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02 Dec 2022
by Mieke Houchin

How benefits can support a green agenda and financial wellbeing

Energy provider E.ON wanted to re-engineer its benefits scheme in line with company’s business focus

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With the COP27 summit reiterating the urgency of climate change issues and with the cost-of-living crisis set to continue, organisations need to work towards employee benefits schemes that support a green agenda while focusing on employee financial wellbeing.

Edenred recently worked on an award-winning programme with its customer E.ON that did both these things.

Sustainability and serving the community

In recent years, E.ON turned its mission towards leading on future energy solutions in a world driven by the search for sustainability and the need to serve all parts of the community.

E.ON’s HR and benefits team wanted to respond by re-engineering its benefits scheme in line with the way the company does business. It saw several areas for development:

  • Although E.ON had a platinum benefits offer, not every employee understood the value of what was available.
  • There was also a perception that some categories of benefits that drive a greener workforce – such as electric vehicles (EVs) –  were only for employees in the higher grades of the company.

E.ON also wanted to better reflect its drive towards sustainability through its proposition while also ensuring that more people could easily access financial and physical wellbeing benefits.

Building the proposition 

One of the major challenges for E.ON is the makeup of its workforce. The number of employees working as customer services agents or in the field is significantly higher than the around 300 management and office-based employees. Of the total employee population, 3,500 people don’t have access to the company’s core systems or E.ON email.

This meant that any changes had to have universal appeal and be easy for everyone to engage with.

The benefits team addressed this by consulting leaders across business units (including IT, pensions, payroll and legal) who are involved in the the planning process. It also analysed the current benefits offering to identify those parts which were popular, those which did not need to be part of the future mix and those it needed to prioritise to support sustainability and financial and physical wellbeing.

Launching the new scheme

When the new MyBenefits+ scheme was launched it offered employees discounts on its EV chargers, helping more people manage travel costs and drive the company’s sustainability focus. In addition, it changed the purchase threshold for the Cycle to Work scheme from £1,000 to £2,000. This meant more staff could afford an e-bike for their commute.

The proposition also included health benefits at a wider range of affordable prices, from private medical insurance to cash plans and gym membership. Other new benefits were MotorSave, a salary sacrifice benefit that provides savings on car servicing, as well as a more flexible holiday purchasing scheme.

The new MyBenefits+ platform also allowed many employees to make changes and understand the full value of their benefits and rewards package through an online module.

Communicating change

One of E.ON’s top priorities at launch was to ensure every colleague understood that there was something in the proposition for them.

Working with Edenred and the E.ON comms team, the rewards team segmented the workforce into different groups and tailored the launch communications.

They also identified which channels would best reach each group, deploying everything from messages on the intranet and on TV screens in the office. They then made sure the new scheme was covered in weekly briefings for those in the field and in physical post to people’s home addresses.

E.ON’s new benefits scheme has proved a success and its focus on sustainability, inclusion and better communication to all employees is paying off. 

Take-up of cash plans has increased by 50%. The EV car lease scheme has attracted significant interest, with 15% registering on the portal. Just under 10% of those people, including colleagues from lower pay bands, have opted for an EV car. More than 30% of colleagues have purchased the higher Cycle To Work finance option.

Gym membership has also increased, by 100%, driven by greater take-up across all areas of the workforce. Holiday buying has been a particularly popular benefit, with 31% of the workforce opting in. E.ON has made this benefit even more accessible by offering it on an anytime basis that enables employees to purchase the benefit as their circumstances change.

Overall, most employees (83%) have engaged with the benefit portal across both field and office based workers – a significant increase compared with previous schemes that has proved the value of a more inclusive approach.

E.ON’s work in partnership with Edenred won the Reward, Recognition and Benefits category at the 2022 Personnel Today Awards and has been shortlisted for the HR Excellence Awards.

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