Our Employee Benefits Program – what is it & how can you become a part of it?

I was asked this week by a client this week if I stand in the shower coming up with ideas……. yes, yes I do.

About 7 weeks ago after struggling to secure candidates for 2 clients for an ongoing period (and who in the Goldfields isn’t experiencing this right now) I wondered if I could put together an Employee Benefits Program like I had for previous employers – except on this occasion it would need to suit multiple employers, a diverse range of industries from not for profit to mining contractors, not have the “buying power” of a large employee base and I would have the unenviable task of trying to convince fellow small businesses in Kalgoorlie, most doing it tough in retail, why supplying a discount on purchases or services is actually a marketing business driver as opposed to a business negative.

And so the seed for pulling together an Employee Benefits Program to benefit my clients and their employees was sown 🌱

The Employee Benefit Program is absolutely FREE 😱 to my clients and is strategically designed to assist with attracting new employees, retaining existing ones and building a positive workplace culture & employee brand. The strategies can assist with not just saving money by reducing turnover but makes the business more sustainable, every time an employee walks out the door they’re taking their organisational knowledge with them. And in an era where everyone is a subject matter expert in something, that puts most businesses in a precarious position.

What I was hearing & seeing from clients was the lack of ability to compete against the bigger employers in town with their deep, deep pockets. And quite often the salary on offer was comparable, if not equal to the big companies, but the the lack of capacity, for whatever reason, to match the additional extras hit their efforts hard.

So I’ve taken the guess work, and hard work, out of getting a program in place, and taking a proven, proactive measure against the hiring difficulties for small – medium businesses in the Goldfields.

The program is essentially a win / win for local business, my clients & their employees gain access to the program and it’s benefits, while participating retailers can improve the spend & repeat business of residents through a proven marketing method, all the while supporting fellow small businesses in town.

So what does the program offer?

Salary Packaging – Eligible employees can salary package their housing costs as remote area employees and / or a novated lease. Not sure how it all works? As we are based in a remote area as classified by the ATO, employees are able to claim Remote Area Benefits on items such as Remote Area Mortgage Interest, Remote Area Rent, Remote Area Fuel (gas & electricity) and Remote Area Travel. Normally tax is taken from your salary before you spend it. You then pay all your expenses and are left with the remainder. With salary packaging, the employer pays the same salary – but instead of paying all your expenses after you’re taxed, you pay for selected expenses, such as your mortgage or rent before you’re taxed. You reduce the tax you pay and are left with more spending money in the kitty. Normally salary packaging providers will only conduct business with individual employers with > 40 employees, after an Australia wide hunt I managed to track down a provider able to service small business needs

Corporate Gym Membership – Snap Fitness Kalgoorlie have come on board to supply corporate membership to the program. Encouragement of a fit & healthy workforce by way of corporate gym memberships can assist with a reduction in absence due to illness and a reduction of injuries, both at work and away, due to poor functional capacity.

A host of discounts on products & services – Because I have such a diverse range of clients I need to have a diverse range of offers to make the program a success. As much as I can, I have tried to keep the program 100% local, but, and this is a very big but, I work for my clients first and foremost and this program needs to be as diverse as my client base for it to have a chance at success. For that reason I will continue to try and build on the initial dozen or so participants by engaging with national franchises to encourage them to get on board, a discount program without any businesses willing to supply a discount just isn’t going to work.

So whats in it for you Simone? Total honesty? I’d love for Goldfields businesses to have the chance to experience the full scope of what contemporary HR can do for their business. I honestly believe that some of the staffing issues felt by employers can by directly traced back to a lack of, or poor, processes involving employees and the leadership team (whoa! big call). Yep, we are definitely experiencing a skills shortage with trades & operator positions and yep Kalgoorlie is experiencing a liveability crisis that is being reflected in the high number of FIFO employees and a general reluctance of people to uproot their lives and give living in the Goldfields a chance. But, not everyone starting a new job here is a newbie to town, they are an existing resident who has left a local employer, and happy employees don’t leave great workplaces unless they really have to. So in summary, what that means is I’d love to be able to build my business by being able to share strategies that will also help you build yours.

I’ve put hours and hours of work into this and I receive absolutely no financial incentive off it, I don’t charge clients to participate, I don’t receive kick backs from program suppliers – ZILCH.

