Stratus Technologies is a leading provider of availability solutions. Stratus Technologies Systems UK employs 18 staff, and offers a complex pension scheme and a generous Private Medical Insurance plan which is available to everyone and their families. It has used Portus Consulting to manage all its benefits for the past six years.
Stratus had previously been serviced by the large brokering firms, but Lindsay Baker, HR Manager for EMEA, felt they did not understand what it was like working in a smaller company. Stratus decided to move to a broker that was used to dealing with companies of their size.
After contacting Portus Consulting, taking up references and having them come in to present, Baker signed them up to work with Stratus.
Portus took over all Stratus' benefits as well as its pension scheme. 'We have a bit of a peculiar pension scheme in the way that it's structured,' explained Baker, 'so Portus spent a long time working with me on that. They came in and gave a presentation to the employees.'
With Portus, Stratus also introduced salary sacrifice, changed pension provider, and introduced a practice of an annual visit from a pension consultant to have one-to-ones with any staff who needed them.
Of the one-to-ones, Baker said: 'None of the other brokers have done this for us, but it is fairly commonplace. Our employees really valued that and it has increased people's interest in the pension scheme, because previously nobody paid much attention to it.'
Each year Portus does a market review of the benefits Stratus offers. 'Ruth Empson-Ridge comes in, spends time with me going through their findings, and invariably we go with their recommendation.'
Initially every staff member took up the on-to-one option, although Stratus has since found that uptake varies each year depending on people's circumstances. Baker explains that while this type of advice is just as important when you are young, being older does focus people on their pension. 'Sadly, we are an ageing group here.
'What I really like about Portus,' said Baker, 'is that they're great people, easy to work with and responsive. They are clearly used to dealing with companies of our size, and they talk to you in language that you can understand. I do feel like we get value for money.'
Stratus is due to auto-enrol in 2016 and will be working closely with Portus on how that is rolled out.