Ing Direct considers flex

ING Direct is considering launching flexible benefits in a bid to increase retention levels of call centre staff in the highly competitive retail banking industry.

The company already has a voluntary benefits scheme but is looking to add to this. Lorna Benton, compensation and benefits manager for ING Direct, said: "Voluntary benefits have been a big step for us. I think flexible benefits is something we’re very interested in next."

To reward their top call centre performers, the bank is also launching a recognition programme this month called Pure Orange.

Benton said a broad range of benefits encourages recruits to work in its call centres, because it’s crucial for ING Direct to differentiate its employment offer from that of rivals: "Everybody has difficulty recruiting, [as] it’s very, very competitive. We need to make sure what we’re providing is the right working environment; it’s absolutely critical for us. For a company that’s as new as we are, we have a very broad range of benefits. We have an internet cafÈ and we offer a chill out zone for when people are not on the phones."

Earlier this year ING Direct introduced home computing and childcare voucher schemes, but it has received a disappointing response with less than 5% of staff signing on for the benefits.

Benton said: "The aim for next year is how we [boost] take-up. [I’ll be] looking at how we communicate [the benefits], to get maximum value [from them]."