Enhancing 9fin’s benefits package
- Megan Trotter
💡 Our benefits philosophy is to offer meaningful and useful benefits that enrich the lives of our 9finners by supporting them with their health, financial wellbeing, career progression, and belonging to the 9fin community. The purpose of this project was to provide everyone with a range of enhanced benefits that would meet the needs of our people.
Responding to employee feedback and the Cost of Living Crisis
In June 2022, we ran our first engagement survey to identify what areas of the employee experience could use improvement. The results showed generally high engagement and satisfaction with the employee experience across the board. However, one of the key areas that stood out as a place to iterate on was the total compensation package - specifically the benefits. Along with this, the Cost of Living Crisis was becoming a prevalent topic of discussion amongst People people in the industry and we knew we needed to take action to support our people.
The aims of this project were to:
- Respond to economic changes and demonstrate to our people that we care about supporting them with their wellbeing
- Align the benefits package with the next stage of our business growth
- Offer meaningful and useful benefits
How we’re measuring success
To measure the success of this project, we developed a set of metrics including impact on employee engagement, candidate offer acceptance, and turnover. Since launching the updated benefits package, we have seen an increase in employee engagement and offer acceptance as a result of this project and we will take another measure in about 6 - 12 months.
💙 Impact on Employee Engagement: Increased the percentage of employees who said that they feel that our benefits package supports their personal needs and plans in our engagement survey by 13%.
🧲 Impact on Offer Acceptance: Increased the influence that benefits have on offer acceptance by 25%.
👋🏽 Impact on Turnover: No employees have left due to dissatisfaction with the benefits.
How we took a people-centric approach to reviewing 9fin’s benefits package
🔍 Discovering what would set 9fin apart
Rather than assuming which benefits would be most meaningful to our people or ensure our benefits package was competitive, we conducted three discovery activities to identify opportunity areas…
- We completed a competitor analysis to identify what benefits we need to provide to be on par with the market and where we can stand out
- We ran an employee survey to determine how happy our people were with the current providers for Pension/401(k) and Private Medical/Health Insurance. This was also an opportunity to provide suggestions for any additional benefits they felt we were missing.
- We facilitated employee focus groups to uncover what areas of their well-being 9finners expected 9fin to support them with through our benefits package and how much we’re meeting their expectations
We already offered a bunch of great benefits at 9fin
From the discovery activities, we learned that our people most valued existing benefits which helped them to balance their lives with work and feel a sense of connection to 9fin:
- Family / Personal life: Being able to work flexibly & from home or abroad. Team members and managers are understanding when you need to take time away from your desk or work.
- Belonging at 9fin: Having team socials with people who are welcoming and friendly. Very appreciative of the summer and winter socials as an opportunity to socialise with other 9finners from outside of their immediate team.
- Spirituality: 9fin supports people of all different backgrounds and recognises that some people might need adjusted schedules (e.g. to observe Ramadan) or the ability to exchange a public or bank holiday for annual leave because they don’t celebrate it (e.g. Easter).
Areas to improve
The areas where there was room to either enhance our benefits or the guidance around how to access and make the most of them were:
- Learning & Development: It was unclear what the training budget could be spent on and would be good to have more time for learning.
- Health: Some people didn’t understand what our private medical insurance covered and a number of people in the UK requested dental insurance. In the US there were requests to add a FSA to help with healthcare costs.
- Financial wellbeing: 9finners hoped to see the contributions 9fin makes to pension increase as well as the addition of salary sacrifice or loan schemes to support the cost of living
✏️ Designing an enhanced benefits package that would bring value to our people and 9fin
For the areas that could be improved, our 9finners had a tonne of great suggestions for what could be added or enhanced to ensure our benefits package is competitive. We began by prioritising these based on impact versus effort. The impact was measured by the number of times the suggestion came up during the interviews and the anticipated impact on our ROI metric. The cost was measured in terms of monetary cost, plus the People team’s time to set up, maintain and support the benefit over time.
After identifying the actual costs, we presented the benefits to the Founders in four buckets. The first was the Benefits Spotlight & Comms bucket, which involved adjusting our guidance or increasing our comms on existing benefits to ensure our people make the most of them. The second bucket was Salary Sacrifice & Loans, which involved setting up schemes that would support our employees with the cost of living. The third bucket was enhancements to existing benefits. The final bucket was new benefits.
As a result of this project, we added 13 new benefits, enhanced 5 existing benefits, and made guidance clearer for existing benefits that weren’t getting much use.
💸 Financial Wellbeing:
To support our people with the cost of living, we now offer a season ticket loan in the UK and commuter benefits in the US. Along with increasing our pension contributions to match up to 7%, all of our UK employees also receive a 1-to-1 financial well-being consultation with our benefits broker to support them with planning for their future. We have also added income protection and death-in-service benefits in the UK to provide peace of mind. Across both the UK and the US we have fruit delivered to our office to help our people can save a bit of money on snacks.
🛡️ Health and 🌴 Time off
To support our people with healthcare costs we now offer a Flexible Spendings Account and in the UK we have added Dental Insurance. We also provide in-depth guidance on how to make the most of our well-being benefits and allow our people time away from their desks if they need a break or to use the wellness room. We have added an improved Employee Assistance Programme in the UK which provides access to mental health support and other great wellbeing benefits. To recognise our long-stayers we now offer 9finners who have been with us for 5 years a 1-month paid sabbatical. Finally, we updated our guidance on our sick leave policy to make it clear that it is absolutely okay to take a sick day for period symptoms or menopause symptoms or if they need a mental health day.
🎓 Learning & Development
We heard that our people needed more guidance on what the training budget could be used for and more time to use it, so we wrote up some guidance and increased the number of training days we offer to up to 11 per year. Along with this, we offer manager training to new and existing managers to learn about our management philosophy at 9fin.
Ensuring our people get the most out of our benefits
In the UK and the US, we offer more than 20 benefits aimed at supporting our people with their financial well-being, physical and mental well-being, sense of belonging to 9fin, family or personal lives, spirituality, and learning and development. Whilst there are some employees who take full advantage of these benefits, we know others might struggle to keep abreast of what’s available to them. So, we are continuously promoting our benefits through our weekly all-hands calls and spotlighting them on our Slack #announcements channel, as well as holding frequent onboarding sessions for new joiners which are also open to existing employees to attend. We have seen a decent increase in the uptake of and enrolment in our benefits, and this is something we will continue to track over time.