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Name: Belinda Lewis
Title: Head of HR
Organisation: Assura
Industry: Real Estate

Assura is an FTSE 250-listed real estate investment trust. As a leader in the health care real estate industry, it designs, builds and invests in and manages GP surgery, primary care and community healthcare buildings.

Belinda Lewis, Assura’s Head of HR, needed accurate benefits benchmarking data to ensure their benefits were competitive and improved employee sentiments about their benefits package.

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The challenge

Communicating the true value of Assura’s benefits package

Assura is a large real estate company specialising in the healthcare sector. Its head of HR, Belinda Lewis, was worried that employees didn’t value the company’s benefits package.

“I know from working in retail that Assura is a generous employer. But when I asked employees what they thought of the benefits package, they were quite negative or ill-informed. They didn’t rate what we did,” explained Belinda.

Belinda knew from previous experience that simply stating that the package was generous wasn’t going to resonate with employees. She was looking for a benchmarking resource that would enable her to communicate to employees how valuable the company benefits were, from the number of volunteering days available to the car allowance.

Belinda had done benchmarking in other roles, predominantly around salary and benefits. She found that other tools didn’t provide benchmarking data specific to the real estate industry. They were also expensive. Belinda was reluctant to spend potentially thousands of pounds on benchmarking only to find that she would have to rely, at least in part, on anecdotal information.

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The results

With the HR & Compliance Centre, Belinda was able to drill down on specific benefits questions and nuances and review benefits year to year. She was also able to leverage the benefits benchmarking information to enhance her benefits communicaiton strategy.

“I loved that the HR & Compliance Centre has data for such a wide spread of organisations and sectors—and for benefits, not just salary and bonus. We’re in three professional service sectors, so the data was great for us,” says Belinda.

The data confirmed that Assura’s benefits are generous. The only area it had to work on was around its family friendly policies, including its parental leave and adoption policies.

Belinda also ran an employee opinion survey so she could address employees’ specific concerns. For example, Assura gives 25 days of holiday. However, it shuts down at Christmas, which provides three or four extra paid days off each year. Employees did not count these days in the total number of paid days off they had.

Meanwhile, other companies were advertising that they offered a higher holiday allowance than Assura, but they included the Christmas holiday in this total.

The HR & Compliance Centre benchmarking resources allowed Belinda to show employees what other organisations are actually providing and how Assura compared. “People were leaving for other companies because they thought the holiday allowance was better when it was actually the same,” explains Belinda.

Belinda now has a suite of one-page information sheets. They tell employees what benefits they can access, including everything from financial awareness workshops to counselling sessions. They have also launched an employee magazine, and the benchmarking work was a springboard to articles about the available benefits.

It’s best to use the benchmarking resource every two years to see where you are in the marketplace. “Trawling through data is not at the top of my wish list,” says Belinda, “but the HR & Compliance Centre makes it a lot easier. You drop down through benchmarking and there is information on pretty much any subject you can think of.

“I definitely recommend this product. The HR & Compliance Centre benchmarking services offer exceptional value for the money.”


Belinda Lewis
Head of HR

“I loved that the HR & Compliance Centre has data for such a wide spread of organisations and sectors—and for benefits, not just salary and bonus.”

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