NSK Bearings decided to introduce a Voluntary Benefits programme to give something back to their dedicated and hardworking people based at their main plant at Peterlee. Their partnership with Personal Group, who provide their benefits package, has really born fruit with a healthy 50% initial take-up.
When an NSK Trade Union Representative asked Steve Metcalfe, HR Manager if he could negotiate some retail discounts with local shops and restaurants he wasn’t sure where to begin. Steve said: “I must admit I went away scratching my head, but after reading Employee Benefits magazine, and a Google search, Personal Group was highlighted as a company we could work with.
“I arranged to meet with their Business Development Director, Steve Mason and we discussed the range of Personal Group products. As a result of this meeting I was able to go back to our Trade Union Representatives and asked ‘How does over 8,000 discounts sound?’ They were a bit taken aback.”
O pano de fundo
The NSK site in Peterlee has 300 employees, predominately male in their mid-forties and the majority of NSK staff have over 20 years’ service. NSK also have a partnership with GEM Premium People who employ 140 agency associates. NSK and GEM Premium People are always seeking to keep staff turnover as low as possible and Personal Group’s offer was a good way to help staff retention.
NSK’s driving force behind the benefits programme was to put some money back in their people’s pockets. The programme has been welcomed by all and participation continues to rise as people realise the savings that can be made through the benefits.
“We have a paternalistic approach within NSK,” said Steve. “We are open to ideas and we have a good track record in looking after our people, which I hope will improve even further now that we have this great benefits package in place.”
When it came to choosing a suitable programme NSK discussed the options with Personal Group, and used Personal Group’s vast experience to tailor a package to NSK’s needs. Steve continued: “When I did my research and looked at the market, what Personal Group was offering seemed like a good deal. The culture at Personal Group works for me and I’ve found them good to deal with at all levels. We have a dedicated account manager who looks after our programme and who is an advocate of employee benefits and very proactive. I’ve also found others that I’ve dealt with at Personal Group equally helpful and enthusiastic.
“Although we had a solid start with 50% participation we would like to see the programme have more usage. Through regular marketing from Personal Group we will continue to educate our people to factor in the potential savings by charging up reloadable cards and ordering vouchers before they go shopping. It is an on-going process and the upcoming re-launch will help address this.
“We have a predominantly male workforce so shopping probably isn’t their thing but it will provide savings for their family. We need to make sure they take the message home. We will keep promoting it and make sure our people understand they get more bang for their buck by using their benefits.”
Due to the nature of the business most of NSK’s communication process has been offline as most of their people tend to work on the shop floor. The benefits programme is now approaching its first re-launch and to communicate that a newsletter is going out, and Steve is hoping the freshly designed web site, with specific promotions, will encourage greater usage.
“My aim is for 80% participation. Getting our people to realise just how much they can save by using their benefits is key. They need to remember to load their cards before they shop and to look at the portal on a regular basis to see what new offers are available.”
Thanks to the success of the programme in Peterlee, NSK Bearings are rolling out the benefits programme to their people at their Newark site.