4 min read
Free food and pool tables just won’t cut it anymore for modern workforces who expect more from their employee benefits. Gone are the days of fancy “perks,” such as cold brew on tap and monthly game night to entice candidates, and instead, HR leaders are making sure to put in place employee benefits that make a tangible, material difference in their employees’ lives.
Helping employees with their expenses, whether an everyday purchase or something special, can increase their disposable income and improve financial wellbeing.
It lessens the stress of unplanned big purchases or helping them buy a big-ticket item that works for their budget.
One of my favourite benefits that Reward Gateway offers its people, and our clients, is SmartTech™, a net payroll deduction benefit that allows employees to purchase whitegoods or technology with free financing. It’s so simple to use: Employees can choose from more than 5,000 products from our partner Currys PC World, and select what they’d like to buy. Then, they just choose their payment period and receive a redemption voucher.
I’ve been an avid user: Just in the past couple of years I’ve bought a TV, a Dyson for my new house, Smart Watch for my partner’s Christmas present (I hope she doesn’t read this before Christmas!) and a Kettle/Toaster combination (the colour was perfect for our kitchen).
But I’m not the only fan of this benefit. Some of the clients I work with have used the programme to give their employees a great benefit that makes both the company and their people happy. HR professionals can quickly and easily allocate a specific window for the SmartTech loans and limit employee spend, which helps keep a benefits budget in check.
SmartTech: The employee benefit for your entire workforce, no matter where they are
Sofology is a luxury sofa company that has worked with us to put in place a variety of benefits, including an employee discounts scheme, Cycle to Work and most recently, SmartTech. Nicola Leyden, Sofology’s Junior People Business Partner, says that the benefit has been “hugely popular” among the dispersed workforce of 1,000 employees.
“Our colleague demographic is split into three main populations,” Nicola says. “We have 45 Retail stores in which all of our store teams work from in order to assist our customers with their purchases. Our Support Office consists of teams such as Customer Service, IT and Marketing to name a few, who work in the background to add the bells and whistles to the customer journey. We also have our Warehousing and Logistic teams that work from six distribution centres in order to provide an excellent delivery service for our customers.”
So getting a benefit that could reach all areas of their diverse employee demographic was critical to make the largest impact.
Since launching two months ago, the benefit has taken off, with employees spending more than £140,000 on the platform on a variety of items, such as TV’s, doorbell cameras, whitegoods, game consoles and more.
“SmartTech has been a hugely popular addition to our benefits offering, and has given our colleagues a flexible approach to buying their electrical goods,” Nicola says. Another added benefit? “It also supports our wellbeing strategy by supporting financial wellbeing, as we know that some colleagues may not have available cash to purchase a large item like a fridge or washing machine when something goes wrong!”
Communicating a new employee benefit
Sofology had a fairly lengthy lead time to announce its new SmartTech benefit, which is what I would recommend for companies looking to maximise their benefits announcements throughout the year. I worked with Nicola and her team on an employee benefits launch communications plan that included manager announcements in team meetings, benefits roadshows, email communications and of course, announcements through its internal communications platform.
“By the time October was approaching, our colleagues were so excited for the benefit arrival they were already talking about the purchases they were going to make!,” Nicola says.
The entire Sofology Rewards programme has become increasingly popular and is firmly rooted in the organisation’s desire to improve its Employee Value Proposition, particularly when it comes to wellbeing.
“Our wellbeing strategy is made up of five strands: Financial, Social, Physical, Mental and Environmental, and SmartTech, along with the rest of our benefits on Sofology Rewards, supports our colleagues with nearly all of these,” Nicola says.
Working with Nicola on boosting usage of Solofology’s newest benefit has been great. It’s important to remind employees though, it's not just computers and washing machines. SmartTech benefit extends to “lesser known” technology that can help with other aspects of wellbeing such as blenders, tech wearables like fitness trackers and more.
Sounds like a perfect time to get the “New Year, New You” campaign started!
If you’re interested in learning more about SmartTech or any of our other employee benefits to help attract, engage and retain your people, please reach out to one of my colleagues: