Case study: Vanco
In April 2003, virtual network operator Vanco simultaneously introduced its flexible benefits package, V:choice, across eight countries – the UK, Germany, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Singapore, the US and Australia. In 2004, this was extended to cover Belgium, France and the Czech Republic,followed by Sweden, Switzerland and Poland at the end of 2005.
Steve Mansfield, group HR manager, says it wanted to provide a branded solution that employees in all countries would recognise and understand if they moved between locations. However, he acknowledges it is not possible to provide exactly the same benefits in all countries. “You set off with goals to provide fairly standard benefits but you have to be flexible bearing in mind all the different variables you can encounter in each country. If you look at things like income protection schemes, it may not necessarily be available in different countries, or it may be difficult to obtain if you don’t have a reasonable-sized workforce in a particular territory.”
He added it was vital that the global flex scheme had high-level support in the organisation. “It wasn’t something that was introduced at a middle management level and sold upwards and downwards. It literally came from the top, which assisted the process greatly.”