Houda Lebbos, CHRO at Smartgroup, outlines how employers can deliver benefits that reward employees and meet KPIs
It’s well understood that a strategic benefits program that aligns with both the company values and the values of your employees is a cost-of-entry component for a healthy, high-performing culture. Benefits delivered well offer a win-win for employees and employers. Delivered poorly, they can be a thorn in your side, sucking up valuable HR resources and becoming an expense that’s difficult to defend. Cost aside, a well-run program will do more than deliver a list of flavour-of-the-month ‘perks’. Ensuring the benefits you offer are what your people (and the people you are looking to attract) care about instantly increases the perceived value of your program.
An employee share plan, for example, is a good choice for private and ASX-listed companies looking to attract talent, and to keep that talent, quite literally, invested in their work. The administration of employee share plans can be fully outsourced so introducing employee equity doesn’t need to add to the administrative burden on internal teams.
For a workforce that has a high proportion of middle-income earners, novated leasing can be attractive as it represents an opportunity for them to buy a car for much less than it would otherwise cost. Having a safe, reliable and comfortable car – and one they feel proud of – is important to most people, ranging from those with families to those who work shifts and those who are in a single household.
For some, the workings of employee benefits can seem complicated, particularly when it involves tax-related benefits, so it’s critical that employees are given the opportunity to glean the information they need to engage with confidence.
There’s little point to a program that’s difficult to use, hard to grasp, or that no one knows about. That’s why at Smartgroup we have a large team of specialists readily available – and often on-site – to educate employees on the particular benefits available to them and at a time that fits their workday. For example, we manage employee benefits for large organisations within the health sector, including hospitals, so we’ve introduced ward visits to coincide with their breaks. We’ve even run sessions at 2 a.m. for night staff who would otherwise miss out.
THREE STEPS TO A HARDER-WORKING BENEFITS PROGRAM
1. Make it meaningful (for you and your employees)
2. Communicate for maximum engagement and uptake
3. Streamline administrative process
Likewise, a benefits program that’s time-consuming and laborious for your team also undermines its value. There will be instances when you’ll need to deliver benefits directly, but other benefits – such as salary packaging – when delivered via a reputable outsourced solution, offer employee support and administration at minimal or no cost and free up your team to focus on other priorities.
There’s no doubt employee benefits are an integral part of your HR strategy, but the perceived value of the benefits, and how they’re administered will make the difference to how successful your program is at attracting, retaining and rewarding your workforce, and meeting your broader people goals.
In 1999, Smartgroup began as the leading salary packaging brand, Smartsalary, and grew rapidly thanks to a business model that places the customer at the heart of everything we do. This customer-centric approach has ensured our continued growth, having expanded to become a leading employee benefits and workforce optimisation service provider. Call 1300 665 855 or visit Smartgroup.com.au to find out more.