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  • Feb 16, 2023

  • 6 min read


“We chose Octopus EV salary sacrifice because of the total package they could offer”

Berry Bros. & Rudd (BB&R) is Britain's oldest wine and spirits merchant, and sustainability is at the heart of everything they do.

They joined our electric vehicle (EV) salary sacrifice scheme back in July 2022, to provide a green benefit to their team and give them another way for their colleagues to make their money stretch even further.

We spoke to Melissa Proles, People Director at BB&R, about how our EV salary sacrifice scheme helps them on their way to net zero and to keep their people feeling valued.

What do you think is the biggest benefit of the EV salary sacrifice scheme for your business?

It’s about giving colleagues more choice. The tax breaks and benefits through having access to electric cars through salary sacrifice provides a different benefit to our colleagues. We already offer private medical insurance, a health cash plan, and a competitive pension scheme along with a huge range of other benefits. The EV salary sacrifice scheme adds to the broad benefits portfolio that we've already got in place, and helps us to support both our colleagues and the environment.

What do you like about working with Octopus Electric Vehicles?

The response times to questions are very quick. It's very simple, very easy. There's no stress. I know that the payroll team will say the same.

Last month, the events team from Octopus EV came to one of our sites and did a taster day so that colleagues could have a look around and test drive the cars which was brilliant.

We shortlisted EV salary sacrifice schemes and Octopus EV came out on top because of all the additional benefits that they could offer. Everything's included, even the cost of putting a charging point at somebody's home. The insurance and maintenance is all covered. This means the monthly cost to our colleagues is very transparent and people can understand exactly what they’ll get and how much it'll cost. And they can see how that will affect their take home pay each month.

How did the Octopus EV salary sacrifice scheme fit in with your sustainability plans?

The carbon footprint of what we do as an organisation is very important to us. We’re very focused on making sure that we run a sustainable organisation and have a net zero goal.

As the People Director, I'm very keen to make sure that we include sustainability within our people practices. It’s becoming more important than ever to share our sustainability plans with people. New hires are far more concerned with sustainability than ever – and rightly so – and they want to hear what companies are doing to minimise their carbon footprint and acting responsibly.

For us, it's not just about saying what you're doing; it's actually doing what you say you are going to do.

What has uptake been like from the salary sacrifice scheme?

There's been lots of interest in the scheme since we launched. It's been really well received, with colleagues appreciating that there's another benefit that they can access, that is a cost-effective benefit for them.

We’ve had five people sign up for cars already, and as it’s still early days, I think we’ll start to see more interest over time.

I took a car under the scheme and had it delivered in September. Being somebody on the executive team and showing colleagues that it's easy enough to make the switch I think will encourage more uptake of EVs and more people will follow suit.

How do your employee benefits help you recruit and retain staff?

We use our benefits as a selling point when we’re recruiting people into the business, because what we offer is very generous. We give colleagues a total reward statement each year so that they know the true value of everything they have access to. This gives our colleagues that extra bit of comfort in knowing that we’re looking after them and plays a part in keeping them with us.

We listen to what our colleagues want through an annual colleague engagement survey, and we ask them to give feedback to us about any other benefits or schemes they’ve heard of so we can look at bringing them into our portfolio. For me, it's really about making sure that we get the biggest bang for our buck with the benefits budget that we have.

How did you find the experience of ordering and taking delivery of your EV under the scheme?

I chose a car that I could get under speedier delivery, so I actually ordered a car I didn’t know much about! One of the team at Octopus EV asked whether I’d considered a Genesis GV60, and recommended that it could be a good option for what I was looking for.

I didn’t know what the car looked like, or drove like, but after doing some research and looking at pictures of the car on the website I took a bit of a leap of faith. I’m glad I did, because I’m really pleased with my new car! It’s really tech-y, with lots of bells and whistles.

The installation of my home charging point was really simple and quick, done about a month before the car arrived. And the car was delivered smoothly. It was a great experience.

How was your experience of switching to an electric car after driving a fuel-powered car?

It's not so different really. You've just got to remember to plug it in, but you get used to that very quickly. I really like the fact that I’m not spending time on petrol forecourts and that I’m not spending as much money on fuel.

The driving experience is brilliant, it's such a lovely car to drive. I’ve had no problem at all moving over from a diesel car to a fully electric one.

Up until recently I'd only charged my car at home, and I went away for the weekend to Kent in October and the hotel had a complimentary charging point. It was brilliant to plug it in and get it topped up for free. No-one ever filled up my old diesel car for free!