Hidden Superpowers in Managers: How to Boost Employee Resiliency and Productivity With Benefits

In today's ever-changing and demanding workplace, managers play a pivotal role in shaping the success and wellbeing of their teams. In this webinar we will uncover the hidden superpowers that managers possess and how they can leverage these abilities to enhance employee resiliency and drive productivity through the strategic use of benefits

In this webinar, you will learn:

  • Why inflation inertia will continue to outpace wages in 2025 extending the cost-of-living crisis
  • Evidence-based data showing how benefits can increase employee productivity & resiliency
  • How HR leaders can approach and consolidate benefits programs for high impact
  • A framework to activate management teams to amplify benefits uptake and efficacy
To view full transcript, please click here

Sharon Masige [00:00:00] Hello everyone and welcome to today's webinar. Hidden Superpowers in Managers, how to boost employee resiliency and productivity with benefits presented by Flare. My name is Sharon Masige and I'm a Journalist at HRD Australia. And I'm looking forward to be in your host for this webinar. Thank you all for joining us. We hope today's webinar will be as informative and interactive as possible. But first some housekeeping items. There will be some poll questions during the presentation, so please keep an eye out for them and answer them during the webinar. There will also be some time at the end for a q&a, so please submit your questions through the chat function. And just a reminder that today's webinar will be recorded and it will be shared with you all after the conclusion. Your presenters today are from Flare. Where is Australia's leading employee pay and benefits provider? Flare's benefits solutions come at zero cost to businesses and helps boost employees take home pay. With Flare you can make your company stand out with meaningful incentives such as pre tax benefits like cost salary packaging, where a lease holder can save an average of $6,000 a year over 100,000 Australian employers and use Flare to attract engage and retain that talent. Joining us today from Flare is David Brudenell and Lauren Trethowan. David oversees the sales, marketing and solutions team at Flare as the chief revenue officer. More than 100,000 businesses of all sizes have used Flare to attract, retain and engage their employees while helping them get more out of their paychecks. Prior to joining Flare, David served as Vice President of Global Solutions and advanced research at happen. The world's leading supplier of training data for AIAML. Lauren is the Vice the VP of People and Culture at Flare and Head of People and Talent at MYOB. She is a registered psychologist with over 20 years experience in HR and transformation advisory roles. her current role at Flare involves shaping the workplace culture, enabling people to do their best work, and ensuring we have the right talent in the right roles at the right time. Prior to this, she was head of organizational development at MYOB, head of enterprise culture and head of HR at Australia Post and has over eight years of experience in management consulting. Thank you so much for joining us, David and Lauren. I will now hand over to you to begin today's presentation. 

