“Without our skilled and dedicated workforce, we simply wouldn’t be able to consistently deliver top-quality projects whilst continuing to push the boundaries and remain at the forefront of our industry. It was hugely important not just for the business, but for me personally, that the Employee Benefits scheme was thoroughly reviewed to ensure we were delivering best value and structure for our employees.”  Managing Director

Thanks to expert management and strategic investment, a construction consultancy have bucked the economic downward spirals. With continued growth and expansion, the firm decided to conduct a review of its own expenditure to maximise financial efficiency in a competitive marketplace.

Protecting the firm’s most vital asset: its people

The Board of the company passionately believe that their most important asset, and the key to their success, is the 130-strong workforce. It was therefore no surprise that they were keen for Wingate to review the Employee Benefits.

We are specialist employee benefits advisers who are fully authorised and regulated to advise, arrange and manage all types of employee benefits schemes.

One of our specialist consultants, Helen Pengelly reviewed the appropriateness and costs of the company’s Group Life Assurance, Group Income Protection and Group Private Medical Insurance arrangements. The review of the medical insurance policy required particular sensitivity owing to a number of ongoing claims.

Although cost wasn’t the primary driver for the review, we identified savings of £8,000 per annum with some very minor changes to the benefit structure. These changes did not compromise any contractual arrangement and most important of all, the level of cover for the employees remained at the highest level available in the market.

We benchmarked all benefits which provided the Company with the knowledge that in their case they were providing their employees with a market leading benefit program.

“Our expertise in what is such a specialist cost centre and the comprehensive and proactive nature of our benefit review was widely praised and I am delighted we were able to secure a win-win solution for both employer and employee” Helen Pengelly

What are the benefits to you and your staff of one of our benefit reviews?

  • No Cost independent market test to check the suitability, competitiveness and robustness of your existing employee benefit program
  • Identify any cost savings without compromising the quality of the scheme benefits

If you are interested in us helping you maximise your financial efficiency and providing you with a no fee, no obligation review of your Employee Benefit program please contact us at:

📧 info@wingate.com

📱 01883 332260

Overview

We work with a forward thinking fleet management firm in Surrey. We manage various employee benefit insurance and healthcare arrangements for the business, reviewing these annually to ensure they remain suitable, compliant and competitive.

Brief

The business employs over 100 staff and is heavily invested in their wellbeing. In order to enhance wellbeing initiatives, increase staff engagement and help with retention and recruitment, the firm were keen to consider benefits platform options which could be introduced to help enhance their offering. The key objectives for the review were as follows:

  • Display all company employee benefits on one platform
  • Offer access to a range of employee-paid benefits, at preferential rates
  • Education and communication for staff, with regards to all benefits and wellbeing initiatives

The business were also keen to avoid significant set up costs, which are often associated with benefit platforms, and this was another objective for the review.

Review

The business asked us to provide suitable options and Luke Harris-Johns, our of our Employee Benefits Advisers, commenced the process to source a solution which provided suitable functionality and benefits for the business, without the high set up costs.

Outcome

Luke was able to establish a benefits platform for the business. Other versions of this platform in the market were subject to set up fees, but the option we recommended did not incur any set up costs. This meant that they benefited from all of the functionality, but without the up-front expense.

All of the existing benefit schemes were loaded on to the new platform, along with a number of voluntary benefits (such as Critical Illness and Dental cover). This meant that staff had an even broader range of benefits available to them, some of which they could chose to suit their lifestyles. What the company also found was that take up for the existing healthcare arrangements increased significantly following the introduction of the platform, which  was a real ‘good news story’ and went some way to demonstrating the effectiveness of this solution.

We worked with the provider, to ensure a fully supported implementation for the business. This included on site presentations to ensure staff were able to use the platform effectively from day one, and full use of the benefits and functionality.

Benefits of an employee benefits review

  • Free independent review, to check the suitability, competitiveness and robustness of your employee benefits programme
  • Free independent review of a suitable benefit platform for your business including reviewing any platform you may have in place already, to ensure the most appropriate solution is identified
  • Review and provide solutions to ensure your employee benefits programme is effectively being communicated to and utilised by your staff

If you would be interested in how we can help you review your benefits programme and wellbeing or employee engagement solutions, please contact us at info@wingatebs.com or on 01883 332260.

