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4 new perks offered by Australia's best workplaces

Amantha Imber
Top 4 perks by Australia's best employers. Source: Getty
Top 4 perks by Australia's best employers. Source: Getty

Over 40 percent of the global workforce are considering leaving their employer this year, according to research just released by Microsoft. That's almost every second person you will talk to in your company today.

This lack of engagement is not only damaging for culture, it’s bad for the bottom line. Research by Gallup shows that companies with highly engaged workforces outperform their less-engaged peers by a whopping 147 per cent in earnings per share.

In the 2021 Australian Financial Review BOSS Best Places to Work list top ranking workplaces, that ranks Australia and New Zealand’s best workplaces across ten different industries, embraced 2020 as an opportunity to provide an amazing experience to staff, even when the outside world was looking very grim.

Here are the top four perks dished out by Australia's best workplaces.

1. Mental health support

While mental health programs were popular amongst almost all entrants, PHD Media created an initiative called Heart on my Sleeve. 

PHD Media topped the Best Places to Work for the Media and Marketing industry, and the initiative aimed to open up conversations around mental health through sharing personal stories. 

Staff were asked to share their personal mental health journeys and the result was a 15-page e-book of courageous and vulnerable stories from staff.

After the initiative was shared in the trade press, many agencies ended up replicating the idea and unlocked more supportive conversations around mental health across the industry.

“The honesty and authenticity shared in the book helped put mental health at the forefront of the industry. I am incredibly proud of everyone involved,” says Mark Jarrett, CEO of PHD Australia

2. Physical health support

It’s easy to dismiss staff perks as something only big companies can afford. But at Carman’s kitchen, who have a team of 50, perks have long been part of the organisation and became even more valued during 2020.

At Carman’s Kitchen, who was awarded the Most Outstanding Practice – Employee Wellbeing, staff’s physical health is well looked after. 

The team get free lunches in the office every day and discounted homemade meals for when they are working from home. Weekly yoga, meditation and fitness classes are offered onsite and virtually.

As an added bonus, when working from home, staff were given an allowance to spend on art and craft supplies for their children.

3. COVID leave

Australasia’s best workplaces recognised that 2020 was tough. One of the ways these companies acknowledged this is in providing bonus paid leave. 

While many of the top-ranking companies provided up to a week of extra paid leave, it was Australia’s largest bank that took generosity to the next level. 

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia, who was awarded the Most Outstanding Practice – Employee Flexibility, provided staff with an additional 10 days of paid leave in 2020.

4. Work from anywhere

While moving to working from home was a benefit seen across the board in this year’s Best Places to Work list, SixPivot took things a step further by letting staff Work From Anywhere. SixPivot ranked #2 in the Best Places to Work in the technology industry.

What is perhaps surprising about SixPivot’s Work From Anywhere policy is that it’s actually been in place for five years. Individuals have true flexibility in deciding where and how they work, and indeed, can work from another country if they want to.

“SixPivot’s Work from Anywhere policy was born out of a deep desire to provide true flexibility and support for people to work from where they work best and be able to change that up based on how they felt each day or what suited their customer and home commitments on the day,” says CEO Faith Rees.

While many workplaces stepped up to provide a better experience for staff during 2020, Australasia’s best workplaces went far beyond the norm. Check out the full list of winners of this year’s AFR BOSS Best Places to Work list and get more inspiration for what you can do to improve your workplace.

Dr Amantha Imber is the Founder of Inventium, Australia’s leading behavioural science consultancy and the co-creator of the AFR Boss Best Places to Work list. Amantha is also the host of How I Work, a podcast about the habits and rituals of the world’s most successful people.

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