A flexible benefits programme can provide employees with a valuable choice of benefit options. These options can be designed in a number of ways and the platform can also be used as a communication medium. A common approach is for employers’ to provide a minimum core level of benefits but thereafter offer additional benefits that the employee can buy from an allocated benefit ‘budget spend’. This might be used to buy more holiday, increase life cover, or buy a non-core voluntary benefit such as dental insurance.
The advantage for employees is that they can customise their benefits package to align with and adapt to lifestyle changes. For employers this provides a way to enhance their benefit offering but with cost control of benefit budget spend. Flexible benefit arrangements can be expensive to establish and run, and a robust and adaptive IT ‘platform’ is essential if the arrangement is to perform effectively. Flexible benefit arrangements are therefore usually best suited for clients with a significant number of employees (typically at least 1,000+) where greater economies of scale can be achieved, competitive terms negotiated with insurance carriers, and where the employer has adequate resources and appetite to maintain the flexible benefit offering.
There are a significant number of specialist employee benefit platforms available in the market, and whilst these can appear to offer similar solutions, there can be significant diversity in cost, platform capabilities, on-line facilities, and communication strategy. Some employers may have the facility to design their own systems, and we will equally be pleased to work with employers here.
As these tend to be longer-term projects, a core consideration is whether flexible benefits is the right approach for the employer. We can work with clients’ HR and IT departments to help determine whether a flexible benefits approach is appropriate for the business, research and shortlist prospective carriers and help compare service offerings and costs. This can include conducting ‘beauty parades’ to help clients drill-down and identify both the advantages and disadvantages of each short-listed carriers offering, and work with all stakeholders to help select and facilitate implementation with the selected carrier.
Once established, we can provide ongoing support to facilitate any future changes that might be required, assist with employee communications, and provide ongoing administrative support.
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