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  • Jul 28, 2022

  • 7 min read

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How companies can introduce sustainable employee benefits

To attract the best talent, your company needs a benefits package that ticks all the right boxes. For many potential employees out there, being part of a sustainable company will be right at the top of their wish list.

Eco-friendly benefits will figure alongside – maybe in some cases even ahead of - a competitive salary, pension and private healthcare when they’re looking for a new job.

What are green employee benefits?

Imagine you’re an employee wanting to reduce your carbon footprint. Wouldn’t it be great if your employer gave you some kind of benefit to help you do that?

Green employee benefits tick the following boxes:

  • Incentivise staff to act in a positive way to improve the environment, like ditching their petrol car and get an EV
  • Change employees’ habits, like using less plastic
  • Can make your employees more engaged and more likely to stay
  • Help you hit your company’s net-zero and corporate social responsibility targets

What are some sustainable perks and allowances for employees?

There’s a wide range of sustainable employee benefits that meet the brief. You’ve probably heard about a very popular one: the cycle to work scheme. But change up a couple of gears and you have subsidised zero emissions vehicles.

Both the cycle to work scheme and leasing EV vehicles use a benefit called salary sacrifice. With our EV salary sacrifice scheme, the employee gives up a portion of their pre-tax salary every month. The company uses this to cover the monthly lease payments on the electric car, all the employee has to do is to wait for their EV to get delivered.

These cleaner, greener benefit packages come in all shapes and sizes to work for different employees. Some might help them cut their emissions by allowing more flexible working from home, others may help them insulate their home or provide it with more sustainable power from solar panels.

What are the advantages of sustainable employee benefits for employers?

There are a number of advantages to offering your employees a range of benefits, since the very first private pension plan in 1875, the popularity of benefits schemes has continued to grow.

It shows your team you appreciate them

Offering great benefits packages enable employers to stand out in the face of ever-increasing competition for great staff. They’re a way to show staff they’re appreciated. Benefits can motivate staff by incentivising them with things other than money.

By offering a scheme like an EV salary sacrifice, you’re showing your team you care about them. Not only that, they’ll see you care about the planet and have plans for the future. What’s more, the salary sacrifice car scheme is a benefit that’s completely free for the company to join.

It keeps the best talent around

Employee retention is another reason to offer sustainable employee benefits. A survey carried out by Gartner revealed that 91% of HR leaders are concerned about employee turnover in the immediate future.

A sustainable employee benefits package can help you meet your company’s corporate social responsibility objectives. It also helps the company to show your team that you care about the same things as them, like fighting climate change. By actively going out of its way to help those employees to live more sustainably, the business is really saying: “We get your concerns and look: we’re acting on them.”

What are the advantages of sustainable benefits for employees?

The obvious advantage is that employees feel as if they’re working with an organisation that cares about the same things they do, another advantage is that they can save money on things they would otherwise pay full price for.

Think about how a sustainable employee benefit like a salary sacrifice car scheme works.

As the employee gives up a portion of their gross salary, they pay less Income Tax. And because their pre-tax pay is lower, they also pay less National Insurance. If they decide to run an electric car, they’ll pay a fraction of the Benefit in Kind (or company car tax) that petrol or diesel drivers fork out for.

On our electric vehicle salary sacrifice scheme, employees don’t have to pay a deposit on their EV, and their monthly payments include other driving costs like insurance, breakdown cover, servicing, tyre replacement. And with our EV salary sacrifice scheme, they even get a free home charging point installed by an expert Octopus engineer.

By switching from a petrol or diesel to electric your employee will cut their fuel costs. And by switching to Octopus as their energy supplier, they can even enjoy green energy tariffs for EV drivers. The result? A green benefit that also cuts their fuel costs by up to 80%. Happy employees, happy company.

How does a company introduce sustainable employee benefits?

You should never base your benefits on other companies or because they simply sound good. Company leaders should ask themselves questions like:

  • How does the benefit support the organisation’s business and people goals?
  • How does it reward the values and behaviours needed for the team to become more sustainable?
  • How does the benefit fit into the HR and reward strategies?
  • Does it support the organisation’s people management and development practices?

And perhaps most crucially:

  • Will the benefit be valued by current and future employees? Have we asked for their opinions?

Assuming the answers to these questions are positive, it can be incredibly simple for companies to launch their own sustainable employee benefits, including setting up salary sacrifice schemes. We provide the whole package. We even contribute 4,000 miles of free charging on Intelligent Octopus, the EV specific energy tariff or on the public charging network with Electric Universe.

Leading a green future

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) recommends that the UK must aim to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. To do so, there must be changes in how we live and work.

By helping their employees build a more sustainable future, employers are also attracting and retaining the best people for their jobs as well as complying with their own environmental targets. It really is a win-win-win.