When your business involves connecting employers to potential employees, you learn a lot about the power of a good employment package. Here’s a gem: candidates often rank workplace benefits higher than the promise of a pay rise – and health insurance will often seal the deal. One recruitment agency has listened and learned from this, and now not only offers Southern Cross health insurance to its staff but advises its employer clients to do the same.
Recruitment Director Peter Clark is always on the lookout for new ways to achieve a competitive advantage. It’s been that way ever since he helped establish Dunedin-based Fluid Recruitment in 2009, after spotting a need for recruitment services in the South Island’s regional centres. Demand grew, and now the company’s reach extends to similar areas in the North Island – and to Sydney, from which Fluid services the wider New South Wales region.
Peter has assembled a talented team of 11 in the company’s Dunedin headquarters, and he’s keen to ensure that Fluid remains their employer of choice. So he’s applying a lesson he’s learned from the candidates he helps to find work: money isn’t always the main attraction – it could even be the last thing on the list, and candidates often rank workplace benefits higher than the promise of a pay rise.
Heeding candidates’ needs
“We operate in an extremely competitive market, where all employers are looking for ways to attract and retain staff,” says Peter. “Retention is often their biggest issue, because it can be hard to hold on to good people, and it costs so much time and money to replace them.
“Candidates’ needs are changing, and social media and other developments mean they’re more connected and informed than ever. They’re shopping around, and as well as asking about jobs and pay, they want to hear about ‘softer’ benefits – from the company culture and the working environment to things like health insurance and flexible hours.”
Peter comments that health insurance is always a popular choice among candidates, and it can have a pivotal role when they have two or more employers to choose from.
“Candidates really like the benefits of health insurance – especially if they’ve had it in previous roles – so there’s a lot of value attached. Ultimately, it can matter more to an individual than the salary.”
Peter’s experience mirrors the results of Southern Cross’s 2019 ‘Measuring the Benefits of Health Insurance’ survey, in which 56 per cent of employees said that employee benefits such as health insurance had been important to them in accepting their current roles. This leaped up to 79 per cent for those who’d had employer-subsidised health insurance when they’d accepted their previous roles.
Walking the talk
In 2018, Peter decided to offer Southern Cross health insurance to his team.
“Our recruitment consultants work on a salary and commission basis, so they have the opportunity to make good money. However, I understand their need for softer aspects of employment, and with that in mind we offer things like birthday holidays and standing desks. We also encourage walking meetings and social get-togethers, and as a team we support our community through volunteering initiatives.
“I’m always looking for new opportunities to make people feel good at work, and when one of my team suggested health insurance I thought it was a great idea. I’m delighted to say that everyone took up the offer.”
Fluid Recruitment now offers its employees fully funded health insurance through Southern Cross’s Wellbeing Two plan. The plan covers (among other things) cancer care, surgical treatment and consultations and diagnostic imaging and tests*. Staff are welcome to include partners and children too (at their own cost) and a number have done so.
Benefiting staff and business
Peter says the benefits of health insurance are many – for his staff and his business. “The key benefit for our staff is the comfort of knowing they have it, and that pre-existing conditions may be covered. For the business, it’s a great selling point when we’re hiring new staff and a key factor in keeping staff too. And it costs less than I thought it would, so it delivers real value for money.
“Fortunately, no-one has yet had to use their insurance for anything serious. However, I’m sure it’s helped to reduce sick leave, as people get medical help quickly when they need it, and so take less time off work.”
I recommend health insurance to all my clients. It’s such a great way to show your staff that you care about their wellbeing and, equally importantly, to provide them with a reason to stay.”*For full details on the terms and conditions (including exclusions) please refer to the plan documents.