Case study: E.ON rolls out its EV-only car salary sacrifice scheme
The move towards electric vehicles (EVs) has steadily been gaining momentum but, with recent events around panic buying fuel, and a heightened spotlight on climate change, more people and businesses will undoubtedly be drawn to this alternative.
Renewable energy supplier E.ON is already ahead of the curve when it comes to introducing EVs, both for its company car fleet and for its car salary sacrifice scheme. We spoke to Tom Buchanan, reward consultant, and Hazel Mainwaring, reward and performance lead consultant, both from E.ON about why they have introduced an EV-only car salary sacrifice scheme for employees.
E.ON’s EV-only car salary sacrifice scheme
E.ON launched its car salary sacrifice scheme earlier this year with Lex Autolease. “We developed a brand new EV scheme with them to complement our benefits offering. That was both in response to colleague feedback, but also to play our part in the green economic recovery,” explained Mainwaring.
The team worked with the leasing provider to develop a scheme that was beneficial for their employees. The result was a salary sacrifice scheme that gives their colleagues access to a new affordable EV lease car with no deposit, and with the tax and National Insurance savings that come with salary sacrificing.
“We've seen that the scheme has a really broad choice of EVs and appeals to all levels with different budgets. While salary sacrifice car schemes aren't new, the fact it’s an EV scheme really reflects our changing colleague behaviour, as well as our business strategy,” said Mainwaring.
“Our company car fleet went EV-only and so it felt right that we launched a car lease salary sacrifice scheme that is EV-only too. Alongside government initiatives, it's really encouraging our drivers to transition to electric and to make a direct contribution to cleaner air.”
Developing a scheme that was suitable for E.ON’s workforce was a long process that involved a lot of due diligence work to ensure that all eventualities had been thought through to mitigate any risks to employees and to E.ON.
The total build process took about nine months of working very closely with Lex, as Buchanan explained: “You have to go through all the legal work in the background, and we worked with teams across E.ON from finance, fleet, tax, legal – to make sure we were ticking all the boxes – to our payroll team to ensure that everyone knew what we were taking on.”
Given E.ON’s position in the energy sector, it is also in the fortunate position of having access to in-house expertise to help employees with installing electric car charging points at home. The organisation’s Energy Infrastructure Services department includes E.ON Drive, which looks after and sells car charging points as part of its home solutions offering.
“We worked closely with that team,” says Buchanan. “They put blogs out about EVs and helped us to build a picture around EV ownership, and tried to answer employees’ queries around range-anxiety and these sort of things.”
To further complement how they commercialise the scheme internally, Buchanan adds that they are now offering the E.ON Drive charging points through salary sacrifice.
Linking the scheme to the business strategy
The EV-only car salary sacrifice scheme aligns with E.ON’s purpose in leading the energy transition through the provision of personalised, sustainable and smart solutions to homes, businesses and even cities. Buchanan believes that the EV car scheme demonstrates to colleagues that they’re ‘walking the talk’ when it comes to their benefits offering, and that “every colleague has the opportunity to play their part in that message”.
Looking at its employee benefits offering, particularly around transport-related benefits, the organisation already had cycle to work and discounted tram, and so the EV-only car scheme was an obvious solution that was compatible with its other green initiatives.
“The tagline we use is ‘Join the green rEVolution’, to say you're a part of this,” said Buchanan “E.ON is very good at telling its employees what we're doing, and so the message is very clear about all the work that's going on in sustainability across the business.”
The importance of introducing benefits that are not only sought-after by staff, but also align to wider business strategy is becoming increasingly important both for attracting and retaining employees. As Buchanan notes: “All of the benefits we offer can be put into one of three wellbeing categories: personal, financial, emotional. We're very purposeful in making sure that whatever we're offering aligns to that ethos – it's E.ON’s employee value proposition, it's part of coming to work for us.”
The author is Dawn Lewis, content editor at REBA.
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