Assura is a 250 listed real estate company specialising in the healthcare sector. Its Head of HR Belinda Lewis says: “I know from working in retail that Assura is a generous employer. But when I asked employees what they thought of the benefits package they were quite negative or ill-informed. They didn’t rate what we did.”
Belinda knew from previous experience that simply stating that the package was generous wasn’t going to resonate with employees. She was looking for a benchmarking tool that would enable her to communicate to employees how good the overall company benefits were – from the number of volunteering days available to the car allowance.
Belinda had done benchmarking in other roles, predominantly around salary and benefits. She found tools like those of Willis Towers Watson and Hays didn’t support the real estate industry and were expensive. She was reluctant to spend potentially thousands of pounds on benchmarking only to find that she would have to add anecdotal information on top.
She had used XpertHR from an employment law perspective and thought she would try its salary benchmarking tool. This led her to look at all the other benchmarking XpertHR offers.
She says: “I loved that XpertHR has data for such a wide spread of organisations and sectors – and for benefits not just salary and bonus. We’re in three professional service sectors, so the data was great for us.”
Belinda liked that she could cut the data and look at different questions and nuances, year to year.
The data confirmed that Assura’s benefits are generous. The only area it had to work on was around its family friendly policy – for example maternity and paternity leave, and adoption.
Belinda also ran an Employee Opinion Survey (EOS) so she could address employees’ specific concerns. For example, Assura gives 25 days’ holiday, but it shuts down at Christmas - effectively three or four extra days' holiday each year. Employees did not count these days in the total.
Belinda says: “The benchmarking meant I could say, ‘Look, this is what other organisations provide. We don’t talk about 28 days’ holiday entitlement but, in reality, this is what you get.’
“People were leaving for other companies because they thought the holiday allowance was better when it was actually the same.”
Belinda now has a suite of one-page information sheets. They tell employees what benefits they can access, including everything from financial awareness workshops to counselling sessions. They have also launched an employee magazine and the benchmarking work was a springboard to articles about the available benefits.
It’s best to use the benchmarking tool every two years to see where you are in the marketplace. “Trawling through data is not top of my wish list,” says Belinda, “but XpertHR make it a lot easier. You drop down through benchmarking and there is information on pretty much any subject you can think of.
“I definitely recommend this product. XpertHR benchmarking services offer exceptional value for money.”
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