David Brudenell [00:02:45] Thanks very much, Sharon, and everyone. Good morning. We have a great presentation today. It's about superheroes. So pack up your capes on pack them put them on, we're going to have a great conversation in particular with Lauren who brings a raft of experience from MYOB and Australia posts in terms of unlocking those hidden superpowers in managers. Now, before we start actually wanted to share a story, Sharon mentioned this in the introduction. But a short while ago, I was responsible for leading the advanced research teams for an artificial intelligence global company. I had about 350 staff around the world and the staff were truly remarkable people. We're talking double PhDs, we're talking machine engineers, we're talking people who are highly specialized linguists. And these people were responsible for creating the smart speakers 10 years ago, there's actually published in the book, they blur the background behind me, they make me look slightly better because of the face smoothing features. They allow us the work that we worked on, allowed your phone, so identify your pets and put them in the right photo folders. But as well did some remarkable things with MRI machines and other things. Now to manage these teams, these people were all over the world, right in particular, these linguists, and these linguists had to be local. So we had teams and people anywhere from Seoul, Korea, to Toronto and everywhere in between. And the leader of that organization, Judith, she was truly remarkable. She had been with this AI business for 10 years, she had created a culture of resiliency, a culture of Frontier thinking but also a culture of togetherness. With all of these people sharing a common goal of bringing technology to all the languages and all the people in the world. Judith was truly remarkable. She was one of the most impactful managers that I've ever had the pleasure of working with. And she truly had superpowers. And today we're going to talk about how you can get people like Judith in your organization. We can we'll talk about how you can identify them, how you can empower them, and how you can give them new tools and things such as benefits but also understanding about attraction retention, to better equip them to be your true superheroes within your organization. So with that, we're going to get into the presentation and just a little bit of background because I have moonlit in artificial intelligence. All the slides you're going to see today have been created with AI with mid journey and with open with Dolly. So the prompts are at the bottom if you're curious, I've also taken some liberty with Lauren and I provided us with a few capes. So we'll see as we'll see a smattering through or leafing through the presentation as we go. And with this, with this presentation, and with any good superhero story, you need a few things, right, you need an urban metropolis, you need a dramatic origin story, you need a supervillain, and you need a super hero in a super in a superpower, often delivered by a spider bite, or gamma rays or something like that. And of course, you need a secret identity, right? And we have a few of those in our organization, which we're going to uncover today. And lastly, an iconic sidekick. Now, the two superheroes Well, there's definitely one superhero with Lauren, I'm not so sure about myself. But here's the here's the here's some of our creative exploration. We have Captain Marvel, or Lauren in this presentation, and slightly cross eyed Captain Canuck here with me, but it truly proves that AI is probably not where it needs to be yet, at least in how my eyes are pointing in the right directions on these ones. But as we get into the superhero trope, right, the first thing we need is an urban metropolis, and a supervillain adversary. Now, I know that there are attendees all over the country today, we're based in Sydney, in the urban sprawl and of course, Lauren and Harold's from Melbourne, which is a bit cooler than Sydney today. But we really do have this super this villain, and that's the economy. Earlier this month, the RBA increase interest rates again. And what businesses are starting to really talk about is that there is a potential recession that's on the horizon. And a recent study by MYOB, which represents nearly half of all SMEs in this country, over 51% indicated that they're thinking there's a recession coming in the next 12 months. Inflation as a 30 is at a 30 year high. And in actuality, Australia has some of the highest inflation rates in the world. And if you listen to Karl Stefanovic, every single morning, his favorite words of the cost of living crisis is on the tip of everyone's tongue. Now, in some index data, which I'll get to get to a little bit in a moment, is what we found is we run this index numerous times during the year. And what we found with the index data is that one in two employees in your organizations are financially stressed. And that financial stress is either moderate or severe. And so we're really talking about a workforce that is feeling the pressure of the cost of goods, the cost of transport, and the cost of living in general. And what's really interesting is that this this rate of financial stress has actually increased by 4%. In only the six months since we started launching this study. And as a consequence of this, one in three or 30% of your organization are emotionally stressed, and one in 420 5%, are physically stressed out of this. So this economy, this inflation is a true supervillain that we as consumers in this economy and by extension employees are having to deal with. Now, as we start to look into what 2025 looks like, Yes, we had an interest rate rise, the interest rate is still not under control. But diving deep into the RBA website and its forecasts into 2025, we see three major themes. One is that inflation will continue to be persistent through 2025, it's likely we can expect between two and three additional rate rises through to the end of April next year that the RBA is indicating, and what on top of that we're seeing intense migration coming into the country. So if you think about the business standpoint, we're going to have businesses that are beginning to struggle financially on their top line, which is then going to be further exacerbated by more talent supply in the market, we can expect to see the unemployment rate slight go slightly up. But the total hours worked by the Australian workforce, which is a measure that the Australian Bureau of Statistics measures on a quarterly basis is that the number of hours per person is actually going to go down because this is intense migration coming in. And so what we can expect is that family savings buffers are starting to deplete the cost of living inflation is going to continue. And also, we're going to see salaries continue to lag behind inflation. That is what the RBA expects through to at least the end of 2025, if not longer. So what we're gonna see in 2025 is much of the same as we saw in 2024. And so as business leaders, how can we start to think about this and how can we start to deal with these, this consistent and persistent inflationary environment that we're in? Now? I went to get a sandwich yesterday across the street in downtown Sydney, it cost me $23 was a very good sandwich. It didn't even have auto avocado on it, but it's a really good indication of the cost of things that are that go into that sandwich, right? It's the rent Is the labor, it's the fuel, it's the heating, it's the electricity. It's all of those things. It's the cost of the, the bread and the wheat that goes into it. And all that is definitely being passed across to employees today, and is expected to further increase right as businesses look to raise prices to deal with the inflationary impacts and impacts on the B2B environment. So inflation is everywhere in our organization, as are in our country. And it's going to continue through 2025. So as many of you on the call, will be thinking about and doing the last reviews of your salary reviews for 2025. And if you operate on a financial year, you're likely to be have completed that in April and May for your financial year conclusion and June 30 of the earlier this year, but raising salaries is not a good business strategy. So how is businesses and how as business leaders are we going to deal with this current inflation rate, which is going to persist through 2025, a reasonable CPI increase is going to be 3%, potentially even more for high value roles on in the organization. But likely there'll be a wage deficit for nearly all the employees which are coming through. So how do we deal with that? How do we address that without increasing our cost lines in our organization. So with that, we've talked a little bit about the inflationary impacts and what we're seeing what we expect to see through 2025. So we're going to roll it run a quick poll to the audience here today to get your take on the severity of inflation in your organization, and what you think will pop up in 2025. So if you want to quickly click on that, then what we can do is we'll share that, and that will help Lauren and I in our discussion points as we kind of carry on in this webinar. 