Background

Our client is headquartered in Austin, Texas with locations in a dozen countries worldwide. They are committed to optimising all stages of real estate, facilities and asset management, to help organisations fulfil their mission.

In 2016 our client acquired two companies in the UK. It already had a small UK subsidiary which was managed by a wholly owned subsidiary in the Netherlands.

As part of their strategic plan to create one legal entity in the UK we were asked to manage the employee benefit harmonisation, simplification, and compliance project.

Business Objectives

  • To understand what employee benefits and staff rewards were being provided to the employees of each company
  • To understand how the benefits compared to their contractual commitments and their peers in their marketplace and also whether these were fully compliant with UK legislation
  • To ensure the UK benefit package was aligned as closely as possible with benefits offered globally, in particular to the US employees
  • To improve the benefits for all employees wherever possible and create a level of consistency for all

Current Situation

Our client confirmed it would be approximately 12 months before a single legal entity could be created in the UK due to the need to harmonise contracts and comply with TUPE and employment legislation. However, they felt it was imperative that a group wide unified benefit package was introduced as soon as possible to help employees feel part of one UK organisation.

The existing employee benefit arrangements across the two UK entities included:

  • 3 x Workplace Pension schemes with two different insurance companies
  • 1 x Group Life Assurance scheme for one company
  • 1 x Private Medical Insurance scheme for one company
  • 3 x Payrolls, one for each company

Outcome of our review

We presented a report to the European HR Director and the Directors of the UK subsidiaries along with relevant benchmarking information, which recommended a simple, competitive, compliant employee benefit program designed to retain the existing staff and aid recruitment of new people.

To simplify and improve the existing arrangements whilst ensuring no worse terms, we recommended single schemes for their Workplace Pension, Group Life Assurance, Group Income Protection and Private Medical Insurance arrangements, with consistent level of benefit for all.

By conducting a comprehensive tender review of the leading insurers and negotiating bespoke terms with the most competitive, we were able to secure highly competitive terms for both the Life Assurance and Income Protection schemes. This included significantly higher cover limits without the need for underwriting which meant all employees were immediately insured for their full contractual cover.

We recommended a tax efficient trust structure for the Life Assurance scheme which would place each legal entity in a separate category within a single scheme until such time as this could be seamlessly merged into one once the new single UK entity was created.

We recommended using one of the existing Workplace Pension schemes but negotiated a significant reduction in its charges so more of the money paid in to it benefited the employees. By using one of the existing schemes, it would make the transfer of existing funds to the new contract significantly simpler and required no paperwork from the employees.

We also recommended to the company Bridgehead Europe, a HMRC approved payroll bureau who took over the management of the three existing payrolls thereby simplifying communication of all payroll matters. Once the single UK entity was created, they could then merge the payrolls without the company having to provide any further data, saving further time and cost.

Having agreed the benefit structure, scheme providers, premiums, and costs with Europe we were asked to present the proposed solution to the CFO in Austin Texas, supported by representatives of all the key stakeholders in Europe. We explained why the benefits had been proposed, the legislative considerations, how this compared to the US provision and other UK competitors whilst demonstrating the costs and benefits compared to the original position. The solution in full was agreed for implementation.

Implementation

A benefit introduction strategy was recommended which staggered the introduction of benefits over a 6 month period. This enabled the company’s HR team to build momentum around the new improved benefit structure, giving more good news to employees every few months. This not only maximised the impact with employees but also gave their team the time to fully embed the processes required to support the benefits.

The Workplace Pension and Group Life Assurance scheme were introduced at the start of the new tax year simplifying tax reporting. We recommended employees were offered the ability to contribute to the pension via salary exchange on an “opt in” basis, which has the benefit of reducing their National Insurance contributions thereby increasing their net take home pay. This option was selected by most employees and meant the company also enjoyed significant National Insurance savings. On our recommendation they used this saving to enhance their Private Medical Insurance’s outpatient coverage thereby making it more competitive compared to their peers.

To maximise the value of the Company’s spend on the benefits we delivered bespoke presentations to staff at each office to ensure they fully understood each benefit and how to access and benefit from these.

By us implementing and now managing their employee benefit package the resource they anticipated would be required within their business to look after this area reduced significantly and means they can manage this remotely and very cost effectively from their European offices in the Netherlands.

If you would be interested in how we can help you review your benefits program and any wellbeing or employee engagement solutions, please contact us at info@wingatebs.com or on 01883 332260.

