Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Prevent January job movers in 2016

“A new job and a better salary” – the exact words you don’t want to overhear from your employees on the topic of New Year’s resolutions. This is perhaps one of the most common New Year’s resolutions going, right up there with losing weight and quitting bad habits like smoking and drinking. As many as 2 in 5 people look for new jobs in January as a result of ‘back to work blues’. If we know January is a month for staff retention concerns, what can employers do to keep employees happy during this busy employment period?

Here, Busy Bees Benefits explains how an up to date and relevant benefits package can excite employees for the January return to work.

After the Christmas period, many employees dread the return to work. This may be for many reasons – the fear of going back to normality, worries about financial issues or irregular sleeping patterns playing havoc with working hours. However, the ‘new year, new start’ attitude is the number one factor for job moves at the beginning of the year.
Employers can prevent this by refreshing their benefits package and rebranding their employer profile ready for the beginning of the year.

Salary sacrifice schemes
Employees who are looking for more money can be helped by a range of money-saving benefits that can be accessed through their current workplace. Often these benefits are a great way of making employees’ pay stretch when a pay rise isn’t available.

Salary sacrifice schemes help staff to make the most of their pay by accessing tax and National Insurance savings. The most well-known of the salary sacrifice schemes on the market is the Childcare Voucher scheme.

Whilst this is a great scheme, there are also plenty of others that help employees save on different expenses by operating in a similar way. If you work out what your employees spend most of their pay on, you can then find out which schemes are best suited to your workforce, thus retaining your staff.

A few salary sacrifice schemes worth noting are car leasing, mobile phones, cycle to work, earn and learn and workplace parking.

All of these schemes also help businesses save money on National Insurance contributions.

Lifestyle schemes
Salary sacrifice schemes are great but they’re not always for everyone. Due to certain financial circumstances, some employees may be unable to use salary sacrifice schemes. However, this does not mean that they should go without.  

If you have employees that cannot access salary sacrifice schemes, there are a range of other options available. The small cost of these schemes can either be covered by the staff members who require them or funded by your business.

Examples of these schemes include; retail discounts – a scheme that gives employees access to exclusive discounts and offers on everyday purchases, car care – a scheme to help employees manage vehicle maintenance and will writing – a service that helps employees create a will at a discounted price.

Don’t lose faith in the value of a great benefits package just because salary sacrifice isn’t feasible for all of your employees. Make sure you do your research on alternative benefits.

Blue Monday
Ah, the day we’ve all been avoiding – Blue Monday. This is thought to be the most depressing day of the year, falling on the third Monday of January.

According to research, a combination of post-Christmas blues, cold dark nights and the arrival of unpaid credit card bills hits employees particularly hard on this day of the year. The effects of Blue Monday don’t just disrupt employees either; they also affect employers too – with as much as £93billion expected to cost businesses as a result of lost productivity.

Prepare for the expected levels of depression by initiating an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). These schemes help employees deal with everyday issues by providing an online help system and around the clock telephone counselling services. The confidential service aims to help resolve personal and professional problems that often impact behaviour in the workplace.

Through an EAP, staff can receive expert advice and guidance on topics such as stress, depression, relationship difficulties, bereavement, and anxiety as well as legal and financial concerns.

This means that any Blue Monday style negativity can be nipped in the bud with a single email or conversation with staff. “Are you feeling the effects of Blue Monday this morning? Don’t forget to use our EAP scheme if you need advice or simply someone to talk to today.”
Blue Monday might be a force to be reckoned with but you can certainly do something to help put negative thoughts at bay.

New year, new start
The ‘new year, new start’ attitude may be number one factor for job moves, but that doesn’t mean to say their new start has to be elsewhere.

Your business can be perceived as a new place to start, after rebranding with the correct benefits and internal communications strategy. By boosting your employer profile and refreshing your benefits package, you’ll not only retain key staff, but you’ll also attract potential employees in the event of a retention disaster.

Once you have your new benefits in place, it’s essential that you work with your benefits provider to establish marketing materials to work with your communications plan.

The New Year encourages the ‘new start’ mind-set so show your employees that you’re willing to give your benefits package a new start too. You might find that the threat of lost employees is reduced significantly.   

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Employee health: fulfil your responsibility as an employer

All organisations have a legal obligation to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees. In addition, organisations also have an obligation to reduce or remove anything at work that could make employees ill. Staffordshire based employee benefits firm, Busy Bees Benefits discusses how organisations can fulfil their obligations to their staff and in turn, facilitate their employees’ health and wellbeing.