David Brudenell [00:11:59] Okay, wonderful. What we'll do is we'll show the polls as we carry through in webinar, but thank you for all those who, who voted. And as we can see here, 77% of votes that have come in indicate that you think there will be a significant impact on employees. So that very much aligns to what the market is saying. So now how do we understand this right? Inflation is going to be persistent is going to exist in 2025. So what So how are we going to deal with this? Well, we have to get in our tro on our superhero trope is now we need to superhero a superpower. And that's enabled by a specialized item. So tongue in cheek, one of the things that we've done it flare is we've created Australia's first national employee benefits index. Now, we asked the question, and we really want to answer the simple questions like what benefits actually matter, because they can be really impactful in creating raising the total remuneration for your employees. And in the national employee index, we asked two really simple questions to a nationally representative sample of over 3000 Australians. And we did this twice during this year, what benefits are currently offered by your employer, and which ones are actually used. And we complemented that with engagement questions around stress, loyalty, engagement, professional development, and job satisfaction. And what we did is because we're able to do this across all industries across all cohorts of tenure across all geographies in Australia, we're able to get a really true picture of what benefits are actually on offer, which ones are taken up and which ones are important. Now, because flare has over 100,000 businesses that use our benefits platform, we're able to actually add an additional layer of impact to this study. And what we're able to do is ask the national sample these questions around what benefits are used and what benefits are actually matter. But also, we're able to go to our customers, over 100,000 of them. And we know which of those customers have what we call take home pay focused benefits. And now these benefits are anything from pre tax salary benefits to post tax discounts at woolies. But really those benefits that can be quantitatively measured, and that directly increase the take home pay of employees. And what we were able to do in this study is actually compare and contrast those two items, to see which ones are going to be most impactful to be able to drive engagement, productivity, resiliency, and by extension, and what we'll talk about in just a moment is gravitates to managers, and how can we equip managers. And as we dive deeply into this data, specifically through the lens of managers and management, is what we found is when we contrast the national average of benefits versus those companies which have take home pay focus benefits, is that take home pay benefits those businesses which deploy them give additional gravitas to managers, and one of the items was feeling more valued by their manager. As we carry as we carry through to 2025. And times get more tough, there may be redundancies in the future. So the talent that you have in the organization you want them Make sure that they're aligned to management. And that there is they are aligned to the jobs that they've been hired for. And what we're seeing here is it's over 64% increase in being valued by managers in those employees who have take home pay benefits, looking more deeply, better benefits seem to deliver better job alignment. One of the critical questions that we asked in this study is, do you believe that you have the opportunities to apply your talent at work. And when we're looking at take home pay benefits focused employees versus the national average, nearly one in five are winning, excuse me, our feel more aligned, their skills are more aligned to the organization. Now that reflects very positively back on managers. And also that increases the communication cycles within those cohorts of people to be able to drive more productivity. And finally, when it comes to managers, and the relationship between the benefits that those organizations deliver, we're finding that better benefits equals better engagement, they're generally 30% more excited to go to work on a daily basis. And what we're seeing across time in the two ways that we've run in 2023, is that their people are consistently increasing their excitement of going to work. So what's happening in this in this study is that although the inflationary environment and the cost of living crisis has seen to increase, the heat continues to rise within the economy, and in our wallets, but benefits and in particular, take home pay benefits seem to galvanize or protect those employees, they are relatively less stressed, or statistically, I'd say, speaking, less stressed, as well as they're better aligned to their managers. So with this, and the critical question, as we go into management, you know, the old saying is people don't leave their jobs, they leave their managers. Well, we asked the question, Do you are you currently thinking about leaving your employer, and today in wave two, and this was asked in late August of this year and wave two is that nearly one in four employees in your organization today are thinking about leaving your organization now compare and contrast those employers which deliver the right benefits to their employees, this is 50% less. So there's certainly something going on with businesses that are aligning their benefits programs and their benefits mix. And as what Laura and I will discuss in a moment is how they deploy those benefits within their organizations and how they talk about them. And how they train their managers can have a lasting impact on employee engagement. So as we kind of conclude this very shallow dive, and I invite all of you to download the latest wave of the index, there's a QR code at the end of the of the presentation, and it's free for you to download is what we can see in the national employee benefits index is that when businesses have the right mix of benefits for their organizations, that drives better relationships between managers and employees, those employees are more motivated to apply their talents to work, they feel better aligned to the work that they're doing in the business. And, generally speaking, they're more excited to come to work, which is an interesting topic and learn. And I think we'll dive into it today in this evolution of work from home to hybrid work that we're coming in. So employees being motivated to come into the office to have those collaborative relationships and conversations with managers. I believe it's really important, as we kind of cast our mind into 2024 and 2025. Now, the interesting thing about benefits, and the interesting thing about, you know, how we think about them is like we're in a post COVID world. And if anyone wants to look, these are AI generated images. So there's some funky stuff here. But you know, tongue in cheek, we spent a lot of time, Lauren and I and the other executives at Flare, thinking about how we get people back into our office. And honestly, it's a struggle. We can't we haven't got it right yet. But we're trying numerous things to try and get people to come in. And one of those things is benefits. But you know, as we start to think about the, quote, post COVID world, things are different. Right? In the office here in MYOB. We have a beautiful new fit out office, we have very expensive, beautiful chairs that are very comfortable to sit on. But you know, as the saying goes, like what good is a $3,000 chair if I can only sit in it one day, per week. So this as a metaphor for getting the right benefits in the organization to not only bring people back to work, but to motivate them in the right way on it. And increasingly what we're finding is like what worked pre COVID does not work in post in this post COVID world. And one of the things that's really interesting, you know, I talked a little bit about take home pay focused benefits. And one of the areas that can have the most dramatic impact on take home pay is salary sacrificing, and in the national index, we asked employees this study started this question, which simply ask them where they do they have these benefits or have they even heard of them before? And what you can see here from salary site salary, sacrificing their work from home setup to Novated leasing to income protection experience, the average is only one in four people eat knew that these benefits existed. Now as a consequence of the inflationary environment and the take home pay, the next question we asked these people was, well, now that you're aware of them, would you take any of these up in the next 12 months? And yes, you can see here that one and two will take additional leave or health insurance or Novated leasing or get a mobile phone. It's pre tax package, but across the board, nearly 90% of people who were asked, Do you want to would you take one of these up? Actually said yes. So there's certain demand. But what's interesting is that there's the supply from employers is extremely low. So there are there are obviously opportunities to drive these take home pay focus, engagement outcomes. And it seems like the employment market in Australia or businesses in Australia need to kind of come up the curve to be able to deliver some of these take home pay outcomes for employees. And that's clearly evident again, in this study, you know, the top three things are off for by employers. So this is nationally, are the good old blend 43 Nescafé in everybody's office, we have it here. I think the last time it was open was 1982. But that's really popular for businesses. And second was training and education and reasonable work hours. But paradoxically, is that although nearly three quarters of businesses offer these perks, single digits actually take them up. So obviously there's a misalignment there. And the reasonable work hours and training and education are quite interesting pieces, which will we may dive into and discuss the misalignment there. So there may be an l&d opportunity to restructure those l&d programs to the new world that we're in, there could be opportunities, especially around the cost of living crisis to look at learning and development personally. So financial awareness or financial acumen, building that within your employee base that may help them in their personal lives, and may have good echoes on their in their professional lives. And lastly, this friction between reasonable work hours, and I think there's something there between businesses wanting employees to come back to the office, but employees having to adjust those COVID work schedules and personalized schedules that they had. So with that, we're going to ask a poll question here, in particular, on take home pay benefits. So if you want to just pop your answer in there, and what we'll do is this will lead into a really interesting discussion that Lauren and I will have in just a moment. 

