Comet chose three suppliers to submit proposals for comparison. Comet wanted its cash plan to provide a high-quality, high-value core benefit “paid for” by Comet for 7,500 junior employees.
It also sought options for staff to contribute to and extend cover at their own expense and a benefit that worked with Comet’s own health and safety team to provide fast treatment and aid the long-term sick in their return to work. The budget was also an influential factor and Comet was keen that the benefits were more than a “bolt on” to an employment package, but would make a significant difference to the business and, in turn, the bottom line.
Comet eventually opted for Health Shield. The provider used its own real-time tailored scheme software to enable Comet to explore different options through adding/removing benefits and increasing/decreasing cover levels.
Health Shield was able to brand the plans specifically for Comet and the scheme was named the “Comet Health Plan”, with the Comet logo incorporated into the membership plan.
According to Comet, levelling up the benefits – alongside restructuring the retailer’s occupational health and other private medical provision – has enabled it to free up budget to expand its health and wellbeing provision to employees previously uninsured.
Comet’s absence rate is now 2.6%, which is considered low for the retail industry. A year ago this was 3.1%. Labour turnover is currently at 25.3%, compared to 35.2% 12 months ago.
Additionally, Comet’s engagement survey, undertaken annually, found satisfaction with benefits has improved by 9% compared with the previous year. Many workers added positive statements in the free-text box, particularly citing the introduction of the health plan.
Claire Williams, Comet’s group reward manager, says: “Our aim was to provide a consistent health and wellbeing strategy across our entire UK workforce.
“Transformed, our health plan, has become a tangible and relevant benefit for staff, enabling them to proactively manage their own, and their families’, wellbeing. Within retail and during a global recession this is a particularly astonishing achievement, but it is proof that positive change for staff can happen during harsh economic times.”