Employee Benefits, Global
Spotlight on Australia – the global benefits tech success story
The next stop on our global benefits tour is Australia. Australia’s strong trade and investment relationships with the world’s fastest growing economies means they’re a natural gateway for international business, and technology is now the third largest sector contributing to Australian GDP. A dynamic, diverse and very competitive talent market means that organisations are starting to do more to recruit the best people – particularly when it comes to the employee experience and employee wellbeing.
Although the range of benefits available in Australia isn’t as wide as some other regions, there’s still a need to provide seamless employee experience that shows the value of everything on offer, and the typical core offering has grown over the last few years. Our customers in the region use OneHub to create a single hub for employees to access superannuation, benefit information, discount portals, and wellbeing content.
A brief overview of the benefits landscape in Australia
- Australia’s superannuation system for retirement saving is a compulsory requirement and companies must pay 10% of salary into a superfund (a long-term investment fund) for employees.
- Employees can opt to contribute either on a regular or a one-off basis, with potential tax advantages. Employees can make voluntary contributions – by setting up salary sacrifice with their employer or making personal contributions.
- Employees can generally choose what fund their super is invested in, and how it is invested.
- There are caps on how much employees can contribute to their super without paying extra tax, which depend on whether contributions are made from before-tax or post-tax income and earnings.
- When employees leave the company, they take their fund with them.
Although there is state provision for medical costs via the government run Medicare, more than half of Australian residents have a top up plan. Medicare doesn’t cover private treatment and there are limits to the types of treatments covered.
Health insurance is typically purchased by employees rather than via a company plan. Some employers provide an allowance or reimbursement scheme; this allows employees to choose their own cover, add family members and select options such as dental, lower deductibles, and outpatient care. In some cases, larger employers may offer a group plan and this coverage may include things like physical therapy, dental and optical coverage.
Life insurance is increasingly being offered by employers, with many employees expecting it to feature in their core benefits package. Coverage is based on either years of service or is a flat rate of 3 times the employee’s annual salary.
Disability insurance is provided as part of the core benefits package for selected professions and higher-grade employees, and cover is typically 75% of annual salary.
To create an offering that’s above the market median and gives employees greater choice, some companies are introducing a wider range of voluntary benefits, including:
- Wellbeing allowances
- Discount portals
- Car leasing
- Health screening
- Private plans for medical and life insurance that enable employees to flex cover
Wellbeing allowances have become increasingly common over the last few years, as employees demand greater wellbeing support; our global research found that the number one factor that employees now consider when choosing an employer is evidence of a strong commitment to employee wellbeing (Benefex, Evolution Research).
Even in companies where headcounts are smaller, the administration savings that come with using a platform like OneHub to administer benefits is significant. Our customers are keen to deliver Superannuation selections through OneHub to provide maximum flexibility for employees at the same time as simplifying the process – and reducing the admin burden for local benefits teams.
OneHub allows employees to select their preferred super fund, check their membership or account number, and select their regular contribution levels or make a one-off contribution to their fund.
Here’s how Benefex customer, Salesforce, used OneHub to manage Superannuation and improve the employee experience…
The Salesforce success story
In Conversation with Tatiana Beidar, formerly Compensation and Benefits Manager, Salesforce
“When we partnered with Benefex, we had a rollout plan in place which meant we would kick off with Australia before launching in Singapore and Thailand. In Australia, benefits technology is still quite new for the market, but is emerging at pace. Here, we already had streamlined processes in place (although they were time-consuming), we knew the vendors, the frequency of reporting etc., which meant we had a good understanding of what worked and where the greatest opportunities might exist within OneHub.”
“Plus, the benefits themselves were mature; we already had the information we needed, and working with Benefex we could quickly begin to imagine how we wanted to build the experience for employees. Benefex were able to work with the benefit vendors to understand their needs and ensure that we eliminated manual processes and maximised the opportunities from automation.”
The challenge: Superannuation in Australia
“Our biggest pain point in Australia (with or without a platform) is superannuation.”
“There are two parts to this; the comprehensive and legislature-driven reporting guidelines, and the employee input side. The employee needs to perform certain actions like selecting their level of salary sacrifice and picking which fund they want to participate in. This is often still paper-driven, as it’s incredibly difficult to set up that reporting digitally – even in cases where that’s working, there are always exceptions and complications.”
“There are over 100 funds that an employee can select, as well as the employer fund and a private fund. Quite often there are codes to input, various fund names and different details required depending on your level of contribution and fund choice. These can be hard to understand, especially for people who don’t come across it often, which can obviously cause employees to have a negative experience. So, we thought about how we could improve the employee journey from the start. After analysing the retirement fund of 1,500 employees, we found that the majority fell into the ‘top 10’ superannuation funds.”
“We simplified the selection process with simple dropdown options when selecting the fund type. It’s helped avoid common errors like typos and misunderstandings, and has reduced the number of queries coming through to the HR support team.”
Getting employees on board with the change
“Looking back, the employees wanted a technological solution. Getting them used to it does require a change of behaviour; historically, our intranet site and our internal knowledge base had been the two key areas for finding benefits information.”
“We created a lot of buzz around our new platform launch, which naturally led our employees to search the new site, but to help affirm this, we simultaneously retired the intranet site; it became a single page that pointed people to the platform. Then, we streamlined the internal knowledge database. It still had the high-level overview of superannuation, but it directed employees to the new platform. We just took every opportunity to nudge employees towards the new platform and gradually change that behaviour.”
“As we launched the platform, employees found that the answers to their questions were built into the benefits pages. We saw a great reduction in the number of cases being raised as our employees were empowered to help themselves.”
“We’d said at the outset that our key metric would be the number of cases coming to the support team. As we migrated to the new technology, would we see more case numbers? Or would the ‘one stop shop’ approach help reduce the number of cases coming in? Of course, the case numbers reduced!”
“Our second metric was the background processes. Every week there would be a new challenge – payroll, finances, technology, reporting etc. For us, it was important to see that once we migrated, those processes worked smoothly, which they did. We also paid attention to whether we were getting any poor feedback from vendors who had integrated with the platform, which we didn’t.”
“Overall, our launch in Australia, Singapore, and Thailand was hugely successful. I think that because we always brought everything back to the employee experience and the user’s journey with the technology, our new system was always going to be a hit. Rolling out a global benefits platform in many territories is complex without a doubt, but when it’s an intuitive system that’s designed for both employees and admins, you can’t really miss!”