If you’ve made the decision to look at salary sacrifice for car schemes more closely, then asking the right questions of the right people will go a long way towards ensuring your fleet supplier is able to design, implement and promote a scheme that is the best fit for your organisation.
We’ve been in the fleet business for over 50 years and in that time we have worked closely with large and small organisations across the private and public sector – and we believe that there are four questions that need to be asked to ensure a sacrifice for car scheme is not only cost effective and straightforward to set up – but one that is attractive to your staff.
1. Should I choose one supplier or multiple providers?
It seems obvious that every benefits provider would recommend a sole supply agreement over a multi supply model, but here’s why.
It’s a significant choice for an employer to implement a salary sacrifice scheme. In making that choice you will need to try and be very clear about what you are looking to achieve and the subsequent message to your employee base. In the past we’ve seen employers try and adopt a multi supply model in an attempt to drive some competition and force down pricing. Even where this stated goal has been achieved it can overlook the fact that a salary sacrifice car is a very important life choice for an employee and making that choice as clear and simple as possible is just as meaningful as trying to secure the lowest price.
At the heart of it, a salary sacrifice scheme is an opportunity for a provider to influence and hopefully educate an employee base who may have never been exposed to company cars or the related benefit in kind (BIK) considerations before. It makes sense then that the communications need to be clear, and explain things that will already be obvious to a company car driver. If more than one supplier is involved in influencing this decision then differing communications may muddy the waters and leave employees struggling to understand on what basis to make a decision. What’s even worse is that someone from your business may have a requirement to spend time translating and aligning these competing messages.
In summary, making it as easy as possible by having a concise and tailored communications plan from a single supplier will ensure the employees are educated, motivated and ready to make an informed decision on where they want to go next with their benefits package.
2. Is price more important than service?
It’s the the eternal question! When choosing a salary sacrifice supplier this question will be on the lips of almost all employers. Although the answer may be pre-determined by the financial objectives of the business it’s important to remember the employee’s experience is a function of the service and the perceived value for money. Therefore in order to have any chance of success the product and solution should be cost effective for an employee when compared with what they could secure out in the retail world.
Any supplier that offers a great salary sacrifice product should see the value in not only negotiating attractive discounts and mitigating risk for the employer but also to ensure the employee’s end to end experience is a clear, simple and exciting one. A detailed communications plan which leads to this engaging employee experience can on occasions make or break the success of a salary sacrifice scheme. If an employee can’t easily compare the price and service they’re being offered they’re likely to stick with what they know and scheme uptake may suffer as a result.
3. Do I need a large employee base to implement a successful salary sacrifice scheme?
There’s no hiding from the fact that salary sacrifice is traditionally more attractive to companies with a large employee base, however smaller organisations are certainly not exempt.
If you are a company with a medium sized employee base (less than 500 employees) then it’s crucial when selecting your provider that both parties are talking openly early on in proceedings about the suitability of the scheme. These conversations should cover a number of factors which need to be in place when dealing with a smaller population including; low staff turnover, mitigation of risk, an established benefits platform and a high proportion of employees above the minimum wage.
If a provider has been through several life cycles of salary sacrifice vehicles a familiarity and experience is formed of real life examples and experience. This, along with a good study into whether a salary sacrifice scheme is right for your business by working with you each step of the way will help you make a more informed decision, regardless of your employee base size.
4. How much in-house expertise is required to administer a salary sacrifice scheme?
Prior experience of providing a benefit to an employee population should be expertise enough to administer a great salary sacrifice scheme in partnership with the right provider. A salary sacrifice car scheme is not an “off the shelf” product so you will need to shape a clear vision of what success looks like for you. Whether you’re measuring staff take up, saving your business money, or emissions or a combination of all factors, your chosen supplier should help with this process and then provide the expertise to design and build a scheme which is a best fit for your organisation.
Help from a provider throughout the process, from initial discussions, design & build, benefits integration, risk mitigation, administration and communication and throughout the life-cycle of the vehicle is key. If built correctly then once a scheme is in place it should be virtually admin and cost free.