Flexible Benefits Senate news: Consumer-led society drives flex

A consumer-led society is driving organisations towards implementing flexible benefits, said Peter Reilly, director, HR consultancy at the Institute for Employment Studies, in the opening session of Employee Benefits’ Flexible Benefits Senate 2007.

Speaking in the session, Defining your strategy and maximising return on investment for flexible benefits, he said: “There is no doubt that one significant driver is the consumer society that we live in, people want to choose from benefits that suit their needs.”

According to Reilly, many firms have in the past steered clear of flex because of the perceived cost and administrative burden of running a scheme, but developments in technology are now alleviating both these issues.

“There are a number of concerns for employers considering a flex move, and one real concern is cost. But technology is helping to ease the cost involved in flex,” he explained.

Also speaking at the session was Anne-Marie Falcus, UK benefits leader at IBM, who explained that the quality and wide choice of benefits offered through the flex scheme at IBM has helped to engage and empower employees.

“Flex empowers staff. It sends a message to employees around benefits. It gets them talking about benefits and allows them to make informed decisions around benefits,” she said.