Case study: Adecco
Katie Ivie, head of HR business partnering for recruitment company Adecco,believes a strong relationship with providers is crucial to eliminating unintended costs of flexible benefits schemes.
The firm, which introduced a flexible benefits package in June 2004 for its 3,500 staff in the UK, used the increased headcount made through acquisition to broker better rates with benefit providers. “You can get it right in the first place if you pick the right provider and consultants, and be clear on your budget. We were very aware up front of the cost of technology and the consultancy [fees] they charged,” says Ivie.
She adds that employers should also be aware of the implications for scheme administration. “In the beginning and during each flex election there is [increased administration]. We went from three or four benefits to around 15 and these need to be managed on a monthly basis.
Flex is always received extremely positively by the business so the results make any additional administration worthwhile.” Ivie points out that tax rules can add further ramifications. For example, NI breaks available on salary sacrifice pension arrangements mean that if employers allow employees to flex this entitlement in favour of alternative benefits, the employer may pay more NI.