SSI UK, who in April celebrated the resumption of steelmaking at Teesside, have launched flexible benefits in conjunction with Thomsons Online Benefits, as a key strategy in the building of their new business and employee offering.
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The steel plant at Redcar was mothballed in February 2010, until it was acquired by SSI who wanted to bring production back on stream. The furnace was relit in April which meant that the business had to go about recruiting over 1,000 employees in a short space of time. The total direct workforce is circa 1,800.
Phil Dryden, CEO at SSI comments: ”When we set out to establish the new business we wanted to ensure that we created a safe, successful and sustainable business that would be a major player in the local economy and community. We were determined to attract high calibre and well motivated individuals to help us in reaching our goal of becoming a world class steelmaker.”
“We recognised that people are always at the heart of any successful business and to attract, retain and motivate an engaged and committed workforce we needed to have a compelling employee offer. I felt that how we reward our employees would play a key role in creating this.”
SSI UK chose to have a three phase launch for their programme entitled “One Reward” whereby they released pensions, core benefits and then flexible benefits. Using Thomsons’ Darwin™ platform, employees were able to access and enrol into their benefits, and also take advantage of a range of voluntary benefits, accessed by single sign-on. A comprehensive range of employee benefits were made available including: group personal pension, life assurance, medical insurance, childcare vouchers, dental insurance, give as you earn, savings plan, personal accident insurance, and a cycle to work scheme.
Jo Davies, HR Director at SSI comments: “As an HR function we had an enormous challenge on our hands to not only recruit over 1,000 people in a short space of time, but to also ensure that we structured an appealing employee offering that suited employees and the values and culture of the new business. Although SSI is a manual working environment for the vast majority of employees, we were determined to break with the past and ensure that we adopted the latest technology to minimise our administration, and ensure that our offering was as engaging and accessible to employees as possible.”
“After seeing a number of providers we chose to work with Thomsons Online Benefits on this project as we believed it would a true partnership and also allow us access to the technology, broking and communication skills that we needed.”
“Although we work in a manufacturing environment where most our employees don’t have access to computers at work, we recognised that the world has changed and today most employees have access to the internet at home. For anyone who didn’t have access at home we offered a kiosk facility during the enrolment windows. Together with Thomsons we put an enormous effort into the communication given to employees running onsite benefits fairs, as well as using the online tools available through Darwin™, to ensure that they really understood what was available to them.”
“We are delighted with the response from employees, with the majority logging into Darwin™ and engaging with One Reward. This now gives us an excellent base from which to develop One Reward in the future, and we are now actively seeking the feedback of our employees on how we can improve it further next time”.
SSI’s recognised trade unions also saw the value of One Reward and helped to encourage their members to engage with it. TU official, Steve Readman commented:
“The introduction of the new "One Reward" package is a ground breaking, unique scheme within our industry. The core and voluntary benefits will assist and give value to our members and their families throughout their employment with SSI. We will work with management to continue to deliver new benefits in the future in line with employees’ views and requirements.”
About Thomsons Online Benefits:
Thomsons Online Benefits help businesses gain maximum benefit from their employee reward schemes at minimum cost. With their unique consulting methodology Intelligent Reward™ and their award winning benefits administration technology platform, Darwin™, organisations the world over trust Thomsons Online Benefits with their employee reward programmes.
Thomsons Online Benefits has won over 50 awards including ‘Firm of the Year’ and 'Best Use of Technology' in the 2012 Corporate Adviser Awards and attracted a prestigious portfolio of clients that includes Cisco, Microsoft and RBS.