As the UK’s leading qualification and membership body for vocational accountants, AAT pride themselves on setting high standards and upholding professional and ethical conduct.
As a not-for-profit organisation, they place a high degree of importance on their benefits programme to attract and retain top talent. Despite a generous range of benefits, AAT felt that benefits were not fully understood or appreciated.
In collaboration with our colleagues at Arthur J. Gallagher, we undertook a comprehensive benefits and engagement review, including an in-depth employer and employee-led discovery process to establish:
- Whether existing benefits were fit-for-purpose, matched contractual requirements and were compliant
- Any new benefits that may be suitable
- How engaged employees were with their benefits, attitudes to existing communication and preferences for future communication
“Arthur J. Gallagher has helped us build a comprehensive business case to make changes to our proposition; confidently reallocating our benefits spend to offer staff a more fit-for-purpose benefits package and with a view to achieving greater levels of employee engagement as a result."Olivia Hill – Chief HR Officer
As well as the perception from AAT that employees were not engaging with their benefits, research showed that, despite the generous package, the ‘ad-hoc’ approach to messaging often led to benefits being misunderstood or unappreciated.
Furthermore, many felt that benefits were no longer fit-for-purpose, with some policies inconsistently applied and an overall package which was viewed as being more suitable for an older generation, not reflective of the current employee demographic.
With benefits crucial to AAT’s employee value proposition, increasing awareness, understanding and appreciation of benefits was vitally important.
It’s important to note that the benefits and engagement review was not intended to save money, but to enhance the benefits package and achieve a greater return on investment for AAT. As a result, any money saved is intended to be reinvested.
The review culminated in a comprehensive report, capturing the findings, analysis and recommendations and providing the business-case for change.
Development continues, but work to date includes a relaunched benefits proposition. Employee research validated the perception that certain aspects of the programme were not valued and employees provided input into what should be offered as an alternative. Furthermore, additional tax efficiencies have been identified to fund future improvement.
Central to the new benefits strategy is a new online platform to reinvigorate communication and engagement. The online platform itself is central to the new proposition, offering employees a personalised view of their benefits and providing further insight into all benefits available. Controlled by specific user permissions, page content and benefits access varies to display information that is relevant to each employee.
The clean design focuses on an improved user experience compared to previous systems, with simple menus, page structure and consistent content throughout. Pages are mobile responsive to maximise accessibility.
With market intelligence and analytics at the heart of the system, data is constantly being captured to provide insight into user behaviours and preferences; thus providing further insight into future development.
Measuring success is ongoing; however, initial outcomes include the comprehensive insight to build a robust business-case for change, with approximately 20% of employees providing first-hand feedback via focus groups and a 75% response rate to an employee survey.
Further successes are evident as AAT identified savings of more than £80,000, which they intend to reinvest in improving benefits and communication. Such was the strength of the business case that additional internal funding was approved. Encouraging engagement statistics from the portal show 54% registration on a new online benefits platform in the first month and there is also ongoing work to continue to develop AAT’s benefits strategy.