So how is this all sounding? Contact me on the link below if you’d like to set the wheels in motion to become a client, if you’d like more info click here to watch a vlog over on Facebook.

Like what you see? Click around and discover how partnering with us can give your business a competitive advantage by aligning strategy with people & culture, or, give us a like on Facebook for regular updates on industry trends, blog posts & photo’s of me having coffee at my regular haunts and / or my dog & cat disrupting my work day

Simone Pickering | The People & Culture Office

It’s time for HR to move beyond policies, practices and processes. The People & Culture Office can partner with you to gain a competitive advantage through people & culture initiatives Contact Us to arrange an appointment to discuss what solutions we can put in place to drive achievement of your strategic goals.

Rethinking social media at work

Employee Instragram | HR Consultant | The People & Culture Office Kalgoorlie

Posting inappropriate memes. Instagramming lunches. Facebooking a few office selfies. Browsing instead of working. Snapchatting Sharon trying to fix the printer.

These are the events companies imagine will takeover the work day if they let employees use social media on the job. Unfortunately, for businesses that ban the use of social media in the workplace, it is likely your employees are using it regardless of your policy (after all, thanks to smartphones we all have access to Facebook, Insta & Snapchat 24×7 without reliance on the work internet connection). Instead of wasting time and energy policing social media use at work, lets take a look at how business can leverage it to their advantage.

Social media use for marketing, communication or customer services purposes is no longer the new shiny thing, it’s been here for a while and it’s here to stay.

Recently Sonia from Scribe & Social wrote this post on Elevating your Social Media, click through to learn how to create an authentic voice for your business.

When I think about the case for social media in the workplace, there are many opportunities to leverage these tools as we become a more mobile and visual workforce that is literally always on the go. Social media is poised to become the office and workplace productivity tool of choice. I see 5 genuine categories where social media can be used at work helping to improve productivity, work flow and overall communication between teams, managers and business leaders who are tasked with reaching an audience of employees who are overwhelmed, disengaged and bombarded with tasks and responsibilities more than ever before.

  • Distribution and Communication. You want to reach your audience quickly and through multiple channels to ensure that the message and information is received and mostly absorbed by your employees.  Workplace by Facebook is a tool to connect employees via IM, video chat and groups to share work related information. I was lucky enough to take a look at it in practice at a local business in Kalgoorlie not long ago and was impressed by how they were using it as a communication tool. However, social media, just like any other comms tool, quite simply, will work for some businesses and not for others. It depends on the culture, the demographic and how much you can invest into it.
  • Recruitment and Hiring. Employers should look to their current workforce first to fill job openings. What better way that setting up social media or digital communication channels for employees to receive job openings to their mobile phones via instant message, direct message or by text. Social media is also a great source for engaging candidates externally. So while we are on the subject, take a look at your business Facebook, Linkedin and Instagram pages through the eyes of a potential employee, a potential employee who’s likely to be a Millennial. Do you like what you see? Is your content a good mix of sharing what you do and a touch of the personal? Does it speak in an authentic voice? Does it speak to your demographic?
  • Research and Personal Development. Social media such as Linkedin allows you access to peers, experts and individuals providing you networking opportunities, insights into experiences and most importantly personal development.
  • Employee Recognition and Engagement. Do you give out quarterly awards for employees who go above and beyond at work? Tell your social network about it! Not only are you giving a very public shoutout to the employees in question you are actively showing employees & visitors to your pages you value your employees & the work they do. Content sharing can be really powerful for spreading your message, your employees are likely to have connections that sit within your target demographic. If you can identify the active social employees within your business and recruit them to become social media champions, they can have a huge impact on sharing content to build your brand & following.
  • Employment Branding. Social media and recruiting has evolved into almost a science where candidates are reached through campaigns just like your business marketing, except this strategy is focused on the job seeker long before they apply for a job and become a candidate. Employment branding is complex like most marketing strategies and involves an understanding of the candidate you are trying to reach, your industry and geographic locations as well as experience working in HR and recruiting. I’ve written more about employment branding here and here

The most important thing to consider with social media, is that you will only get out of it what you put in. It’s really important to listen to the conversation taking place and find ways to engage your employees, by creating and sharing relevant content.

