WINTER 2022 NEWSLETTER
As businesses struggle to find the talent they need to maintain continuity and grow, as well as contending with increasing supplier, energy and salary costs we focus on how employee benefits can play a part. Which benefits are most popular, and how can they help to provide a solution to some of the problems SME’s face. We always like to feature a member of the Excellect Team in our newsletters, and this time it’s the turn of Simon Kelly, our Managing Director who hates being in the spotlight!
WHAT WERE THE 3 MOST POPULAR BENEFITS IN 2022?
This is a question we are frequently asked by our Partners and clients and we are happy to share our experience of what most businesses decide to implement and why:
Private Medical Insurance (PMI) – Both the pandemic and the increasing pressure on the NHS (including the huge waiting list for treatment - currently 7.2m) have made everyone aware of importance of good health. In the past PMI was less popular with younger employees who could not see it’s value for them. However as reported in our last edition, it’s noticeable that for the first time much younger people are taking out cover which confirms the appeal to different age demographics is broadening. The good news is that some providers include features which make sure all employees get a benefit without the need to be ill. For example 40% off gym memberships is just one of them. Definitely worth having.
Health Cash Plan – A wonderful simple little plan that does so much at a low cost!! Nearly every business we talk to loves Cash Plans. They appeal to all age groups, they encourage employees to look after their everyday health, and they can be used all the time so they are very visible and tangible. Cost is appealing too as they start from as little as £1 per week per employee. The discounts portal included in some Cash Plans is particularly popular as who wouldn’t want to save money off food, clothing and leisure activities at the moment? Combined with a Virtual GP service, an optional Employee Assistance Programme, and cover for PMI excess, they offer really good value for money.
Death in Service (Group Life) – Protection benefits are very popular currently, and with some employees cutting back on their own insurances due to cost, they can provide an invaluable safety net should the worst happen. We speak to businesses who have experienced the death of an employee and the contrast between those who have had to explain there is no provision for the financial dependents, and those who can confirm the family will receive a tax free lump sum is stark. It’s also a benefit which helps SME’s compete with larger companies who all tend to offer Death in Service as standard. It’s therefore a benefit which can help attract and retain.
MEET SIMON KELLY – THE FOUNDER OF EXCELLECT
Over recent issues we have introduced new members of the Excellect team, but this time we meet Simon, the man who started it all.
Ann: Hi Simon, it’s just over 8 years now since you started Excellect. Tell me how it all came about?
Simon: I’d worked for many years in the Health Insurance broking industry, although I was originally a business analyst by trade. In 2014 I had the opportunity to buy a book of medical insurance clients from the firm I was working for and Excellect was ‘born’. Having worked in large corporates in the past, experiencing all the corporate kowtowing and “red tape” etc. I was determined to create a company culture that would be different. My vision was to have a company where employees come first, not only for our clients, but also in our own team. Creating an environment where employees can be themselves, enjoy their work, as well as having fun was something I really wanted to do. That’s how our strap line #everyonebenefits came about. In the beginning there was just myself and Ryan Tozer who I am delighted to say still remains in the business today. Ann: And what has happened in those 8 years? Simon: They have gone so quickly and so much has happened. We immediately broadened our services from just brokering health benefits to providing a full range of employee benefits. We developed our professional partners business model where we focused on building trusted relationships with HR Consultants, IFA’s and other brokers who previously didn’t offer our services to their clients. This now means that over 95% of our New Business is referred through these organic channels. One real highlight was the move to new, owned offices in 2019 on our 5th birthday. I could see that we were going to outgrow the original space, and now with a growing team of 12 it won’t be long before we are at capacity again!
Ann: What are you the most proud of? Simon: Hard to say what I am most proud of. I have several things if that’s OK? I am proud of, and grateful to the network of hundreds of introducing partners that trust us every day with their clients. I am super proud that we have a growing business trusted to look after over 600 companies and their employees, and who choose to remain with us year after year. Most importantly though I am proud of the team at Excellect, who deliver an amazing service for our clients. Watching them learn, develop (with a smile), and reach their potential is so fulfilling. Ann: What do you like to do when you are not working? Simon: I’m a keen musician and songwriter. When time allows I enjoy nothing more than 18 holes of golf (in the sun!). I’ve just also moved house so there is plenty to do, and with two children I’m sure I am going to be kept busy for the foreseeable future. Ann: What does the future look like? Simon: Hopefully more of the same… partnerships, growth, and happiness. We are also always on the lookout for products and services that enrich our proposition for our introducers and clients so watch this space.
THE PROBLEM WITH PAY RISES
All of us are noticing how the things we need to buy every day have gone up in price. And we are all thinking and talking about ways we can help to reduce our energy costs. For some, the dilemma of “heat or eat” is very real and is making life tough. It’s hardly surprising that employees are expecting cost of living pay rises from their employers. But employers are of course facing their own cost challenges. So, what about pay rises? Are they the only answer to getting through these difficult times?
Pay rises are costly to a business as the employer also suffers increased National Insurance and pension contributions on top. For example a 10% pay rise awarded to an employee on £30,000 per year actually costs the business an additional £3504 per annum not just the 10%.
The recent increase to the national minimum wage has meant many employers have felt they needed to increase all salaries to maintain differentials between employees e.g. length of service or seniority
Once awarded, can rarely be reversed. So if and when inflation reduces in future years, this year’s pay rise is here to stay. It also affects future costs because future pay rises are based on the increased salaries.
Pay rises are quickly forgotten by employees after initial appreciation period.
When it comes to attracting talent to a business, job candidates are no longer looking for salary alone. They are seeking a whole package which often includes options for flexible and hybrid working, a competitive salary, career development, opportunities and meaningful employee benefits How Employee Benefits Can Play a Part?
Businesses need to offer employee benefits to be able to attract and retain quality employees. They need to make themselves stand out as an employer of choice, rather than being overlooked by potential job candidates seeking the “complete package”.
If benefits are already in place, it is vital to review them. Just like any other business cost that is being reviewed, there could be significant savings achieved through a whole of market review of benefits. Additionally, it’s always worth re-communicating benefits from time to time to remind employees of what they have, and how they can make best use of the benefits. Are employees engaged with what is in place? Have other options been considered and is the offering the right one for the current age demographic?
For some businesses introducing employee benefits in combination with a pay rise may be more cost effective than pay rise alone. It’s worth looking at the options and getting costings. We don’t charge for consultations or quotes and so this information gathering will allow for sound decision making.
ANOTHER 5 STAR REVIEW
".....Excellect were brilliant in asking the right questions to understand what employee benefits would best suit our team, rather than only trying to sell what benefits them. We've since taken on various policies with them and their onboarding has been great. We look forward to a continued relationship......"
THE EXCELLECT BENEFITS WHEEL
“Everyone Benefits – through personality, professionalism and passion. Employees are at the heart of every successful business
– you are at the heart of ours.”