The correlation between offering a good employee benefits package and having a motivated workforce is well understood by Lowell. Previously, it had flexible benefits in place with a well-known provider. However, with only around 40% take-up, this was failing to meet the expectations of the business, as well as those of its employees.
 

The challenge

The company was looking for a partner who genuinely understood its business, together with the needs and challenges of its UK workforce. Lowell recognised that working in this sector can be rewarding, but also emotionally challenging for employees, so the wellbeing of its workforce was at the heart of a new and revised proposition.

Lowell had been using a legacy benefits platform that was very labour intensive to administer. So for Lowell, there were a number of prerequisites, including the below. 

  • The new employee benefits platform would need to streamline transactional processes, such as automated data uploading.
  • It would need to be future-proof and have the ability to grow with the organisation in the UK and across their European operations over time.
  • All elements of the service must be delivered and managed from the UK and not offshored in any way, such as overseas employee help desks or outsourced technical support. 

The solution

From our tender proposal Lowell understood that you can’t design an engaging employee benefits programme by simply copying what the rest of the market offers. Every employee is different and needs to be treated as such. 

We started by reaching out and building strong relationships with Lowell’s Head of Reward, together with other key stakeholders. We then deployed our proprietary BWell analytics tool to reach out to employees, in order to gain a deep understanding of their level of wellbeing. 

Armed with this data we were then able to start designing a scheme based on real evidence. We tailored a range of over 18 benefits, including: multiple health related benefits, pension scheme, charitable giving, a Cycle to Work scheme, dental insurance and Group Income Protection, to name but a few. 

All of this was communicated and managed through our 4me platform, many on an ‘anytime’ basis. This allowed employees to access benefits at a time that was right for them. The capabilities of the 4me platform meant Lowell was, for the first time, able to offer benefits that were right for their people, not just what the platform was able to deliver.

Maximising the use of salary sacrifice benefits not only delivers tax and national insurance savings for employees but is also generates significant Class 1 NI savings for the business. These savings were then partly being used to fund the provision of the scheme and the technology. 

4me has also given Lowell’s HR and Reward team more time by automating processes that were previously been done manually. This has allowed the team to move away from transactional activities to focus on more strategic tasks. 

Lowell employees’ quick and easy access to the right health benefits will help to reduce absenteeism. In turn, this will have a measurable and positive impact on Lowell’s bottom line. Analysing this return on investment is an integral feature in our regular strategy meetings.

The feedback

The new scheme went live to employees on 1 June 2020 in the middle of the first UK Covid-19 lockdown.  Despite the obvious challenges, the outcome surpassed Lowell’s expectations. Employee feedback has been very positive as they now have a wider range of benefits that are accessible at a time that suits them.

0%

increase in employee engagement

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increase in employee spend on benefits

Barnett Waddingham was great to work with throughout the project. Their enthusiasm and innovative approach during the coronavirus pandemic allowed us to achieve our goals during a very difficult period. Our workforce were all working remotely and we needed for them to, not only to be informed, but to take action. They supported us via a number of engagement initiatives, and were willing to go the extra mile at short notice to ensure we successfully communicated with all of the workforce. I really felt BW had our best interests at heart throughout the project and the team personally cared about helping us achieve our objectives.
Timothy Simpson Group Head of Reward, Lowell

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