Flexible choices online

first_imgFlexible choices onlineOn 10 Aug 2004 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Case study: Poplar Housing and Regeneration Community AssociationAbout the organisation Poplar Housing and Regeneration Community Association (Harca)manages about 5,000 homes in Poplar, in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. Itis a registered charity and was the first housing company set up to run formerlocal authority housing in an urban area. It has a diverse workforce of morethan 200 employees, from housing managers to environmental and communityworkers. The project A survey revealed that staff wanted more choice and flexibility when it cameto benefits. An external company was employed to create and deliver an onlineflexible benefits scheme. It had a number of objectives: to aid recruitmentwith flexible working differentiating it from other public sector employers; toimprove retention; to re-communicate and raise understanding and appreciationof the benefits package; and to align the benefits structure to the businessstrategy and assist in promoting culture change. System supplier Thomson Online Benefits, part of the Thomson Group plc and the secondlargest financial adviser in the UK,was founded in 2000 with a view to changing the way benefits are administratedand communicated. The approach Thomson carried out a survey and set up focus groups, involving a wide rangeof staff, to decide which benefits should be included. “We ran a competition for staff to vote on the branding of the scheme,and Poplar Benefits was chosen,” says Mustapha Jobe,manager of HR at Poplar Harca. “Consultation wasthe key to developing a scheme that staff really wanted. Staff andrepresentatives from the unions were involved from the beginning.” The solution Poplar Benefits runs on Poplar Harca’s intranet,which can also be accessed by employees at home. The benefits package agreedincludes buying and selling holidays, private medical insurance, annual healthchecks, dental insurance, tax-free PCs and a range of voluntary benefits. Someemployees have been trained as ‘flex champions’. Those workers who don’tnormally have access to a PC can sit down with a flex champion to access thesystem. Thomson helped Poplar Harca market the schemeinternally via articles in the newsletter, posters, postcards and even roadshows. “Our experience is that this greatlyincreases the take-up and interest in the scheme,” claims Chris Bruce,director of Thomson Online Benefits. Results No figures on take-up are available yet, as Poplar Harcais about to re-open the scheme in September, but it is reportedly high and hasreceived good feedback from staff. Thomson will be running further focus groupsto see what flex choices staff would like to see added. Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Articlelast_img

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