As use of mobile technology rises, it is important for businesses to give content human appeal and make the message sound genuine. Social media isn’t rocket science but you have to try things out until you find a way that works for you.

It’s time for HR to move beyond policies, practices and processes. The People & Culture Office can partner with you to gain a competitive advantage through people & culture initiatives Contact Us to arrange an appointment to discus what solutions we can put in place to drive achievement of your strategic goals.

Like what you see? Click around and discover how partnering with us can give your business a competitive advantage by aligning strategy with people & culture, or, give us a like on Facebook for regular updates on industry trends, blog posts & photo’s of me having coffee at my regular haunts and / or my dog & cat disrupting my work day

Simone Pickering | The People & Culture Office

BASED IN KALGOORLIE, THE PEOPLE & CULTURE OFFICE IS AN INDEPENDENT HR CONSULTANT WHO CAN PARTNER WITH YOU TO OFFER A ONE STOP HR SOLUTION, WE ONLY CHARGE YOU FOR THE WORK WE PERFORM; NO CONTRACTS, NO ANNUAL OR MONTHLY FEES, JUST QUALITY SERVICE. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE

Why employee benefits should be on your radar

Indulge me if you will

Let’s pretend you are looking for a new job, you’ve just been for 2 interviews for comparable jobs. Both jobs are great, the companies appear great, your potential new boss come across as great – everything was great. Great, great, great.

Employer A discussed salary and benefits; flexibility with hours – yep sure it’s 12 hour shifts and the work is dictated by the client but if you want a few extra days off here and there to go away it’s no drama, they understand you want a life. They also offer salary packaging, discounts on everyday items like gym membership and a monthly lunchtime BBQ if you’re in the workshop. HECK YEAH!

Employer B only offers a salary, don’t get me wrong it’s a very, very competitive salary so you ask a few questions to try and get an idea of how they stack up against Employer A. “You mentioned that quite often you work 14 shifts on 2 shifts off, can you request extra unpaid days off to have a better break” “Only if you book it as annual leave well in advance because we can’t really afford to not have people at work” hmmmmm, “Do you offer any extra benefits at all?” “No” End of conversation.

Which job would you choose?

The dynamic of the workforce is changing, the days are long gone when employees expected very little from their employers except for their wages at the end of the week. 

These days, increasing numbers of skilled employees expect a lot more from the companies that they work for. With many companies offering impressive perks and benefits for their workers, the pressure is on for businesses of all sizes to up their game and to offer something more to their staff than simply the satisfaction of a job well done.

In-fact, millennials, more so than any other group, prioritise access to additional benefits as a driving factor towards choice of employer, and before you chalk this up to yet another reason for you to (unjustifiably) hate on millennials consider this – millennials make up 50% of the workforce. You can no longer bury your head in the sand. The workforce is changing, you either change with it or ring the bell and get off the bus.

In Australia, employment opportunities remain strong and employers are grappling with a talent shortage, Australian workers enjoy a high degree of choice of employer. Quite often business owners & leaders can overestimate the loyalty of their employees, and their ability to source new ones if and when required, with a significant gap in perceptions of the employer – employee relationship. 

Numerous Australian studies reveal employees prioritise workplaces that offer benefits over higher salaries that trade off against additional perks. Big ticket items are a healthy balance to life; favourable working conditions & health & wellness benefits. Financial savings; discounts on everyday items, access to wealth creation strategies. And career development opportunities; access to relevant workshops / seminars / training and / or acting or promotional opportunities.

And now comes the sell, you may have received one of these babies in the past fortnight or saw it plastered it all over social media.

I am working on pulling together an Employee Benefit Program to assist my clients with the attraction and the retention of employees. What I was hearing & seeing from clients was the lack of ability to compete against the bigger employers in town with their deep, deep pockets. And quite often the salary on offer was comparable, if not equal to the big companies, but the the lack of capacity, for whatever reason, to match the additional extras hit their efforts hard.

So I’ve taken the guess work, and hard work, out of getting a program in place, and taking a proven, proactive measure against the hiring difficulties for small – medium businesses in the Goldfields.

