Why perks still matter in the ‘new normal’

Total rewards head for auto-part manufacturer shares why, in the wake of the pandemic, she’s doubled down on her company’s WorkPerks program

Why perks still matter in the ‘new normal’

Cindy Xing brings Venngo to every organization she works with. The global head of total rewards at ABC Technologies has been partnering up with Venngo and their WorkPerks program since she was director of compensation and benefits at Citi Canada in 2012. In the wake of the global pandemic and the huge difficulties facing ABC Technologies, a leading plastic auto part manufacturer, Xing is doubling down on Venngo, using its updated perks program to motivate staff facing day to day challenges and existential uncertainty in our “new normal.”

Xing says that over the course of the pandemic ABC’s global operations and long-term outlooks took serious hits. Within Canada, their team of 2,000 was put in tough positions. The roughly 500 salaried staff in their head office in the GTA were shifted to working from home while their roughly 1,500 hourly factory workers in plants across the GTA were furloughed. Now some of those workers are back at work, but the company is having to make serious, hard decisions about its future. ABC, like so many organizations, is in survival mode. Yet for Xing, maintaining a Venngo WorkPerks program is still essential.

“We still want employees to be motivated by more than a paycheck,” Xing says. “In the midst of this whole pandemic cutting mode the total rewards toolbox is limited.  Normally you can offer a higher salary, a better pension, or a high incentive, but all of these are not possible around all the cuts… In this situation I think Venngo WorkPerks becomes even more important.”

Xing says that in an environment where employee hours might be cut or pay reduced, many of those still working are facing reduced disposable income. The savings offered by Venngo’s WorkPerks program creates a benefit almost tailored to the current reality, helping employees afford basic necessities and creature comforts crucial to staying healthy, motivated, and dedicated. As well, the benefit and connection for employees are everyday. Every time they save on groceries, takeout, or an online order with a WorkPerks discount, the employee is reminded of their organization and the care being shown to them, even in these hard times.

Xing first partnered with Venngo during a difficult time for her organization. Citi, where she worked in 2012 was in a cutting mode of its own. Xing says that morale was getting low at the bank and they needed a means to reward employees for digging deep and keeping the company going. Venngo offered a low-cost option to reward employees for their hard work without diving too deep into the company coffers. With organizations across Canada feeling that same pressure now, Venngo is making a similar value proposition. They’ve retooled their program, too, to line up with the dramatic changes in consumer behavior caused by this pandemic.

“Venngo has always offered discounts on a broad range of products of services and flexible ways to take advantage of the offers,” says Tom De Iulis, SVP of product and strategy at Venngo. “In servicing a country as large and diverse as Canada we have always had a strong roster of brand partners that provide their services online and are able to deliver nationwide.”

De Iulis says that online shopping was strong component of the program well before the pandemic. As with so many other trends, the COVID-19 pandemic largely served to accelerate a focus on online shopping and expanded to online ordering for curbside pickup or takeout. He says their focus is to deliver relevant, valuable offers within Venngo programs. During the pandemic they have been able to bring on new brand partners to WorkPerks that help employees save on essentials, comforts and joys.

“We also love our brick and mortar partners,” De Iulis says, “As those businesses needed to transition, we reached out to support them in any way we could as they began to offer take-out, curbside options and eventually started to reopen. We know our clients have their favourites and we wanted to make sure they knew if they were available.”  

With a large factory workforce that Xing says is far less tech savvy than ABCs salaried office employees, she wants to redouble her efforts in driving uptake of Venngo perks from staff and their families. It’s her role to bring all of ABCs employees to use the app. She expects that with the new push, more of their factory workers will take advantage of the savings offered by Venngo WorkPerks.

Xing is confident in Venngo during these difficult times because the WorkPerks company has worked out for her before. Despite the unprecedented nature of our current moment, she’s confident that a perks program can keep her team engaged and motivated for whatever lies ahead.

“Something smaller, like a perk program will be valued by employees,” Xing says. “They see that as a differentiator, because every organization provides a salary and benefits. But this is a something that reminds employee every day, every time they get a discount when they go shopping remind them that their company provides them with such a good saving opportunity.”

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