Helen says they weren’t facing any particular challenges that pushed them to search for an employee experience solution. A member of her team found Perkbox, and it was raised internally as a good initiative for employees. ”It was about recognising the staff for what they do and giving them a bit of added value,” says Helen.
Around the same time, the covid-19 pandemic was just beginning to spread in Australia. Helen recognised the timing as a good opportunity to offer Perkbox to her employees, “particularly as people were on the brink of what proved to be a really difficult time.”
An industry-wide challenge that IFYS faces stems from the nature of the work — it’s emotionally taxing to provide such high levels of care and support.
IFYS have improved their retention over the last eight or so years through an increased focus on training, support, and “increased focus on processes, compliance, and supervision.” Perkbox is now an additional retention strategy for IFYS employees.
When Helen and her team were assessing Perkbox, what made it stand out was that “there was a large element of self care and wellbeing to it, which is one of our basic tenets. We know staff do emotionally demanding work. The emphasis will always be on staff wellbeing and what we can do to assist.”
IFYS offer their employees an EAP, however the team often waits until after something happens to use it, rather than as a preventative tool. The mental health and wellbeing resources on Perkbox help to build preventative and healthy maintenance habits in employees, better preparing them for their workdays.
Over the past year IFYS created a wellbeing magazine, written by employees, for employees. The magazine includes tips on how to keep fit, healthy recipes, and exposés on staff members to get to know them better.
“It's all about communication in remote working,” says Helen, “all the topics have to be on wellbeing, so there's no talk about work. There's been good feedback, people feel more in touch with each other.”
How IFYS responded to COVID-19
The office based IFYS employees moved to working from home in February of 2020. Front line workers who served clients in person, such as residential care workers, had to adjust to new processes to prevent catching or spreading the virus.
The Executive team went above and beyond to create processes for every possible scenario for all employees, regardless of whether they were working from home or visiting clients. The Managing Director began writing weekly updates to keep all employees informed and engaged.
Communication became a big theme for the entire team. Helen even says she spent more time with her team than ever before thanks to the structured and scheduled time for catch ups.
Care packages full of tea, chocolates, and brochures on how to manage stress were sent out to team members with reminders to speak to their managers about any of their concerns.