Flex helps freelance IT workers go full-time

IT motoring consultancy Gedas has introduced a flexible benefits scheme to help encourage its contract staff to become permanent.

The company, which is part of the Volkswagen group, launched the plan in July, moving away from its previous motoring-based benefits package.

Barry Hoffman, head of corporate resourcing at Gedas, said that a large proportion of workers in the IT industry worked on a freelance basis. "[Many] considered our benefits package a barrier to entry to becoming permanent. Independent contractors had their own personal pensions and perhaps their own car. They can now join us as a permanent member of staff and can opt out of the benefits that they’ve already made arrangements for."

Gedas previously offered staff two cars, free fuel, a range of other car-related perks as well as a number of insurance benefits.

Now employees can choose from an extensive list of benefits including holiday trading, health screening, childcare vouchers, discounts at a range of high street stores, as well as trading up and down cars, using a pot of cash provided by the firm.

"We have a lot of young staff that were less interested in sick pay and medical insurance, things that you would associate with people a little bit older with families. The benefits we were providing were attracting a profile of employee that wasn’t really relevant to our industry or the way we wanted to run our business," added Hoffman.

The flexible benefits scheme, run by benefits provider 4th Contact, went live in June. During the selection process, Gedas’ 300 workers logged onto the online system over 5,000 times. They received the perks in July.

The firm plans to add more perks to the scheme over the coming months. From September it will allow staff to choose a PC through a home computing scheme, which it currently offers outside of the flex scheme, and it is also looking at including travel insurance and financial advice.

Other elements of Gedas’ corporate culture shift included introducing a performance-related bonus and a shake-up in its appraisal system.