Your Reward Scheme, But Better in Every Way: Perkbox
No HR manager needs to be told that the working landscape has changed significantly, nor do they need to be reminded that of all the functions in a business, it’s Human Resources that has been most affected over the last 30 or so months. HR has taken on board the changes in its own work processes, and adapted to those of personnel across the organisation.
There’s been a huge swing toward a more equitable work-life balance and overall wellness, and those workers not finding what they need from their jobs are quick to join the so-called Great Resignation. Great HR managers are personalising support and wellness mechanisms for employees and taking in their stride the fact that the workforce is very much more distributed than the one that was in place at the beginning of 2020.
That disparate nature of the workforce was the first issue we addressed with Ross McDonald, a commercial leader with an enviable history of roles across the APAC region in companies like Google, Expedia, Nestle, and latterly, with Perkbox, where he is Country Manager for Australia and New Zealand.
Our first question was around whether the types of questions he’s asked about the Perkbox platform have changed since hybrid working has become more the norm. The answer? Perkbox being a digital platform, there’s little difference in delivery mechanism between workforces based in an office or one that’s 100% remote. “We describe ourselves as location agnostic,” he said, “and actually, we think it’s more important than ever to try to match benefits with hybrid working. The discount for the gym around the corner from the office doesn’t work so well anymore!”
Once a company reaches a couple of hundred employees, of course, having a broad range of benefits or perks on offer becomes more important, naturally enough – a broader range of people need a broader choice of benefits. Having a large company like Perkbox orchestrating benefits, recognition tools, wellness resources and so on has significant benefits and helps to harmonise workforces. Plus, as Ross points out, there are geographical considerations to take into account to ensure that “bonuses” that help provide a happier workforce are tuned to where the employee is. Woolworths and Coles vouchers resonate in Australia, whereas Sainsbury and Tesco vouchers provide equivalent benefits in the UK.
In a digital age, it’s inevitable that HR managers today have to be data managers in addition to human resource managers? The reporting capabilities in Perkbox’s back end may suggest, on paper at least, the need for a power user or some kind of data specialist. But, Ross told us, “We’re not asking HR managers to be super technologically-savvy to understand the technicalities [of the platform’s workings] – what we’re doing is surfacing the usage information.”
One metric, for example, is seeing engagement with the services on offer. This helps HR managers spot workforce trends and isolate any potential organisational issues (and where the organisation can address mental as well as physical health challenges):
“For some people, it’s a meditation […] with a yoga session, Pilates or a high-intensity workout. I think our platform is able to offer choice. The early adopters of the Wellness Hub were surprised by the breadth of the things that people were choosing – you can’t predict who might want to access that type of resource, but we know that employees are grateful for the support when they need it.”
Perkbox may be seen as a wellness “app”, but like the diversity of people’s choices of what they access, there’s also diversity in the uses that companies end up putting the platform to. Ross told us many organisations, for example, use the platform’s ability to spread recognition of people who’ve contributed most to the wellbeing of others, who’s been most supportive, and letting colleagues know that their efforts are appreciated. That type of recognition for team members is very much part of the Zeitgeist, and it sits comfortably alongside more “traditional” digital accolades for a job well done. Certainly, the platform is adaptable enough to satisfy a broad church of need.
“Recognition within Perkbox works across [nearly] 200 countries. We’re offering relevant benefits in almost one third of those places, and focus has always been to ensure the benefits we offer everywhere are meaningful, not just a bit of confetti or fairy floss! The next mission is to continue expanding that geographical reach.”
Perkbox seems well on the way to this goal – it’s operating already in over 60 countries, with a network of well-sourced and relevant “perks” that organisations can offer their valued people. As we’ve seen, it goes beyond perks in the traditional sense of a discounted coffee or two. People in work today are different from who they were even a couple of years ago, and the changed needs of individuals are reflected in the platform.
To learn more about energising your people mentally, physically (and maybe even spiritually – it’s up to you!), check out Perkbox at the Workplace Wellness Festival. The company may run a digital platform, but it’s got human soul.