siemens by stariya



Siemens saves £900,000 while boosting workplace skills through its Home
Computing Initiative

―The demand far outstripped our expectations in the first round of the scheme. We
expected 1,000 applications, but we got nearly 4,000  a 38% take-up from eligible
employees at that time.‖
Ben Debnath, Head of Policies and Processes, Siemens

Siemens is one of the world‘s largest communications, electronics and electrical
engineering companies.

Business situation
Siemens wanted to enhance the benefits package it offers to employees while
increasing computing skills within the organisation.

Employer-provided Home Computing Initiatives (HCI) enable companies to loan
computers to their employees as a tax-free benefit. In many cases, companies
implement salary sacrifice arrangements where employees accept a reduction in
gross salary in return for this benefit.

 Increases IT literacy
 Enhances employee benefit packages
 Attracts and retains staff
 Potentially reduces training costs
 Provides high-value desktop computers and laptops for employees

Deployment partner
 Fujitsu Siemens Computers
 Partner url:

Taking advantage of the Government‘s tax exemption on loaned computers,
Siemens is loaning computers to its employees for use at home at highly favourable
rates. Following the scheme‘s third round, more than 50% of all eligible employees
are now participating. The scheme has helped increase IT literacy and overall
workplace skills, strengthened the employeremployee relationship, and will reduce
Siemens‘ National Insurance Contributions by £900,000 during the lifetime of the
three programmes that it has run to date.

Companies of all sizes are placing an ever-increasing emphasis on employee skills
and productivity as a whole. As a result, human resources departments are growing
in importance and organisations are adopting a more personal approach to
employee recruitment, development and retention.

To help businesses of all sizes to achieve these goals, the Government has
developed a tax-friendly framework that enables employers to loan computing
equipment to employees for their use at home. HCI schemes enable companies to
loan computers to their employees for use at home as a tax-free benefit.

Communications, electronics and engineering company Siemens was an early
adopter of an HCI scheme. It has always placed a high value on IT literacy and
since 2001 it has been examining means to provide all employees with access to
the internet.

There were a number of reasons for Siemens‘ enthusiasm for an HCI scheme. First,
it wanted to improve the IT skills of as many employees as possible. Ben Debnath,
Head of Policies and Processes at Siemens, says: ―Our global Chief Executive
Officer, Heinrich von Pierer, has made it an objective of the organisation that all
employees should have the opportunity to extend their IT skills and their overall
professional potential.‖

Siemens also wanted to enhance the benefits package that it could offer staff. ―Our
aim is to be an employer of choice,‖ says Debnath. ―We want to make it crystal
clear to our employees that by working for Siemens they get more than just the
salary that they take home.‖

For all these reasons, the company is always on the lookout for ways of making
computers more widely available to employees, setting strict pre-conditions for any

   It must be something employees cannot get elsewhere.
   It must add value and be worth the time, resources and effort to implement.
   It must be sponsored and delivered by reputable organisations.
   Any package must include full IT support for employees.

―It soon became clear that an HCI scheme would meet all these criteria,‖ says
Debnath. ―The next step was to pull together a project team with all the necessary
knowledge to implement it successfully. This required getting the right people on
board from human resources, finance and IT.‖

For internal marketing purposes, Siemens named its scheme ‗Let‘s Connect‘, when
it was first rolled out in October 2000. It selected computer manufacturer Fujitsu
Siemens Computers to deliver the scheme. Siemens‘ business groups were given
the choice whether or not to participate.

Fujitsu Siemens Computers also played a substantial role in the marketing of the
scheme. It wrote to every eligible employee in the business groups that signed up,
sending out a brochure that provided all the details of the scheme as well as the
specifications of the three desktop computers and two laptops available.

Says Debnath: ―It‘s essential that you communicate the scheme clearly to
employees. There is much more to this than simply loaning computers at
favourable rates to staff. They want to know the exact details of the scheme and
the implications for their salary and other benefits, for example.‖

In return for the loan of computing equipment, eligible Siemens employees accept a
reduction to their gross salary over three years. The computer they receive is
internet-ready, and delivered with full technical support and a hardware warranty
that covers the entire loan period.

Siemens promotes the scheme every year. Just over 9,000 employees were eligible
from business groups that signed up when it was first introduced in 2000. The
company was astonished by its popularity. ―The demand far outstripped our
expectations in the first round of the scheme,‖ says Debnath. ―We expected 1,000
applications, but got nearly 4,000 — a 38% take-up from eligible employees at that

The offer means that Siemens‘ employees enjoy the use of a home computer
loaned at favourable rates. According to Debnath, employees can save between
approximately 30% and 50% according to their salary.