David Brudenell [00:22:24] So the question is, do you know how many of your how many of your company benefits are utilized by employees? So do you have excellent tracking, to do really look to drive more benefit awareness and uptake in your organization? 

David Brudenell [00:22:52] Okay, awesome, maybe we'll close that poll. And we'll see the flash of the responses coming up there. Okay, split bag, nearly equal across all the different segments. So that's kind of representative I think of the of the data that we saw on the national index, we saw some really sophisticated businesses out there, and we saw businesses that were just starting their benefits journey. So with that, we're now going to kind of carry across into a case study in an open discussion. With Lauren, as you heard from Lauren's introduction, she's a true practitioner with amazing experience across public sector private sector consulting, you nearly have the perfect for Lauren, I think in terms of industry experience. But just, I guess crossing over to you and getting up into our first question, which is the early part of the presentation here is, you know, how do you think employers are going to be affected by this kind of what seems to be continued inflationary environment that we're going to be in 2024 and 2025? 

Lauren Trethowan [00:23:56] Yeah, thanks, David. And hello, everyone. Good morning. From an employer's perspective, I really think that employers should be expecting their employees expectations around rim to increase. I mean, if employee is aren't expecting that, there's the opportunity now to get on the front foot to actually prepare and make sure that your managers are equipped to be able to have those conversations when their employees are asking for a rim increase, particularly if you've got salary increases at the end of the calendar year. But also to be able to equip them with knowledge of all the benefits that are available to employees. So they can actually have a full rim conversation when they do when they do and if they do, but they will come up. I think employers are also looking at how they can activate a more contingent or gig workforce. It's less risky, particularly as we go into tough times and allows them to scale up and down their workforce as needed. I think one of the benefits of flare benefits is that it is available to a casual workforce. So it is quite inclusive in that respect. And I think for employers as well, there'll be looking for ways to retain people and ways that they can retain people at a lower cost. So finding those benefits that are really able to be utilized by their employees and useful to their employees that won't actually cost them so much. So whether it is flat benefits or, or working from home, or ways in which they can flex up and down on leave things that aren't necessarily going to cost them anything in addition, other than time or effort. I think the other thing that employers need to think about here is, there's no one size fits all. And that's continually the challenge. I think for employers, when you're trying to build out an EVP for your workforce, finding a solution that, you know, as a previous slide that you had up there, David suggested that some employee employees might want to take up Novated leases, others might be interested in salary, sacrificing their work, phone, whatever it might be making sure that you've got breadth of benefits and options, really make sure that you are trying to tap into the different wants and needs of your entire employee base. 

David Brudenell [00:26:13] Sorry, I was gonna ask, it's really interesting that you mentioned the, you know, thinking I would say laterally about kind of your labor force, you mentioned gig workers and contingent workers. Any advice to the audience? And like, as they're going through their budgeting and planning session? And like, how to think about that? Should they be adding loading on a rage? Should they be thinking about project related work? What some, any thoughts on that? 

Lauren Trethowan [00:26:39] Yeah, I mean, the way I've seen it done, most common is when a role does become vacant, because someone's leaving the organization, not necessarily just replacing a like for like, so using that as an opportunity to say, Okay, what's the work that actually has to be done here? And do we actually need to be doing it the same way that we've always done it? Or is this an opportunity to look at how we reframe the work and reframe how the work gets done. And in a in an environment where there's low supply of talent, that can be really tough, and finding the right people to do the work at the right price can be really challenging. But as you mentioned earlier, the increase in migration, and therefore talent supply in the market is going to mean that employers are going to have access to more available talent and be able to do more of that contingent workforce. 


David Brudenell [00:27:26] And Lauren, on the contingent workforce, whether it be migrants or graduates, like any, any experience that you can share from either your time at Flare MYOB or at Aus post and like, how do you create how to create a good graduate program to potentially evolve that talent? But as well, like even migration, like how do you access those, those new pipelines of talent? And, you know, what can what was your experience? If you've done that before? What did your experience tell you about those new kind of foreign nationals? I was one of them minute, 20 years ago? What do they how do they act? You know? And what do they expect coming into these new jobs? 