Business Objectives

With origins as a family-owned business, IEC has grown and developed into a privately run enterprise, but have retained the paternal approach to Employee Benefits, considered a
big part of their recruitment and retention tool.

We were approached by IEC at the beginning of 2020 and were asked to review IEC’s current Group Life Assurance benefit which had been insured by the same insurer since 2011. IEC were looking for commentary around:

• Compliance with Legislation
• The alignment of the benefits with the employer’s contractual commitments.
• Potential cost reduction and control measures
• Employee Engagement

Outcome of our Review

Following our review, the following steps were recommended, and with the agreement of IEC, made to the existing Group Life Assurance benefit:

• That the business consider moving the Directors into an Excepted Group Life Assurance scheme, therefore protecting them from any potential pension related Lifetime Allowance charges.
• That the cease age of the scheme was amended to State Pension Age or 65 (whichever is higher) to protect the business from any potential age discrimination issues in the future.
• That the existing commission be removed from the existing insurance policy which would lead to an immediate premium reduction of 20%.
• That a full market review be undertaken on behalf of the business to test the competitiveness of the holding insurers’ scheme unit rate, annual premium, and ancillary services.

The results of our review and subsequent negotiations led to a reduction in the holding insurer’s renewal terms of 24%.

• That the business reminded the scheme members of the importance of keeping their death benefit nominations up to date to reflect their current wishes.

Having demonstrated our expertise and value, IEC appointed us to manage their Group Life Assurance scheme.

What next

Following the success of this review the business asked us to undertake a review of their Workplace Pension to provide commentary around the same four areas as highlighted above.

Early indications are that our annual governance, ongoing employer support and member engagement services will significantly reduce IEC’s corporate risk, enhance the support provided to their HR team and increase the value of this benefit in the eyes of its highly valued employees.

How can we help

We can provide a free, no obligation review of any employer’s complete employee benefit offering.

Further details about our review service are detailed in our short 2 minute video which can be found here:

www.wingatebs.com/employer-service/ employee-benefit-review-service

Case Study: Konami Digital Entertainment (KDE)

Award Category: Corporate Adviser Firm of the Year 2016

 

Background

KDE are involved in the design, manufacture and distribution of video games.

The values the HR team wish to promote within the business is to look after the personnel and ensure employee health and wellbeing remained a focus for the organisation.

We were introduced to KDE in May 2015 and asked to review the current benefit proposition and provide recommendations to address the following objectives.

Business Objectives

  • To understand whether the existing benefits are competitive and ensure they are benefiting from competitive terms
  • To increase the impact of the employee benefits in terms of employee awareness and to support the retention and recruitment of talent for the business
  • To understand the options for introducing additional health and wellbeing services for the benefit of the employees at nil or low cost
  • To understand the ancillary services that are available under their existing benefit schemes which are not currently being utilised
  • To receive commentary on the suitability of the existing benefit structures and to have details of alternatives for consideration

Outcome of our Review

  • Increased level of life assurance benefit for employees with longer term service as a reward for their loyalty
  • Redesign of the income protection benefit scheme to maintain a highly valued benefit whilst delivering an annual saving of £30,000 for investment in additional benefit schemes
  • The value added benefits offered by the scheme provider were promoted. These included an employee assistance program, early intervention and rehab support for absent employees, an online health assessment tool to help employees assess and monitor their health, discounted courses to help them stop smoking
  • Switched their private healthcare scheme to a new provider with directly comparable benefits and reduced annual premium by £20,000. This reduced the tax liability for employees and enables KDE to invest in employee initiatives on a cost neutral basis
  • We introduced a new health cash plan benefit which included health screening assessments to support KDE’s objective of promoting health and wellbeing within the business. This was funded by KDE for all employees and their children
  • The new cash plan was promoted to employees via presentations at their offices which were well received and in the first 3 months since scheme launch the level of employee engagement has been high
  • Implemented annual pension governance service
  • Introduced the merits of offering salary exchange for the employee pension contributions
  • Providing advice and support for KDE in run up to auto enrolment implementation in 2017
  • We have issued KDE branded benefit summarises to enforce value of benefits to employees and the additional services these provide
  • KDE are considering the use of our benefit communication platform to help enforce the overall value of the employees remuneration and reward as well as offering a range of voluntary benefits for selection by employees which would be funded via payroll deduction and discounts from online and high street stores and supermarkets