By the second year, Siemens had further refined the process. Strong word of mouth
had encouraged further business groups to participate and another 25% of eligible
employees took up the offer. ―We have just run the scheme again in 2003 and have
had an equally enthusiastic response,‖ says Debnath.

Overall, Siemens was pleased with the speed and ease of implementation.
―Everything went according to plan. Although in hindsight we would have monitored
employee responses more closely during the very first phase of delivery to
appreciate fully the popularity of the scheme.‖

Boosting computer skills
Employees without daily computer access now have the freedom to develop their
computer skills with their families, increasing levels of IT literacy within Siemens.
Office computer users have the opportunity to improve computing skills at their

Says Debnath: ―Basic computer skills are now as important as numeracy and
literacy in the workplace. This scheme goes a long way to widening this knowledge
and can potentially reduce our basic IT training bill.‖

Add to this the potential increase in employee productivity and it‘s no exaggeration
to say that the scheme is having a significant impact on Siemens‘ bottom line. Says
Debnath: ―It isn‘t just a case of demonstrating a sense of responsibility to your
employees; there is a powerful business case underpinning our scheme. It‘s also
worth pointing out that you don‘t have to be a large business to enjoy these
benefits – they are achievable by organisations of any size.‖

An attractive offer for employees
Since the secheme was first launched three years ago, nearly all Siemens‘ business
groups are participating. Now 8,750 people  51% of all eligible employees  have
computers in their homes, loaned through the scheme. Debnath says: ―It works out
on average at £18 per month from their net pay, in monthly instalments over three
years. And they‘re not just getting a computer. Three years‘ hardware warranty and
comprehensive technical support are also included.‖

The highest-specification computers have been the most popular among employees
who are keen to stress the value of the packages on offer. Joe Lopes, New Media
Consultant, Siemens, says: ―I went for the best computer in the ‗Let‘s Connect‘
brochure. Over three years this represents outstanding value and the reduction to
my gross salary is easily managed from month to month.‖

IT for everyone
The scheme means non-technical employees who may be unsure of what comprises
a good deal can be confident that their employer has chosen the best computers
available. With both laptops and desktops on the list, employees can choose a
computer that fits their lifestyle. Neil Jenkins, Communications Manager, Siemens,
says: ―I went for the portable, because I was living in a flat and didn‘t have much
room for a desktop.‖

The scheme also benefits families and friends. ―I use it for surfing the internet and
writing. But my partner can also use it to access the web for internet shopping,
online banking and so on,‖ says Jenkins.

Savings for employees
Employees are clear on the savings that they can make with the scheme. Lopes, an
experienced IT professional, says: ―I was planning on building my own computer
before the Siemens scheme was announced. But when I looked at what was
available through the scheme, it was clear that this was of even greater value. It
was an obvious choice.‖

He also points out that it is a hassle-free way of acquiring a computer, with only
two to three weeks typically between ordering and delivery. ―It didn‘t involve much
research either,‖ he says.

A cost-neutral scheme
It was just as important that Siemens saw a return on the time and resources
dedicated to the scheme. But it was relatively straightforward to make a business
case to the Siemens board.

Debnath says: ―For Siemens, rolling out computers to 8,750 employees over three
years means that the company has saved about £900,000 net in employees‘
National Insurance Contributions.‖

Staying in favour
Above all, the scheme boosts Siemens‘ status as an employer of choice, and
strengthens its relationship with employees, helping to attract and retain the best
staff and raise the profile of human resources internally. Debnath says: ―For
employees and employers, stability in the workplace is very important. The loan
might make them think about staying with the organisation.‖

Lopes says: ―It does look good in the overall benefits package. Employees get
brand new, state-of-the-art kit as standard for use at home. It‘s perfect.‖

For more information

―For Siemens, rolling out computers to 8,750 employees over three years means
that the company has saved about £900,000 net in employees‘ National Insurance
Ben Debnath, Head of Policies and Processes, Siemens

―I went for the best computer in the ‗Let‘s Connect‘ brochure. Over three years this
represents outstanding value and the reduction to my gross salary is easily
managed from month to month.‖
Neil Jenkins, Communications Manager, Siemens

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