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6 min read
As many HR teams plan projects for the next financial year and gear up for pay review season, finding creative ways to use your budget to improve the employee experience and boost employee income can be the secret to attracting and retaining engaged employees.
Providing opportunities to pursue professional development, save on everyday expenses, build meaningful relationships, and support with ideas for work life balance, are just a few examples of what sets preferred employers apart from their competitors.
This has certainly proven true for the team at Insight, a global Fortune 500 tech company that takes pride in creating a strong company culture and providing benefits that support its people from the day they join the team.
In this HR Heroes post, Marea Phillips, Director of People and Culture APAC, shares Insight’s innovative approach to providing employee benefits to its 7,000 employees, 250 of who are based in Australia. In the interview below, we unpack how her team continues to create a compelling employer brand by offering an innovative suite of diverse, relevant and accessible employee benefits.
Q: Let’s start by talking about the people at Insight – can you tell us about the employee make-up and the diversity you need to cater for as the Director of People and Culture, APAC?
Marea: We have a very diverse employee demographic, across both Australia and Asia, including everyone from millennials to baby boomers. If we talk about Australia specifically, we’ve got about 250 employees. It’s about a 50-50 male and female mix, and 60% of the population are under 40 years old.
In Australia, there is a very diverse range of cultures within our business, including many new Australians as well as people who are at different points in their careers and their lifestyle. This in itself leads us to review and look at what our benefits and reward and recognition process looks like because our team-mates are each looking for something different and value different things.
Q: How has this diversity impacted what you offer your people?
Marea: Our benefits range from what I would regard as “cheap and cheerful” to “five-star.” This includes a health and wellbeing allowance, work-life balance days, 5 weeks leave at 3 years service, and technology allowances to buy IT gadgets . We also have time-out breaks “ Let Chill” where the team will have time-out from 3pm.
We offer opportunities for new Australians to learn how to speak English in a business community, right through to offering our teammates the opportunity to fly internationally for professional development .
We also offer employee benefits that add financial value to our people – this includes employee discounts through Reward Gateway, as well as offering gym memberships and health insurance subsidies.
One size does not fit everyone, so there is no point in offering or spending dollars on benefits if in fact it’s not what our people are looking for.
A really exciting benefit we offer that appeals to our younger demographic is our bi-annual Hackathon. This is for employees who have a real passion for developing applications . They are given the opportunity to go away for the weekend and develop a creative app, i.e. a phone app. Recently we worked with OzHarvest to develop an app that helps Australians reduce food wastage at home.
Another hugely popular benefit is our annual trip away for 30 employees. The selected teammates fly to Dubai for five days and enjoy a range of fun events, from outdoor activities to cocktail parties all in celebration of their success at Insight.
Q: Insight sounds like such a fantastic and rewarding place to work! What are your tips for choosing impactful employee benefits that are relevant to your people and get the necessary take-up so that the investment in all these initiatives are worthwhile?
Marea: We ask our teammates to value the benefits on a rating scale from one to five. So we ask how much they value things like their work/life-balance days, or the health and wellbeing benefit. It gives us the opportunity to be able to see what people are actually looking for, and to ensure we're not investing well-earned dollars into something that is of no value to them.
We also know that in order to be competitive within the marketplace, we need a menu of benefits that is offered to our employees. For example, we offer our teammates the a choice of having a health and wellbeing allowance, a gym allowance, or a technology allowance – this is something we review regularly.
Q: How did you build a business case for such a diverse range of benefits and continue to get support when evolving your employee engagement strategy?
Marea: It’s important to understand that whilst we're a global organisation, we haven't got buckets of money that we can give everyone everything they want! (laughs). One of the things that I have learned along the way, is that it's really important to keep the Leadership Team aware of what's actually happening in the market at any one time – not just in our industry but in other industries. That way there are no surprises if we go forward with something new.
Sometimes I introduce a high-impact benefit at a low cost – it’s not always about increasing the benefits budget, but looking at the buckets of money we have available and changing what we invest it in according to the needs of the team.
Q: Can you give our readers an example of one benefit that has worked successfully?
Marea: The discounts that we provide our employees through Reward Gateway is exciting because it’s a cost-effective benefit to our organisation. In 2018 our team of 250 spent about $300,000 in that platform, which means collectively we saved thousands just by shopping at Myer, JB-HiFi or Coles or Woolworths. Our Managing Director purchased nearly all of his retail goods or online goods through this process – I think that he has shopped more at JB Hi-Fi than any other person in Australia! (laughs)
It’s successful because it’s real and instantaneous. You can shop online or at any store and get a percentage discount at that moment in time – that’s really important to our team-mates.
It’s something that’s so highly utilised in our organisation and so cost effective, that I don't think that we will ever move away from this particular benefit.
Curious about how an employee benefits platform could improve how you communicate your offerings? Get in touch with us to see how we could help!
Joy is our book-hoarding, food-loving Content Journalist. She combines her experience in communications and change management with storytelling and digital media to help business and HR leaders connect with their people and strengthen their company culture. When she isn’t writing about business, HR or leadership, she’s writing quotes and song lyrics with a paintbrush or calligraphy pen.
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