Freshfields to stage three-week benefits showcase

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is to host a targeted series of events for its workforce focusing on its employee benefits programme in a bid to freshen its benefits scheme and keep staff engaged.

The firm has offered flexible benefits for four years, but is changing its approach this year by holding three separate week-long events specific to lifestyle, health and finance.

Jackie Palmer, senior manager for compensation and benefits at the magic circle firm, said: “We have three benefits themes: lifestyle benefits, health benefits and financial security benefits. We have always run general roadshows during our enrolment window.

“This year, for the first time, we will have three separate weeks, so the first week will be focused on lifestyle, the second on health and the third on finances.”

The lifestyle week will include a seminar run by Xexec, which provides the firm’s employee discounts programme, and information for staff about its childcare voucher scheme.

The health week will include a biometrics kiosk, bikes to promote the bikes-for-work scheme and additional classes run by Nuffield Health, which manages the law firm’s on-site gym.

The finance week will include one-to-one sessions on pensions with adviser Hargreaves Lansdown and one-to-one sessions on mortgages with advisers Charles Cameron and Associates. It will also offer lunchtime seminars, including an investment seminar that has drawn large numbers in previous years.

The move comes amid the introduction of auto-enrolment, which requires all employers to enrol their staff in a workplace pension scheme. This came into force on 1 October this year for the largest companies, with the introduction date – known as the ‘staging date’ – set for various point in time up until 2018 depending on factors including the size of the organisation.

Freshfields’ staging date is September 2013.

Palmer added: “We offer pensions one-to-ones already, but we need further investment in that service throughout 2013 to get people ready for auto-enrolment.”

The firm is aiming to get employees thinking about auto-enrolment during the January enrolment period, but plans to communicate the changes fully during its June 2013 enrolment.

Freshfields will start to communicate the flexible benefits enrolment period in December.

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