Benefits Platform Myth Busters

Benefits Platform – Myth Busting!

Since creating and launching our COGS Salary Plus Benefits Platform solution in January 2017, we have had many interesting conversations with lots of people at all sorts of different companies and it has amazed us how many untruths are still circulating about Benefits Platforms.

It is the Employee Benefits Collective’s belief that every company should have a Benefits Platform and it is our mission to enable as many companies as possible to reap the huge advantages of having one. Below we set out, and pick apart, the 5 most common myths we hear – these myths are ultimately deterrents and, as such, they need busting…big time!

1. Benefits Tech is too expensive!

Benefits Platform technology used to be expensive, but over the last 20 years we have seen amazing improvements in both the capability and efficiencies of this important technology. This should, in turn, have led to a big fall in the pricing of Benefits Platforms throughout the UK market.

However, the reason why costs haven’t fallen can be summarised into two main historical problems, neither of which affects us here at the Employee Benefits Collective:

A. Original suppliers are still using their platforms to replace revenue lost from the outlawing of pension commission.
B. Operating costs, especially in respect of personnel, remain at high, unnecessary levels.

Platform pricing strategy in the early/mid noughties was to provide technology “free of charge” to secure and then justify significant pension commissions. When these commissions were removed, benefit advisory firms needed to find some way of recouping that loss and they immediately moved to significant platform fees.

These large platform fees were also needed to pay for the high number of people needed to run old, inefficient legacy platforms but were often accepted, at the time, because a well utilised Benefits Platform would generate a significant employers National Insurance saving via salary sacrifice, often more than four times the value of the full platform fee – something that is no longer available.

Ultimately, this model worked for the large corporate market, but the exorbitant pricing left the SME world unable to access this vital tool.

Through tech advancements and production of simple, easy to configure Benefits Platforms, sprinkled with a little Employee Benefits Collective magic, an affordable Benefits Platform offering everything a large corporate firm would offer to their staff is now available to companies of any size.

How do we make it affordable? Put simply, we offer it at ‘cost’. We are employee benefit consultants who desire to be paid for doing what we do best: giving our clients advice around the important benefits they provide for their staff. If you have budget for benefits, we’d prefer you to spend it on actual benefits for your employees rather than overpay for a platform that is meant to be a showcase for your benefits. As we offer the platform alongside our benefits consulting services, we get paid a modest fee for the platform and another for our benefits advice.

2. Voluntary Insurances are only available to bigger companies!

This was true but only because technology and benefit providers were happy with the status quo. It took us to leave our own large corporate environments and start up our own firm to make voluntary benefits, including popular insurances such as Critical Illness, Spouse or Partner Life Assurance and Dental Insurance, available to all. Today, we have clients with as little as 4 to as many as 6,000 employees maximising the benefits of our foresight. What is the magic ingredient? Call us and we will tell you!

3. Setting up a Benefits Platform takes too much resource from HR/Payroll/Finance to put together!

Depends on if you believe all the hype of a big player in the flex benefits space. The more unnecessarily complicated they can make the process, the more justified they feel in charging you silly fees. The more complicated the process, the more necessary it is to waste your time. The more involved you are, the more convoluted the implementation becomes and the more responsibility they force you to take in case there are any errors in their work.

We pride ourselves on keeping things straightforward for our clients and taking the pain away from them. All we ask is that clean data and full benefit details are provided to us – we’ll do the rest. A finished Benefit Platform is presented to you for testing, tweaking and launching.…in the words of a wise, Russian meerkat – simples!

4. We’d be better off concentrating on paying our people more than our competitors than wasting it on core benefits for everyone!

Yep, cash is important, but most engagement surveys still highlight the popularity of employee benefits, often over cash, especially in the health and wellbeing arena given recent events.

A Benefits Platform helps to maximise the value of any existing employee benefits spend, especially with pensions, and offer new options for employees to invest their income, sometimes tax efficiently, in benefits that can support their particular needs. Even if you do love cash, our Reward Statement shows your total package to help your employees understand how much you are investing in them!

5. We’ve already got a Benefits Platform from {insert name of discounts/”perk” provider here}!

We recognise that providing staff discounts that help your employees’ salaries go further is an essential part of your benefits offering but, a staff discounts portal is NOT an employee Benefits Platform. Sure, it may also have a bike to work scheme in there or perhaps even health screens, however, if it doesn’t present core employee benefits like Pension, Life Assurance and Private Medical or offer a full breadth of voluntary benefits including key insurances, whatever you are paying for….is a waste of money! It is the presence of core employer benefits that drives the engagement with your platform.

Think we are talking nonsense? Perhaps this summary from one of our many satisfied customers may convince you otherwise:

“Our expectation was that a full benefits platform, including all the traditional and modern flex benefits, would only be available to larger companies; so we were super excited to be introduced to the Employee Benefits Collective, and their COGS Salary Plus Employee Benefits platform.

The implementation of our benefits platform has been a revelation in helping us to significantly improve the communication and management of the core benefits we pay for. But more than that, it has also allowed us to give our employees the choice of a whole host of health & wellbeing, protection, and lifestyle benefits, which they can spread the cost of, aided by the additional £250 benefits allowance we provide every employee.

Whether it’s been increasing a pension contribution, applying for Private Medical and/or Dental Insurance, buying a Cycle to Work, selecting a health screen, securing some extra life assurance, covering themselves in the event of a critical illness diagnosis, or getting their hands on the latest piece of technology – our benefits platform does it all and more – and then neatly summarises everything in each employee’s Total Reward Statement.

Since launching, our employee engagement with the platform has reached phenomenal levels – 99.1% of our people made a platform transaction during our recent renewal. Only one person didn’t engage! We are immensely proud of this level of engagement but will not rest until we have encouraged the perfect 100%.

We may be small, but we are super ambitious, and being able to offer this to our people far exceeded their expectations (and ours!) Hopefully this has gone some way towards being as awesome as we aspire to be!”

We’d love to have a conversation with you and answer all your queries about what is and isn’t possible. Many of our happy clients, including the author of the above, would happily share with you their experiences and help put some of these dated myths to bed!

Don’t fall behind – get in touch with us today!

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