Lauren Trethowan [00:28:06] Yeah, so I'll take the grad piece first, because I feel like that's quite easy. And I will keep it short, because I don't want to pick us off topic too much. But at MYOB we've got a program called The Future Makers Academy, which is for grads, but also career switches. So to essentially build out a career within technology. And it's a, it's a pretty tough process to be selected. But when you are, you'll get you put through a full year worth of professional development in order to move into an associate dev role. At the end of that year. There's lots of kind of shared learning projects where they will work on real life projects within the business, but as a cohort, there's professional development they do both internally and externally with the university provider. So I think that's a really great example of how we're starting to make sure that we're getting the right pipeline of talent through and it's not just grads, it's definitely people who have worked in other parts of it of work and looking to make that switch into technology. We also have a developer program, which is specifically for females bringing them in, who don't have Tech experience to try and build that pipeline of tech females working in talent, working in technology. From a migrant perspective, I think it becomes it's slightly more challenging for employers just because there's more hurdles that you need to go through in order to secure visas if you need to, for working rights or PR. But it's not prohibitive. So I think that certainly there's more hurdles, there's more stage gates, but as long as you've got the right processes set up, then hopefully employers are able to make sure that's a really good experience for migrants as well. 

David Brudenell [00:29:50] Okay, okay, awesome. Thank you now, getting us off that that side road that I just put us, put us on, but like getting us back to, you know those salary conversations And, you know, the economy is hot, right? Everyone's wallet is, you know, is emptying more quickly than we would all like. So how do you any advice for the audience here is like, what reactions are expected from employees? And how do you how do you effectively, you know, what I'm assuming will be to cool them down a little bit, and to have those productive conversations around salary through either right now, or, you know, inevitably coming up in a few months time if you're on a financial year. 

Lauren Trethowan [00:30:29] Yeah. So I think the first thing is to assume that they are inevitable and to kind of try and do as much as you can equip yourself to be able to have that conversation in a meaningful way. And I think that's where the topic of benefits really helps. Because, you know, if you get paid $1, from one company, it's the same as getting paid $1 from another company. It there's no, you know, experience associated with that, that pay that you receive, but the benefits in the experiences that you get from that company is really where the differentiation occurs. And so equipping your managers to be able to talk to the benefits to be able to bring them to life, and to be able to talk to why an employee should work at that organization is really, really the differentiator and the kind of superpowers that are able to be elicited within the business. I also think that employers or employees are potentially going to start looking for a second job. And we know that we've seen this as well, as times get tough. When you're hiring a full human, you want the best out of that human. And if they're needing to moonlight, in order to pay their bills, then it's something that you're going to have to be considering as in terms of the work that they're doing for your organization. And I also think that it's expected that employees will start to look at upskilling themselves a little bit more. So if they are looking to make a change, they'll potentially be starting to have more or wanting, wanting to have more career conversations, and development conversations and looking for ways in which they can start to upskill themselves in order to make a transition. And then obviously lacking, like you mentioned, looking in the market and being more active in the market, to see what else is out there. And I think he mentioned that was one in three, looking at thinking about leaving, which is a really scary statistic for organizations. And, yeah, something that you need to try and get them upfront foot of.  

David Brudenell [00:32:23] But you know, you mentioned earlier, you know, the MYOB, Dev talent upskilling program that they have, which is, I think, really novel on it. And you mentioned, you know, if we think about the data that I showed previously around this misalignment between l&d programs, you know, you just caught my ears there, you said about, you know, this upskilling opportunity, you know, is it instead of, instead of the classic management, one is much, do you think there's an opportunity to be much more precise, or to have higher levels of precision, like how to use AI? Or, you know, in this case, you know, how to code in Python, or something like that. I think those are opportunities to maybe realign the expectation of like, what l&d programs are offered in their actual uptake? 

Lauren Trethowan [00:33:05] Yeah, I think so. I mean, organizations that are doing a lot of workforce planning, are really looking at this and thinking about what are the core skills that they need to build within their organization, and then developing learning programs that aligned to those four to five different core skills that they've identified, I think coming back to the point of not one size fits all is where it becomes harder, because you're really relying on managers to be able to have those career conversations and help guide and direct their teams into the opportunities that they can they can receive to be able to develop their own careers. So it can I think it's, there's a kind of organization wide approach to developing, you know, the core pieces of work, but there's also a place for managers to be playing a role in helping their team members find those opportunities as well. 

David Brudenell [00:33:54] I think that's a good segue, Lauren, about like the next question or thread of questions, which is like, how does HR enable these managers? You know, you mentioned about the, you know, the tech upskilling program, I can see it on our screens, you know, in our office here, it's promoted regularly, but how do you know any advice for the audience? And how can we do it today? Or, or how you seen it done really well? And how you actually provide, you know, the things that go in the bat belt, you know, what I mean, to make your make your managers like Batman?  

Lauren Trethowan [00:34:27] Yeah, um 

David Brudenell [00:34:29] Maybe not so dark but uh you get what I'm trying to put up there. 

Lauren Trethowan [00:34:34] Yeah, yeah. Look, I think, I mean, they're only as good as if they actually been used and accessed and utilized. So unless you, you know, you can't actually extract the value unless people know that they exist. So I think that there is absolutely a role for managers to be talking about and using, the benefits that they have in the organization and really making sure that their team members are Understand what's available to them in the first place. I also think that there's a role for organizations or HR in particular, to be actually embedding them into existing rhythms and processes. So that it's not something that people find out when they're on boarded, you know, in their first week, and then never hear about, for, you know, the rest of the time that they're in the organization. So there's that that is really, I think, where HR can play a key role in equipping managers to actually know what's available to help them actually use it, talk about it, blog about it, and then build it into their existing rhythms as well, the HR rhythms. 

