Helping our employees with housing

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9 months ago by Jessica Brown

Helping our employees with housing

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With some areas of London seeing a house price increase of 753% in just 20 years, itís not surprising that purchasing a home is one of the biggest barriers for jobseekers, looking to relocate to the capital. Which is just one of the reasons, in 2012, we took a big leap and introduced our Mortgage Fund for all employees.

Questioning how we could help our employees, we found companies offering guarantees for employees with less than ideal credit, or offering loans for new house owners, but it raised the question, could we do more?

In 2017, publishing group, Hachette partnered with The Book Trade Charity on a scheme which would allow some of its trainees to rent in North London way below market rates. They joined Penguin Random House, who offer their work experience candidates heavily subsidized accommodation, in order to compensate for lower-income applicants.

However there was the worry that these rental policies, whilst generous, offer a short-term solution to a long-term problem. Simon Collins, UK Chairman of KPMG, who negotiate preferential mortgage rates for their employees, summed this up perfectly, writing, "owning a home is fast-becoming a fairytale for all but society's wealthiest. We are working hard to raise the issue with policy makers and clients but we also want to make a tangible difference to our staff who face this problem."

Collins, within his comments raised the idea that we should be looking to create future change, not just present. Coming to this conclusion after their joint report with Shelter found that of all 20-24 year olds could be living with their parents by 2040, due to rising housing costs and a shortage of affordable homes.

Over the last few years, Propellernet, a Digital Marketing Agency based in Brighton, have made helping their employees onto the property ladder part of their business plan. Fitting their ethos of making employees dreams come true, they managed to turn one man's dream of developing property into 3 very real flats.

Recognising that the competitive Brighton housing market was making life difficult for their employees, "they were able to offer these flats for purchase, meaning ìthey wouldn't have to battle it out with the rest of the world and could also choose how the place was decorated and fitted out."

This investment, which also offered a better return on cashflow than the company was currently getting, made a tangible difference to their employee's happiness, but donít just take it from us.

Ever since I was a child I've always dreamed of designing my own home, but after saving every penny we could pinch, even a rundown property that we could make our own was still way out of reach. Then this incredible opportunity came along, and as it was a project for Propellernet too, it meant we could get involved and make it into the home we've always wanted. We absolutely love what we have created, and wouldn't have been able to do it alone. I'm so fortunate to have found Propellernet and be part something so special. It has truly made my life better - Hannah, PR Director, Propellernet

Whilst Propellernet chose to target the affordable homes problem, by creating homes, we've been hitting out at housing costs.

With our CEO, Guy Hayward, writing, "the days of the basic salary and bonus are long gone. In our industry, retention can be difficult so you have to offer more by looking at the modern day challenges employees face." They include buying a house. Goodman Masson offer a way to not only save for a new home but earn for a new home.

Available for every member of staff in the company, each month 43 employees deposit part of their salary and/or bonus into the scheme, and after 3 years GM top the bonus part up by 33% and the salary part by 50%.

So far the scheme has seen several employees get on the housing market, and has relieved the stress of saving from others. One of the most popular elements of our flexible benefits scheme, the mortgage scheme is integral to the way we work.

We pride ourselves on the service we offer to clients and candidates, however we know that we can't do that when our employees are worrying about their finances. We want to provide them with the tools they need to be the best person they can be, physically healthy, mentally happy, and financially secure.

As companies like Propellernet show, when you can relieve those three major worries, you create a really great culture to work in and one that everyone wants to be part of.

What Goodman Masson are really good at is helping you with the bigger challenges in life, and what bigger challenge than buying a house in London? Since joining two and half years ago, I have saved way beyond whatever I was able to by my own means, and on top of that itís amazing to know I'll get a big addition to this courtesy of GM when I actually buy. For me personally, the hardest part of saving is sticking to your goals. GM make it easy by deducting that before you're even paid and taking away the temptation and actually rewarding you for it! - Chris Parker, Senior Consultant, Goodman Masson