I mean, after this who wouldn’t want to be my client!! 🤣 But seriously, the ability to participate in this program is reliant on you being an ongoing client of mine, so engaging me to implement your HR framework or implement a performance management program, a comparatively small cost for a potentially large return on investment.

If you are a retailer or service provider and you haven’t received the flyer as yet, and you love to join to have another avenue to drive sales to your business please contact me today! The more diversity & variety the program can offer the greater the chance of it being a success.

It’s time for HR to move beyond policies, practices and processes. The People & Culture Office can partner with you to gain a competitive advantage through people & culture initiatives Contact Us to arrange an appointment to discus what solutions we can put in place to drive achievement of your strategic goals.

Like what you see? Click around and discover how partnering with us can give your business a competitive advantage by aligning strategy with people & culture, or, give us a like on Facebook for regular updates on industry trends, blog posts & photo’s of me having coffee at my regular haunts and / or my dog & cat disrupting my work day

Simone Pickering | The People & Culture Office

BASED IN KALGOORLIE, THE PEOPLE & CULTURE OFFICE IS AN INDEPENDENT HR CONSULTANT WHO CAN PARTNER WITH YOU TO OFFER A ONE STOP HR SOLUTION, WE ONLY CHARGE YOU FOR THE WORK WE PERFORM; NO CONTRACTS, NO ANNUAL OR MONTHLY FEES, JUST QUALITY SERVICE. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE

Elevate your Social Media in 2019

The People & Culture Office | Scribe & Social
Sonia, Chief Storyteller, Scribe and Social

About 5 years ago I stumbled across Sonia Bavistock (and Amalfi aka the cutest dog in the world) on Facebook through her fashion styling page Sonia Styling and then later Scribe and Social, her social media management business. Since launching The People & Culture Office just shy of 12 months ago, Scribe and Social has helped me make sense of my social media content creation, and, through Sonia’s newsletters, Instagram and practical tips I have been able to put together a social media plan that is reflective of not just what I want my business to be & say, but (I think) my personality as well. But what has really drawn me to Scribe and Social is a shared philosophy of wanting to share our knowledge solely because we want to see people & business do well & then to celebrate your successes with you. So please, let me introduce you to Sonia from Scribe & Social, my guest blogger this week.

Have you noticed it?

There is a huge push towards authenticity online these days. 

Yes, social media is a highlight reel – an edited version of life – but that doesn’t mean it can’t be authentic. 

If you want to see real cut-through and real engagement, you mustn’t be afraid to share. Telling our stories is how we connect as people and it is what can set you apart as a business. 

Of course, the picture can be pretty, but the words must be honest.

And so, whether you’re wanting to improve your engagement or simply try some new things, here are five ways you can use social media as a business to connect with your audience.

The People & Culture Office | Scribe & Social

1. Show up

What makes your business unique? You. Let your followers see and get to know the person behind the account. Include photos of yourself (and your team) in your feed. Or if that’s not appropriate, show up in Instagram Stories. Start small and share little snippets, consistently. It’s the best way to create a community online.

2. Invite interaction

Make your followers feel valued by inviting them to interact with you. Ask them questions. Ask their opinion. Ask their advice. What do they like? What do they prefer? What would they like to see next? End each caption with an invitation or a call to action. Remember, the post is just the start of the conversation.

3. Use videos

Video content is easy to consume and conveys your message with clarity. It’s also a great way for people to get to know the personality of your business. Get comfortable with being on video and get confident with simple video editing apps. In this day and age, all you need is your phone to get started with video. And the very best place to start? On Instagram Stories.

4. Engage more, post less

Posting isn’t the only way to be discovered. Engage with other accounts – reply to comments, have a chat in DMs, comment on other people’s posts. Add value to conversations all over social media. If you show up with purpose and authenticity, you will be noticed. As for posting, do it to add value, not out of obligation.

5. Get personal

In this automated day and age, are there any touchpoints you can personalise? Some ways to do this include using their name in email marketing. Sending them a voucher on their birthday. Speaking to them on the phone. Including a handwritten thank you note with an order. Using their name in social media interactions (comments). Sending them a voice or video reply via DM.

So, forget about the numbers! Instead, focus on delivering valuable, useful content. Build relationships with your followers. Serve them well. And see the positive impact this has on your business online.