David Brudenell [00:35:38] Awesome, awesome. Well, I think with that, you know, we're going to segue a little bit, and Lauren, I'm going to come back to you, because I've got a, I want to get a couple tips from you, and but how practically, the audience can kind of take this discussion and implement it. But again, this is not a real person just out of interest. This was created by artificial intelligence. But you know, it's those managers, you know, hopefully you've heard today from Lauren, and some of the data in the national index has kind of galvanized your thinking or your thinking around it. But, you know, really, we believe it flares, like enablement of managers can be one of the most potent weapons to decrease the pain of salary increases, make it more of a collaborative discussion, but also increase, increase engagement, retention, even talent attraction. And these as your management are really the, the army or the voicebox of your organization. And so at Flare, again, we have over 100,000 customers, we see customers at every stage of their people journey from, you know, startups to getting funding to very, very large, you know, 10s of 1000s of employees in their organizations, and everything in between from setting up their doing their first EVP exercise to fully deploying and having a robust benefits program, and really looking at making that more agile. And we use the artful benefits technique. This is what we advise our customers on audit, reposition, tailor and train on it. Now, again, we have a full pack that you can take a look through, but just on if you kind of unfocus your eyes and look, look through here. Some of the key things are the salient things that we've discussed today and that Lauren mentioned was, you know, the first thing on the audit piece is, really, you have to be looking at your benefits on a regular basis, they have to be agile and adaptable. And because the economy is changing so quickly, everything from us exiting COVID, to the inflationary period can have a dramatic impact on what matters to employees. And today, we have up to six generations, six cohort generations in our organizations. And what works for a boomer does not work for generations that coming through. So we need to have a benefits programs that are consistently updated, but also understood in your organization. And I think that's that kind of segues into the reposition piece. And this is one of those ones that's very easy to do, that can have a really great impact, we found that when we've been working with our employer partners, is the really simple calculation of turning something into a percent to a take home pay dollar. And many of the you especially all of you may have a default health insurance provider or default superannuation fund, default health insurance, or lots of times, you'd be able to get better insurance, on your superannuation or some sort of premium reduction on your superannuation. Lots of times that's manifested in a percentage savings, just turning that into $1 amount, really looking at how you can turn things into dollars, and adding that up to the total rent package that your employees are having. And also importantly, tailoring those benefits and really having those good conversations with managers. So that, you know, as Lauren mentioned, creating those habits, you know, your managers will have far more conversations with employees and then HR will ever have. Right? So how do you equip them to be talking about their benefits programs, your benefits programs, excuse me on a regular basis to do those benefit check ins, so that you're not leading up to this really potentially friction based salary conversation, where, you know, imagine if you cast all of your minds forward, and you had really robust benefits conversations with your training with your managers, and by extension your employees, like what your salary conversations could be, if your employees were adding $10,000 In take home pay already through the use of your benefits. We're using their Woolies cards and gift cards and saving 4% For every grocery shop, which adds up to $1,500 on average per year for a family of four. So you know, how can you really start to blend these into the rhythms of your organization. So if anyone wants to see this, you can download it off the QR code. It's really great and also includes even Word documents and how to put together and propose a benefits plan to your board or to your C suite. They're then kind of finishing and then we're going to we're going to have to cross back to Lauren for some tips about how to apply some of the things we talked about today. Is that Good benefits program does work. We have Garth, who's the head of people experience at Healius. This Healius case study is a really amazing one, because we deployed take home pay focus benefits and the flare benefits program during the hot mess of COVID. And you may not know Helius, the brand, but they managed all of the COVID pop ups all across the country. So you can imagine the resourcing and the pressure that that organization was around, and they had up to 30% attrition in their organization during COVID. Now, they deployed our benefits program during the COVID. Kind of hot mess. And although this didn't apply to all of their employees, we're still kind of rolling out our benefits program to the rest of their organization. But of the employees, which took up the Flare Benefits Program, the attrition rate of that group over the last two years has been 4%. So a drop from 20% to 4% in attrition was truly remarkable. And he leaves continues to build those habits that Lauren talked about in their organization as it has been going from strength to strength. So with that, we're going to just do a quick poll again, we'll ask you some questions about your benefits programs and kind of where you are on your benefits journey. And then we'll we'll cross to Lauren, and then we'll, we'll finish up the webinar. So you can all go grab a bite or that $23 sandwich. So the question is, does your company offer or is thinking about pre tax benefits in 2024? 

David Brudenell [00:41:38] Okay, fantastic, we'll flash it up on the screen. So you can have a look at what your peers are thinking. 

David Brudenell [00:41:49] Okay, so largely, that's reflective, from the earlier data that we had in, in the index here. So I think there's a great opportunity to look at those pre tax benefits, as they can have a material impact on to pay or total rent for your employees. So with that, we're in a brave new world, like, that's obviously clear, we're dealing with things at the post COVID world, we're dealing with the evolution of work, from home to hybrid work, we're dealing with inflation, there's a lot going on for people professionals in Australia. And so Lauren, just crossing to you, we've talked, we've covered a lot of ground today, and a little bit of time. So thank you, by the way for, for volunteering to participate. It's been really wonderful. But you know, for the audience today of your peers, you know, what's, what are your what's your advice? What can they take away? And what can I action with what we talked about today? 

