With demand for talent increasing, organisations are looking at different ways to attract and retain employees. Along with a diverse and inclusive culture, rewards or perks are seen by some as key.
Looking to help businesses manage perks is UK company Perkbox. Ben Leeds, who started at Perkbox as a product manager in 2014 and is now the company’s Australian country manager, said the company wants to “create a better society by helping employees succeed, in life and at work”.
“Employees spend a third of their lives at work, but there is no longer a clear split between life at work and life outside of it,” he said. In fact, a recent survey of 2,000 working Britons found three in 10 feel they’re regularly being kept up at night thinking about work.
“Employers have a responsibility to ensure they’re providing their staff with the ability to live financially, physically, and mentally healthy lives,” Leeds said.
Perkbox looks to help employers fulfil that responsibility through a variety of products, three of which are now available in Australia.
The Perks platform provides employees with unlimited access to discounts and free products and services across 17 categories, to cover their financial, physical, and emotional wellbeing. There are a few ‘flash perks’, or special offers that are live for a short period of time, while others run longer.
As Leeds explained, the Perks look to cover each aspect of an employee’s daily life, inside and outside of work; they cover groceries and petrol through to dining and entertainment.
“We’ve even got perks you can use to book holidays and for learning and development purposes in order to upskill yourself, if it’s something that can bring value to your daily routine,” he said.
Its Recognition tool, meanwhile, looks to help teams recognise and celebrate achievements company-wide, and Insights helps employers measure employee engagement and create an environment where people feel safe sharing information and raising issues.
Counting the likes of Deliveroo, Nando’s, and Pandora among its customers, Leeds said the company works with businesses as small as those with five employees through to corporates.
“The key segment for us is businesses who understand the value in creating a great company culture and who are willing to invest in making their team happier, more productive and more engaged. Unfortunately this is not every business,” he said.
Founded in the UK, Australia is the second expansion market for Perkbox, which also launched into France last month. As Leeds explained, global expansion was always the ambition, however the company was limited by its technology in the early days.
“In 2017 we invested considerably in our product and technology; including rebuilding our platform from scratch so that it was capable of being used all over the world,” he said.
Rather than rolling out across Europe before heading down under, Leeds said Australia was chosen because early market testing was “resoundingly positive” and the data showed interest and demand for the product.
“Of course, it’s also an awesome place to live and work so there was no shortage of volunteers to move from our London office over here!” he said.
There are a couple of Australian platforms working on various aspects of the employee wellbeing, culture, and perks sphere: Culture Amp, for example, is making it easier for employers to collect, understand and act on employee feedback, while EmploymentHero helps employers connect staff to benefits.
However, Leeds believes Perkbox doesn’t have any direct competitors catering across the whole sphere of employee experience.
“This is great for us in some ways but also means that we need to delicately introduce ourselves into the market while showing Australian businesses that we can provide them with value,” he said.
“While there are no direct competitors, in what we do as a whole, there are certainly indirect competitors that are doing some interesting things. We particularly like some of the financial wellbeing initiatives that some of the Australian-grown businesses are offering, they are very much aligned with our mission.”
As it looks to grow in Australia, Leeds said Perkbox is focused on ensuring its customer experience is “top notch”.
“We want to grow but not at the cost of having a low quality experience for our customers and their teams,” he said.