Every two minutes a worker in the UK is made ill due to stress at work, according to research by the Trades Union Congress, (TUC). 11.3 million working days are lost as a result of workplace stress and it accounts for 39% of all work-related illness. Workplace stress can have an adverse impact on employees’ workplace performance and morale. Furthermore, organisations can suffer from increased sickness, absenteeism, staff turnover and reduced productivity.

Employee Assistance Programmes help staff deal with mental and physical health as well as legal and financial issues. The schemes provide an online risk assessment system and around the clock telephone counselling services from licensed and trained professionals. Whether employees are looking for advice on how to manage workplace stress or they want to see if they are at risk of developing an illness, an EAP scheme can help. Employees need not worry about using the service as organisations are not alerted when employees use the service.

Organisations can benefit in a variety of ways such as, reduced absenteeism, increased staff morale and an enhanced recruitment profile. In addition to this, they will also receive information on how to handle a stressed workforce. A scheme like this allows managers to spend less time counselling staff while employees can receive tailored support from the appropriate professionals.

For more information on Employee Assistance Programmes, please visit or call our team on 0330 333 9100 to develop a greater understanding on how the scheme can help workplace stress. 

Monday, 2 November 2015

Pedalling in the right direction: Why Cycle to Work is a year-round benefit

It may be getting a little darker, the roads may be a little busier and the weather may be changing, but if you think your employees won’t use a Cycle to Work scheme this winter, you should think again. This is all according to a provider of HMRC’s Cycle to Work scheme - Busy Bees Benefits - which claims that the change of season has not impacted uptake with its current clients. John Woodward, the company’s CEO explains why Cycle to Work is a year-round benefit.

Employees that already cycle to work will often choose to continue their commute this way. And there’s a good reason for this – those that continue cycling through the winter are able to maintain their fitness and take advantage of winter savings.

The winter months bring great benefits. In fact, the BBC states that October is actually the best time to purchase a bike due to the reduced price on older stock, which is usually released in August and September. These savings, combined with the tax and National Insurance savings of a Cycle to Work scheme, can reduce the cost of a new bike significantly – making winter the perfect season for cycling.

Winter months are known to bring extra expenses – Christmas, warmer clothing, heating bills and much more. Employees that save money on transport and the costs of running a car by cycling to work aren't likely to want unnecessary costs in the more expensive seasons of the year.

The mistake employers often make is assuming that the colder weather and darker skies will discourage employees to cycle to their workplace. However, this is not true. There are many cyclists that take on a winter commute by using accessories and equipment to aid their winter journey. Cycle to Work schemes help your employees with the cost of these bikes and winter equipment to stay safe and warm on the roads.

For example, employees that use the Busy Bees Benefits Cycle to Work scheme save up to 42% on a new bike as well as receiving up to £60 worth of free accessories. Things like cycling boots, gloves, under-helmet hats, lights, mudguards and puncture kits can all be purchased under the scheme’s offering.

Of course, all companies are different. Whilst there are those with employees who are committed to cycling, there are also those with staff that prefer alternative commutes. Employers that believe Cycle to Work only benefits commuters in the summer should conduct a staff survey to gain a reliable insight.

Providers of the Cycle to Work scheme should be able to help with this. Remember to ask for as much information on the scheme as possible. At Busy Bees Benefits, we provide emails to gauge interest with staff as well as any bespoke marketing materials requested by the client.

Once you've committed to offering a scheme in the winter, your next priority should focus on your business savings. It’s common knowledge that Cycle to Work helps your business save on National Insurance contributions. However, if it’s not communicated with your staff regularly, those savings may be non-existent. Put simply, the more up-take on your scheme, the more business savings to be made. Ensure that you are working hand in hand with your provider to communicate the scheme to your staff. The last thing you want is for your employees to satisfy their winter cycling purchases on the high street.

It may be colder, darker and busier on the roads but employees aren't as willing to dismiss cycling as quickly as you may think. Many of our clients continue to promote their Cycle to Work scheme during the colder seasons and orders regularly come in from employees who want to make savings on their bikes. The question isn't whether winter is a good season for the Cycle to Work scheme; it’s who you should choose as your scheme provider.

And of course, if you need help with the answer – Busy Bees Benefits is available on 0330 333 9100 or