Lauren Trethowan [00:42:41] Yeah, David, you mentioned this first one a little bit earlier, but on do the sums, and I think it's really important, because it's easy to say, you know, four to 6% of of your salary. But when you actually put that into $1 value, it's meaningful for people. And as managers, that's then their opportunity to have a more meaningful conversation. And so in summary, I suppose that's a really key point, I think, when you're trying to sell this onto your employees as a benefit that actually matters. The next one there around imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. You know, this is an opportunity for managers to also utilize these benefits, but then also talk about it. I remember when we pre COVID, when we were trying to encourage people to go home earlier, which is crazy, this is kind of the world of consulting, but actually it was about educating managers when they were going to leave to get up and leave loudly. And so to actually say, Hey, I'm gonna go pick up my kids or I'm leaving, because I want to go see my son play soccer, whatever it might be, but to actually talk about it and, and verbally, state what they were doing so others around them could see that that's what they were doing. And they were essentially role modeling that behavior. So if you've got managers that are utilizing these benefits, to really ask them to vocalize the benefits, they're using the benefit that they see from using these benefits and, and the impact that it's having on them and their family life. And the third one, there is more an HR focus one, but building it around existing performance management and salary review cadences and rhythms. So finding rather than us utilizing this as a new experience or a new thing or stuff, looking for existing rhythms that you can build this into, so that it becomes part of the conversation. When you're having a salary conversation, talk about total rhythm, but talk about that, including the benefits that you can get from what it is that you offer to your employees. So finding those existing rhythms and reasons to talk about benefits as well. 

David Brudenell [00:44:34] Awesome. Awesome. Thank you Lauren, sage advice, sage and practical advice. I really appreciate it. So And lastly, because I'm Chief Revenue Officer, and I think I was born selling things I can't help myself in the final superhero trope. You always need an iconic sidekick, so Flare is Australia's most complete and uniquely free it really costs nothing for both employers and employees. So perhaps Flare can be your Robin to your Batman in today's in next year's superhero journey, so for everyone, the National employees benefits index as well as the artful benefits program. And there's a lot of fantastic assets that are there, those are completely free. So just the QR code there on it. And you can see a peek here at the Flare app, which gets out to all types of workforces, white collar, blue collar contingent workforces and casuals, as Lauren mentioned. And in terms of building those benefits habits, how we focus on Flare is creating the high watermark. And for the average Australian, they can save up to $9,700. In take home pay by utilizing these benefits in full flight. So thank you, everyone for listening in today, Lauren, in particular, thank you very much for participating. It's been really wonderful to have you join me today. And I think what we'll do now is we'll pass it across for questions from the audience. 

Sharon Masige [00:45:56] Yes, thank you so much, David, and Lauren, for that wonderful presentation. And please, audience, if you do have any questions, please put it in the q&a or the chat function just below. But I do have a question. Here for you, David. While we're getting some questions. What are some examples of ways in which managers can effectively communicate the benefits offered by their company?  

David Brudenell [00:46:24] Yeah, sure. Well, I might take one first, and I'll pass it across to Lauren is, you know, I think the first thing is to, you know, riff on what Lauren talks about, which is actually use the benefits themselves. Really, as executives, I think, to quote, Lauren is like, when she was talking about leaving loudly, I would like use benefits a lot, right? And talk about them with as executives to your to your managers and make them understand the value of those things. So that would be the first thing to be able to really drive those benefits programs. It's not my idea. That's Lauren's but I was the one asked Sharon, but maybe Lauren, like, what's your takeaway in terms of, you know, really, like needling in that in the link benefits in really strongly? 

Lauren Trethowan [00:47:09] I think it comes down to the best channels that the organization has for communicating out to their people. So for example, within Flare, we have some Slack channels that are really utilized. And so there's an opportunity there to start talking within those, all employees can access those channels. So, for example, we've got a benefit that people can go out for a meal at dinner. As for as a community, so it's encouraging people to go out together, which couple of people in the business did last night. And we encourage them to take some photos of it and put it up on the Slack channel so that other people could have a bit of that FOMO on missing out on not being part of that dinner and potentially go use the benefit themselves to have their dinner. So I think it's finding those opportunities to talk about it to share those experiences on the channels that work best for your organization. 

Sharon Masige [00:48:03] And for both of you, you can step in for this one, how can managers or HR teams stay informed about emerging trends and employee benefits? 

David Brudenell [00:48:16] Sure, well,  

Lauren Trethowan [00:48:17] Benefits index.  

David Brudenell [00:48:18] Yeah.  

David Brudenell [00:48:21] Thank you. For the person who asked that question. That seems like a wonderful plug for the for the index, the index is run twice a year. And just for everyone's the context behind it, we run it in February, and we run it in August. The reason why we run it in February is it's just you know, everyone's getting back to work. So you're getting a lot of that kind of excitement and rested holiday workforce. But as well, the federal budget comes into May. So it just comes in before those companies that are running their financial year into the salary review so that you can be equipped the latest, you know, the latest index will launch in March. So you'll have it in hand as you walk into those salary reviews to see what you're, you know what benefits are trending up and what benefits are trending down. You know, interestingly, Sharon in this wave to what we found is actually paradoxically, the 70% of the benefit, the most common benefits are not being offered anymore, which is a bit weird. However, benefits around transport around financial well being and financial education have gone up by nearly double digits. So you can see employers kind of working towards this inflationary problem and trying to attack it on it. So yes, so I would say definitely on the national benchmarking benefits index. Also I would look to you know, we have a partnership with culture amp. They have wonderful employee engagement data that's across all different industries and by design, our studies are married together, we asked very similar questions around engagement. So you can kind of pair the pair that data together for additional impact. 

