Utilities company Avove needed help to replicate the previous company’s employee benefits and set up a new voluntary platform that would be ready to go on ‘day one’.

Fast facts

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Infrastructure services and engineering company that designs, maintains, and transforms UK utilities.

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Formed in 2022 from the sale of the utilities division of the infrastructure services company.

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750 employees – carved out from a workforce of 15,000

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Established as an independent business to help leverage opportunities and develop a strategic proposition based on growth.

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Supports clients in a range of sectors including water, wastewater, telecoms, and vegetation management.

The challenge

Losing access to an in-house employee benefits team meant the new company needed support to identify the risks and opportunities, represent their interests, provide technical support and fill knowledge gaps. The main goals were to replicate all core and voluntary benefits have them in place on the day of transfer and communicated to all staff. They also needed to understand the costs of insuring the smaller cohort and avoid any negative impact on the deal outcome.

“You provided the right level of technical support, and delivery meant it wasn’t over complicated but enabled good decisions to be made – delivered with minimum impact on the human resources team.”

Becky Kimber, People Director, Avove Ltd

How we helped

We held regular conversations with the human resources team to help them manage key issues that would have affected the deal. These included advising on: long-term absentee management and resolution; benefit specifications and structure; risk identification and resolution; ensuring all benefits were cost effectively placed in the market ready for transfer day; trust set-up for the life assurance scheme.

We also helped them with selecting a benefits platform, member communications, and improving human resources’ understanding around shifting employee benefits.

The results

Having a partner to do the heavy lifting on benefit replication helped keep the separation project on track, and enabled Avove to meet its legal and contractual obligations on time.

Achieving sufficient membership to replicate the income protection scheme added challenge but a cost-effective solution ultimately meant the new company was able to widen the scope of the benefits provided.

Finally, identification of salary sacrifice NIC savings not accounted for within original planning saved up to £250,000 in the HR budget.

"The employee benefits team engaged very quickly with the right stakeholders and 'just got on' with delivering the support that was needed. Having the team involved strengthened our relationship with the client and was another area where we could help address concerns.”

Matt Woodgate, Head of Operational Deal Services and separation plan main project lead

About our team

Our employee benefits team helps you optimise your benefit spend by ensuring the structure enhances your reputation as an employer of choice, rewards your employees efficiently, and boosts member engagement. Employers spend considerable funds on pension schemes and benefits, so maximising returns in the competition for talent is an essential element for all businesses.

Ben Rowntree

Ben Rowntree