Sonia Bavistock bio:

Sonia Bavistock is a fashion and lifestyle blogger (Sonia Styling). For the past 6 years, she has taught herself everything digital and social media and built a community of nearly 35,000 engaged and loyal readers and followers. She has also worked on national campaigns with well-known brands such as Schwarzkopf, Katies, Australia Post and Bupa – to name a few.

In 2017, Sonia took everything she’s learned online and offline to launch Scribe and Social and help other business owners with their social media and copywriting.

Scribe and Social is all about online presence with substance and style.

 Sonia from Scribe & Social, guest blogger on The People & Culture Office
Sonia Bavistock

It’s time for HR to move beyond policies, practices and processes. The People & Culture Office can partner with you to gain a competitive advantage through people & culture initiatives Contact Us to arrange an appointment to discus what solutions we can put in place to drive achievement of your strategic goals.

Like what you see? Click around and discover how partnering with us can give your business a competitive advantage by aligning strategy with people & culture, or, give us a like on Facebook for regular updates on industry trends, blog posts & photo’s of me having coffee at my regular haunts and / or my dog & cat disrupting my work day

Simone Pickering | The People & Culture Office

BASED IN KALGOORLIE, THE PEOPLE & CULTURE OFFICE IS AN INDEPENDENT HR CONSULTANT WHO CAN PARTNER WITH YOU TO OFFER A ONE STOP HR SOLUTION, WE ONLY CHARGE YOU FOR THE WORK WE PERFORM; NO CONTRACTS, NO ANNUAL OR MONTHLY FEES, JUST QUALITY SERVICE. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE

Talk is cheap & no-one’s buying

Have you ever attend an interview where the Manager & HR rep have waxed lyrical about what a great place it is to work? How they are really just like a big family and believe in having a laugh at work, how they have great benefits and are an employer of choice, how they love to invest in their employees’ career through training & career progression opportunities. Everything is going great, essentially you’re buying what they’re selling and then it happens. You walk through the office to leave and you notice that everyone looks miserable, you might hear an employee speaking rudely to another, you’re introduced to a team member and they give you that knowing smirk that can only be interpreted as good luck sucker. Or maybe you notice it on day 1 or after week 1; there’s a major disconnect from the picture painted at interview of the job / working environment / organisational values and the reality, the workplace culture is shocking and you’ve just made a terrible mistake.

Broken down to it’s most simplest form, workplace culture is the sum of the messages & behaviours exhibited by management, and the messages and behaviours exhibited by employees, if you aren’t all on the same track & heading to the same destination then at some point the wheels are going to fall off. (And thats enough car analogies from me)

So as a business manager or owner what can you do to ensure that you are crafting the culture you want & need for business success?

Organisational culture is accepted behaviour, not expected behaviour

Make sure you have the right people in leadership positions – Your leadership team can make or break your organisation, nothing destroys culture (and subsequently productivity, attendance & attitude) like weak leaders or those that exhibit poor communication or interpersonal skills.

Know where you are headed & who you need to get there – Look at what behaviours you have in your organisation, to achieve your operational goals what behaviours would you like to encourage to get you there? Implement initiatives that co-exist with your strategic plan and core values to build the workforce demographic that best suits your needs.

Let your culture feed into performance management – Think that performance management is all about the dreaded annual review where you focus on tasks, outputs and KPI’s? Think again, an effective performance management process should be designed to provide feedback not only on performance but on behaviours and how they align with your desired workplace culture.

Use culture in the job design & recruitment process – The focus should be on values based recruitment; having the right people, in the right place, at the right time. When writing job descriptions include cultural and values based behavioural indicators to ensure your expectations are made clear from the get – go.

Have a name for treating employees fairly – This is pretty self explanatory as far as reputation & risk minimisation goes but this philosophy can see enhanced attitudes & buy-in towards safety, community values and ethical behaviour.

It’s time for HR to move beyond policies, practices and processes. The People & Culture Office can partner with you to gain a competitive advantage through people & culture initiatives Contact Us to arrange an appointment to discus what solutions we can put in place to drive achievement of your strategic goals.