Sharon Masige [00:49:58] What is Flare's most used employee benefit? 

David Brudenell [00:50:03] Yes, the most popular one is will a shopping essentially. So it's Woolie's gift, you know, not gift cards, but Woolie's store cards so you can save 4% on that it is the most popular by a country mile, followed very closely by Dan Murphy's, not surprisingly, and then then JB Hi-Fi. So those, those post tax items, what we call the post tax discounts by a country mile. But what we're also finding on the pre tax side is the new electric vehicle legislation that was launched in January of this year is truly remarkable. You can pay for a plug in hybrid or an EV with entirely your pre tax salary, and it's FBT exempt. So essentially, employees can save up to $10,000 per year by buying an EV. So you can get a Tesla Model Y for, you know, a Mazda 3 price on it. And what we're seeing is a tremendous uptake in Novated Leasing. And then in addition to that, as well, I know Lauren mentioned contingent work workers is that Flare has a unique funding product for financing for contingent workers. So for the first time, these contingent workers are now available, able to get a Novated lease, which is pretty powerful, as well. So that would be the most popular pre tax item. And today, 80% of all of our Novated leases are EVs, which is a dramatic change from just six months ago, when the program kind of really got off its feet, which is around 10% penetration rate. 

Sharon Masige [00:51:36] Questions around employee engagement, which benefits are particularly seen to drive high employee engagement? 

David Brudenell [00:51:45] Yeah, sure. Well, I think that there's kind of two points to parts that question, Lauren covered this already, which is about the habit building. So there's the engagement in the benefits themselves. And those pre tax, those post tax benefits that I mentioned, they are regularly used. So if you think about, you know us as consumers, we go to the grocery store most often, right? We go to the coffee shop most often. So those post tax benefits, when you get kind of that immediate sugar hit with you know, the Flare app, where you can just tap it at your coffee shop and you get 10% off your coffee, that's good. That's a short term sugar hit, that's not really going to change engagement. But it's a nice thing. As you start to build those post tax benefits, like Woolie's gift cards and things like that, you start to really build that relationship between the employer and the employee. And then finally, when you get to the pre tax benefits, like Novated, leasing, what we find is like really high employee retention. And as I discussed earlier today, there's a really positive consequence of engagement, which comes from the use of the mix of them sharing. So I think kind of putting a bow on what I was just talking about, there's no one benefit that really drives the best employee engagement, but rather, it's the right mix of benefits that are potentially and, you know, align to all of the goals of employee. So it's not just like a one size fits all benefits program, but giving enough to employees so they can select the ones that they have. And that's what we see. Like, that's what the data suggests, Sharon, is that those businesses, which are agile, are evolving on their benefits program, but are enabled, right, and they allow all employees to kind of pick and choose, those are the ones that have the highest engagement. Those are the ones on the significantly agree when it comes to being excited to come to work about their aligning their talents to work, and that, like their managers. 

Sharon Masige [00:53:37] I just have one more final question, which is all about the future. What benefits do you think will become even more important in 2024? 

David Brudenell [00:53:48] Well, actually, I might pass that to Lauren, maybe you want to kick us off? 

Lauren Trethowan [00:53:52] That's a tough one. I think definitely the work from home space is going to evolve. And I think that there's potential for organizations to differentiate themselves on whichever direction they decide to go in, whether it's more time in the office and kind of building up that experience to be a really great one or focusing on more remote option for people. So I do foresee at least in the next couple of years, that to be built out more. And then, you know, like David mentioned on the EVs, as long as you know, there's those government kickbacks for taking on various things. I think that that's a huge benefit that a lot of people don't know about. And I do think that as electric vehicles start to become more commonplace in the market that that hopefully uptake of that that will continue. Yeah, I don't know, riff off whatever you suggest, David? 

David Brudenell [00:54:48] I would say actually, it's, um, I don't know if you classify it as a benefit, but Lauren, you talked about it as well. I think there's a tremendous opportunity in the l&d space to do some real surgery on l&d programs. You know, I come from an artificial intelligence background, I use check GPT every single day, employment organizations are just kind of wrapping their heads around the security implications of it, and so on and so forth. But that doesn't need mean it needs to stop you from enabling people to use it. And, you know, today I use AI every single day, it saves me a minimum of one to three hours per day on things. And so that's pretty cool. Right. So I would say that there's an l&d opportunity for either upskilling into technology or just introducing people into artificial intelligence, I think there's a an amazing opportunity there to bring employees together, create a Slack group, create a community around it, create a prompt engineering slack group, to teach people how to prompt properly. And even you can do crazy stuff, like create amazing presentations and turn Lauren and I into superheroes. So there's some real fun that you can have it. So I would say that would be you know, it's not a classic benefit. But I'd say it's, I'm going to put it into the question. Nevertheless. 

Sharon Masige [00:56:00] We will end it there. Thank you again, David, and Lauren, for your presentation for your insights for your analogy with superheroes and superpowers. And thank you also to our audience. Thank you for joining us and for your participation. Just a reminder that the webinar will be shared with you all and on behalf of Flare and HRD I hope you all enjoy the rest of your day and we look forward to seeing you again hopefully sometime soon.