on how the new scheme is promoted to them in the first place. A combination of targeting employees in the right way along with keeping the sign up message simple is most likely to encourage sign up within the first few weeks.
There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to promoting salary sacrifice schemes to your employees, but there’s lots that you can do to help your employees realise the considerable benefits of a salary sacrifice scheme.
Grass Roots Employee Solutions delivers tax-efficient benefits including childcare vouchers, bike and technology schemes, as well as employee discounts, prepaid cards, health and well-being solutions and more.