Like what you see? Click around and discover how partnering with us can give your business a competitive advantage by aligning strategy with people & culture, or, give us a like on Facebook for regular updates on industry trends, blog posts & photo’s of me having coffee at my regular haunts and / or my dog & cat disrupting my work day

BASED IN KALGOORLIE, THE PEOPLE & CULTURE OFFICE IS AN INDEPENDENT HR CONSULTANT WHO CAN PARTNER WITH YOU TO OFFER A ONE STOP HR SOLUTION, WE ONLY CHARGE YOU FOR THE WORK WE PERFORM; NO CONTRACTS, NO ANNUAL OR MONTHLY FEES, JUST QUALITY SERVICE. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE

So, what is HR? …. no really…

If I were to ask you what HR is, and what function they play within a business what would you say? Fun police? Managements puppet? Someone that hires people? That pain in the butt function that you force someone in finance to do? Stunningly beautiful and intelligent individuals? A value adder to the business? Well, how you answered will vary greatly on A) how well you understand the business function; B) the caliber of HR people you’ve interacted with or C) you are my husband answering this with (the very smart response of) stunningly beautiful and intelligent individuals.

First and foremost HR should have a presence in your business as a strategic partner, as someone who can breakdown your business goals into practical and contemporary people and culture initiatives to both build capacity within the business, and to assist with achieving the strategic outcomes of the organisation. Sure, on a base level HR is about protecting the business from unnecessary risk; embedding policies and procedures; ensuring said policies and procedures are followed; provision of industrial relations advice to management; ensuring you dot your i’s and cross your t’s. But beyond the legal aspect, the contribution by HR to your business success can not, and should not, be understated.

Human Resources isn’t a thing we do, it’s a thing that runs our business

The concept that HR is just policies, hiring and firing is a very 90’s business model. As more and more corporations have HR sitting at an executive level, contributing to strategy discussions and being viewed as an integral cog in the leadership machine, the expectations on HR’s contribution to the business have increased exponentially. There is now an expectation that HR policies and initiatives will be well considered, best practice models to guide, develop, motivate and reward employees. Policies built around, and for the sole purpose of legislation will always be a constant. But a great HR professional should be able to dissect your Strategic & Operational Plans and Core Values to build HR initiatives that make your workplace somewhere employees enjoy coming to everyday; to encourage performance and behaviours that build a team that takes ownership and accountability of their actions; that builds a workplace where everyone is heading in the same direction. In short, they help build the workforce demographic that you NEED to achieve your business goals.

Build your people & your people will build your business

A lot of business owners I speak to say they are too small to implement a lot of these types of practices, but in reality, the ethos applies across the board – big or small, it just gets massaged and moulded until it suits your business. A successful business is a successful business, whether it has 10 employees or 1000 employees, if you want to have a successful business you need to think strategically, plan & implement.

The challenge to compete and be successful is a challenge that all businesses, regardless of size, must embrace to remain sustainable within the business environment. For example a big challenge for employers is the ability to attract and retain the right people. A skilled HR professional will tap into the changing labour market that now highly values organisational leadership & reputation, the work environment, support structures and recognition & opportunities, and develop initiatives that address these concerns thus working to reduce turnover and create more engaged employees who behave in ways to support the business and consistently look for ways to create value.

It’s time for HR to move beyond policies, practices and processes, HR’s value proposition to business is to ensure HR professionals and their practices’ produce positive outcomes for key stakeholders, employees, line managers, customers and investors. The People & Culture Office can partner with you to gain a competitive advantage through people & culture initiatives Contact Us to arrange an appointment to discus what solutions we can put in place to drive achievement of your strategic goals.

Like what you see? Click around and discover how partnering with us can give your business a competitive advantage by aligning strategy with people & culture, or, give us a like on Facebook for regular updates on industry trends, blog posts & photo’s of me having coffee at my regular haunts and / or my dog & cat disrupting my work day

BASED IN KALGOORLIE, THE PEOPLE & CULTURE OFFICE IS AN INDEPENDENT HR CONSULTANT WHO CAN PARTNER WITH YOU TO OFFER A ONE STOP HR SOLUTION, WE ONLY CHARGE YOU FOR THE WORK WE PERFORM; NO CONTRACTS, NO ANNUAL OR MONTHLY FEES, JUST QUALITY SERVICE. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE