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Being “open to experimentation” key to effective employee benefits strategy says Best Companies No.1 UK Accountancy firm to work for

by Wanda Rich
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Business advisory and accountancy firm, Cooper Parry, implement a new platform to stay ahead of employee benefits game

For the past four years, Cooper Parry has been named by the Sunday Times as a top 25 company to work for, most recently ranking 22nd. April Bembridge, Partner and Chief People Officer at the business advisory and accounting firm says that this is down to constantly offering something new that can’t be found elsewhere and keeping employees’ genuine wants at the heart of the benefits strategy.

With Covid making the firm’s previously unusual flexible working and unlimited holiday policies standard, the HR team saw a need to level up and have partnered with employee engagement platform and workplace wellness expert, Wrkit, to do so.

April Bembridge said: “We believe that employee benefits should be truly beneficial to our staff and the Wrkit platform is just that. It gives employees complete ownership and control over how they engage with our offering as it is flexible and can be used at whatever time suits the person using it.

“This has certainly been a success, with 70% of employees registered and engaging with the Wrkit platform. The lifestyle savings module has proved hugely popular, with more than 4,400 page views in the first year and almost half of employees (48%) accessed the POWR Wellbeing module in the same period.”

Wrkit’s platform offers a holistic benefits strategy to businesses and employees, with learning, wellness, recognition and lifestyle savings options that combine in a platform that supports employees both in and out of work. In addition, the platform allows the HR team to analyse data on how it is being used by employees and gain an overall insight into employee wellness within the firm.

April continued: “Something that sets Cooper Parry apart from other businesses in terms of employee satisfaction is that we are always looking for the next thing and will never rest on our laurels.

“We are open to experimentation and trial, regularly encouraging employees to tell us what they want. Everyone in the firm is given the opportunity to input and we will listen and trial every reasonable idea brought to us. Even if it doesn’t work, we have learnt a lesson by trying.

“A “keep learning” mentality is central to our company values, and this is supported by the learning modules offered by Wrkit. If you want to learn anything, from cooking, to improving wellbeing, to coding, chances are you can search it on the platform and find a course, which is just fantastic.”

In addition to giving employees a unique benefits offering, partnering with Wrkit has allowed Cooper Parry to make their offering more inclusive. Previously, partners at the firm, who equate to about 10% of the 400-strong workforce, were unable to access benefits but this has now changed and improved their integration with other employees.

April continued: “Conversations about benefits and which elements people are using and enjoying are now frequent between colleagues. We have never been the kind of company in which partners sit alone on a different floor, but now that they can be included in these conversations the gap between them and the junior new starter is narrowing. This united atmosphere is exactly what we want for our firm.

Jason Brennan, Director of Leadership and Wellness at Wrkit, said: “Cooper Parry is an exemplar company and an outstanding example of an HR department that really wants to find out staff’s needs and give them the best employee experience possible. The constant focus on giving employees the tools to take ownership of their own wellbeing is excellent and we look forward to continuing to support this.”