Corporate connect

Taking care of business = taking care of staff

Sharon Rowell, General Manager
Corporate Connect

A heartfelt commitment to helping people help themselves has led Wellington company Corporate Connect to offer its staff fully subsidised Southern Cross health insurance.

Established 15 years ago, Corporate Connect provides contact centre services for a wide range of clients in New Zealand and Australia. Working around the clock, seven days a week, its team does everything from making and responding to phone calls, emails, faxes, letters, texts and tweets, to doing market research, conducting promotional campaigns and taking and completing sales orders. The company also offers an outsourcing service, providing a 'mobile workforce' for clients who need on-site help.

This successful family business has grown from just five employees in 1995 to a core group of 45 full-time staff, supplemented by a resource of around 150 casual workers employed to meet workload demand. It prides itself on paying its staff well, but recognises that many of them come from low - and middle-income backgrounds.

"This," says General Manager Sharon Rowell, "was a key driver behind the company's decision to offer Southern Cross health insurance to all its full-time staff."

Ensuring timely treatment for staff

"It was obvious that some of our staff had health related issues that were affecting their work and home lives," says Sharon. "For example, one person was taking time off work to look after a child suffering frequent bouts of tonsillitis, and another was coming to work with a splint on her elbow. Both were on public waiting lists for operations and I could see they were struggling. I thought, 'We must be able to do something to help'."

One call to Southern Cross was all it took. Corporate Connect now offers all its full-time staff fully subsidised surgical cover through the Wellbeing One plan. What's more, a number of staff have chosen to pay for their partners and children and added optional modules, such as cover for vision and dental care.

"It's great to know that our staff have access to healthcare without having to wait for it, says Sharon. We're helping them in situations where they simply can't help themselves - and in turn we reap the benefits of having them at their desks, and able to focus on what can be very complex and stressful work."

Offering a health and wellness package

Corporate Connect's health insurance offer complements a number of wellbeing initiatives.

The company regularly organises social activities with its staff and their families, has a well established walking group, and has recently introduced free flu injections for all full, and part-time staff who've been on board for more than three months. In 2012, it went one step further, arranging stress and resilience workshops for 100 staff involved in the Christchurch earthquake response. The workshops worked so well that the company's considering offering them on a regular basis.

"We want to do everything we can to have a happy and productive workforce," says Sharon.

Initiatives like these are paying off. Corporate Connect's employee turnover rates are significantly lower than the average call centre rates, and its staff clearly appreciate the Southern Cross package. As one of those who've made claims for surgery, Managing Director Ann Rowell is delighted.

"While my condition wasn't life-threatening, I wanted to get it treated as quickly as possible," she says. "Southern Cross was great to work with; they sorted everything out and took all the worry away."

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