.NET benefits

first_img Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. .NET benefitsOn 24 Sep 2002 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Microsoft’s Steve Harvey explains how the company is hoping for success withits .Net solutionSteve Harvey, director of people, profit and culture at Microsoft UK, is inan excellent position to envisage the full potential of a flexible benefitssolution. He can see it contributing strongly to his strategic goal of makingMicrosoft the ’employer of choice within the UK IT sector’. Even in the currentdownturn, Harvey believes there are not enough skilled people in IT, and thatMicrosoft needs to engage and motivate each employee as an individual tocompete. “We can’t offer a ‘vanilla’ (uniform) package – we want to be respectedas one of the most family-friendly companies in the UK, I want employees tothink ‘why would I work anywhere else?’” he explains. Equally, given his responsibilities as director of finance, he sees the‘harder’, financial possibilities – focusing the finance function on thinkingabout the investments in benefits already in place for employees, andespecially the ones that do and don’t add value in the eyes of the recipients. There are major changes in the IT industry to which employers need to adapt.Harvey points to the average age of Microsoft employees now being 34, for one:”Our employees have different views on benefits to younger people,”he says. “They are more serious about pension provision and work-lifebalance.” As part of the company’s introduction of flexible benefits, aday nursery is being built on the Microsoft Campus outside Reading, the firstin the whole of Microsoft. So, what has stopped Microsoft introducing a flexible benefits scheme untilnow? The answer, surprisingly, lies in the technology available. As Harveyexplains: “At Microsoft we don’t like systems that need large overheadsand administration. We prefer to wait for technology to catch up.” Thedevelopment of Microsoft’s .NET platform was therefore a catalyst forintroducing the scheme, allowing a flexible system to operate via the internet.Now, Microsoft is well on the road to introducing its flexible benefitssolution, working with Hewitt Bacon and Woodrow and RebusHR. The companyresearched other schemes that had been implemented, before starting itsprocess. One factor that stood out as key to success for Harvey wascommunication. An employee’s first response to a flexible benefits scheme can bescepticism. “They can be cynical, and past experience has found that eachtime you touch an employees finances, you expose a raw nerve,” Harveysays. He suggests Microsoft has an in-built advantage. “For most of thesales, marketing and consulting roles, using a .NET solution will bring to lifethe technology they are selling.” Equally, experience from other companies also reinforced the importance ofsetting up the system properly. “The decisions you make in the first yearare very difficult to unmake,” he explains, and expects the most popularbenefits will prove to be enhanced pensions, longer holidays and upgradedcompany cars, as well as people buying greater levels of medical and dentalcover. Through using .NET, the company wants to try and involve employees’ familiesin the process. Harvey sees them as key to helping retention. “We wantpeople at home to get involved and, indeed, to help make it difficult foremployees to leave.” All employees are being set up with ADSL lines,wireless networking and internet access at home, so .NET technology andRebusHR’s flexible benefits application can be used to model possible benefitsat the kitchen table. Among the other plusses of the .NET solution, once up and running, will begreater transparency for Microsoft’s HR team as well as for benefit providers,all of whom will have real time information on employee choices. The .NETtechnology will allow later extension of the system to enable a number ofproviders to compete for the benefit choices of employees. Harvey expects to see the positive impact of the scheme within the nextcalendar year. The scheme was announced at the company’s last employeeconference, and full details of the scheme will be communicated to employeeslater this year. But what impact does the company expect? Harvey says it has already surveyedemployee attitudes to benefits, and this will also provide a benchmark to seehow the scheme is received. He will be looking, in particular, to see theimpact on attracting new people as well as retaining people through lifechanges, such as increasing the number of new parents that return to work. Theacid test, he says, will be “Does it [flexible benefits] help people tostay?” last_img read more

Can Leicester win the Premier League? ‘It’s possible’, claims Louis van Gaal

first_imgManchester United manager Louis van Gaal believes Leicester City are serious contenders for the Premier League title this season.The Foxes are riding high at the top of the table after a flying start to the season under new manager Claudio Ranieri.Leicester have lost only once in their opening 13 games and, largely thanks to Premier League top scorer Jamie Vardy [13], they have scored more goals than any other team in the top flight – 28.The leaders are one point ahead of second-placed United ahead of the meeting between the two sides at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.And while there are few who expect the side to remain there for the rest of the campaign, Van Gaal believes there is a chance the underdogs could lift the trophy.“It is possible, I think,” the United manager said when asked if Ranieri’s high-flying team could win the league.“Normally these kind of clubs can be a long time competing, but normally at the end it’s more difficult.“But in England because of the quality of the teams, because every team has the money to buy players – and they have bought players – the difference in the Premier League between the clubs in level is not so high.”United must stop free-scoring Vardy if they are to move ahead of their opponents and top the table this weekend. The Red Devils are well aware of what the 28-year-old is capable of, having had a hand in all five of Leicester’s goals in the victorious eight-goal thriller at the King Power Stadium last season.Vardy was playing non-league football three-and-a-half years ago, but he is now the top marksman in the country and the former Fleetwood Town player last week equalled Ruud van Nistelrooy’s Premier League record of scoring in ten consecutive matches.Van Gaal described Vardy as a “nasty” and “great” player whom he also likened to Dennis Bergkamp.“He was already last season a very nasty player for us,” the Dutchman added.“He scored, won a penalty, and now he is scoring ten games in a row, then you are a great player.“I only know for example Dennis Bergkamp as a player who did the same with Ajax. It’s not so easy to do that.”When asked whether he would consider signing Vardy, Van Gaal gave a terse reply, saying: “That is not your business, I think.” Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri 1last_img read more