Case study: Gedas UK

About the organisation

Part of the Volkswagen Group, Gedas UK is an IT service provider for the automotive industry. It offers advice, planning and support for customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP) and supply chain management (SCM) systems. The company has 5,200 employees worldwide.

The challenge

Gedas aims to attract and retain the best IT talent and one of its specific challenges is to convert IT contractors to employed status. In the past year the HR team has introduced initiatives including a flexible and remote working policy and a programme of e-learning. It also decided to offer employees a flexible benefits package more suited to attracting IT workers.

System supplier

Gedas chose flexible benefits and reward technology providers 4th Contact. The company provides both benefit options and a web-based administration delivery system that runs the scheme.

The approach

Gedas wanted to revamp the benefits programme to suit employees ranging from IT staff and web developers to those working in support functions such as finance and purchasing. It also had to address the communication issues, explains Barry Hoffman, head of HR at Gedas UK. “We found that employees didn’t understand their whole salary package,” he says. “Employees appreciate that they earn say, 30,000 in salary, yet they earn nearly half as much again in benefits.”

The solution

Gedas implemented an online benefits delivery system in August 2004 to communicate to staff their benefits package and in June 2005 it launched the online flexible benefits programme to all UK employees. Benefits include childcare, dental insurance, cars, holiday, critical illness cover, a discounted shopping website and health screening.

The bottom line

The site received 910 log-ins during launch month, with 85% of employees making their flexible benefits choices. The most popular benefit was private medical insurance with 81% take-up. Additionally, out of 20 contractors working with Gedas, the flexible programme has encouraged five people to convert to full employment.

Data mine on corporate governance

Governance – a monthly newsletter available in printed and online formats. Find out about subscriptions and download the online version here. Non-subscribers can purchase limited access to the article library.

Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales – click on the UK Corporate Governance Codes & Reports link and you can download or link to key codes and reports. The section includes the full text of the Combined Code of Corporate Governance 2003, along with a list of related articles.

International Corporate Governance Network – keep up-to-date with the international scene with the online arm of the international body that aims to raise corporate governance standards throughout the world, and find out more about corporate governance issues in the US.

World Council for Corporate Governance – the council is an independent, not-for-profit network which aims to galvanise good governance practices worldwide. Read its objectives and vision here and find out how you can get involved and share best practices.

Who’s installing what?

Further education establishment Leicester College is going live with its HR and payroll Workforce system from Intellect Business Consultants. The college is kicking off with the HR Manager module and will activate Recruitment Manager and Training Manager by December 2005.

Business advisory firm Deloitte has replaced its paper-based psychometric test with online verbal and numerical reasoning tests from assessment specialists PSL. Deloitte appoints around 1,200 graduates and undergraduates per year from more than 10,000 applicants. Deloitte will use the 70-minute test to sift applicants after an initial pre-selection stage.

International law firm Ashurst has completed the training of its global network of staff to Office XP. It used OnDemand’s
e-learning content development tool Personal Navigator.

Focus on writing for online recruitment

Writing for the online medium is a totally different art to writing for print.

Keep it brief – it is much harder to read on screen than paper, and experts say you should cut the number of words by 50% compared to print.

Key words – web usability expert Jakob Nielsen talks about writing for ‘scanability’, which emphasises the importance of including key words and phrases.

Access points – crossheadings and bullet points are a good idea as they draw the eye into different parts of the ad.

Mind your language – use plain English and avoid long sentences which can introduce ambiguity. Be consistent in tone and style across the entire recruitment campaign.

Link up – but sparingly – make use of a link to give additional information to keep your word count down. In job ads, this may mean linking to a corporate careers site. But don’t overdo it.

Enhance Media is holding a half-day workshop in central London on 15 November – go to for full details. For more information on writing for the online medium, see Jakob Nielsen’s site at

Product of the month –  Opportunity Links Estimator

What is it?

A web-based tool that helps employers provide working parents with the information they need to make informed choices about employer-supported childcare. Users input details such as hours worked and current childcare and it estimates the most financially beneficial option for each individual.

What will it let me do?

Working out the best childcare options means navigating the complex tax and National Insurance (NI) system – Estimator does this for you.
It also helps to ensure employers reap the benefits of their range of childcare options, such as NI savings for the organisation, as well as communicating a family-friendly image to the workforce.

How much does it cost?

Estimator is based on an annual fee depending on the size of the business and starts at £75 plus VAT for voluntary, charity and public sector companies with fewer than 50 employees.

For more information and to order this product, go to

Top resource – National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF)

This is a good port of call for information and advice. You’ll find information on all types of schemes including defined benefit, defined contribution and group personal pensions. There are papers to download, a news section keeps you up-to-date and the Q&A section features some useful statistics.

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