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The job benefits Allied Health employees want now
Friday, June 24, 2022
Finding it hard to attract and retain top talent? You’re not alone. With a record low unemployment rate of 3.9%, the job market has become very competitive lately, and employers are feeling it.
Allied Health workers are exceptionally savvy, especially if they’ve been in the industry for 12 months or more! They’ve studied hard and know their worth, so as an employer, if you want to bring on the best talent, you’re going to need to offer something more than a secure job and a nice pay check. We’re talking bells, whistles and everything in between.
Here are some of the benefits that job-seekers tell us matter to them right now.
PERFORMANCE INCENTIVES AND BONUSES
Individual bonuses and performance incentives have become pretty standard, but if you want to make yourself more competitive in the market, consider multi-stream bonuses. These extend beyond individual performance incentives, and include team and company bonuses.
This appeals to those who have ups and downs with their billables. Maybe it’s been a quiet month so an individual bonus is unattainable – a team bonus system means that there’s still a chance to get a bonus.
Same goes with company bonuses; A target is set for the whole company and if it’s achieved, everyone gets a bonus. This is great for building a sense of cohesion and is a relatively new and exciting perk. So jump on board now and you’ll be ahead of the competition!
At the time of writing, the standard superannuation rate is 10%. As a job perk, some companies offer Super over this. For example, IAG, which operates NRMA, currently offers a Super rate of 13%. The Australian government also offers generous Super entitlements.
Think young people aren’t thinking about retirement? Think again. This is a big drawcard for many candidates, even young ones, because it’s a forced savings setup with very little effort required! If there are two jobs with very similar job descriptions and benefits, but one offers a 10% Super contribution and the other offers 17%, the latter will appear more appealing every time.
ADDITIONAL ANNUAL LEAVE
Annual leave is one thing that employees can never get enough of! And with good reason – time off is vital for health and productivity. In fact, it’s becoming quite common now for employers to give staff 5 weeks annual leave. This is a big selling point, especially for parents.
Additionally leave could also look like regular rostered days off (RDOs), Reservist’s leave, Volunteer Leave, Blood Donation Leave, Pet Leave and ‘Me days’. We have a few clients who offer this (also known as ‘doona days’ or ‘bad hair days’!) – basically you get a set number of days per year where you can call in absent, without giving a reason.
Also referred to as ‘salary packaging’, this is an attraction tool that appeals to candidates on high wages or it comes into play if your business is a Registered Charity or a Not For Profit (NFP). Employees can salary sacrifice up to $15,900 off their base wage. This can be used pre-tax to pay for things such as a mortgage, school fees and health insurance.
In the charity and NFP sector where the salaries traditionally are not high (although this is changing), salary sacrificing is a powerful benefit as it allows an employee to save a lot in tax.
There are companies that specialize in setting up and managing salary sacrifice programs so make sure you get appropriate professional advice before you implement it.
HIGH-END ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT
This is really attractive for any employees that provide reports or assessments, who can spend hours transcribing or typing their own dictated notes.
Being able to send a dictation to an admin assistant who writes up report is an invaluable time-saver, giving your team more time to spend with their clients.
FLEXIBLE WORK HOURS
A huge one. Flexible work hours are something that most people who are parents want, but it’s also a big one for people living and working in rural and remote regions, where certain services such as banks are only open during work hours.
Senior consultants are also keen on flexible work, as they’re often happy to write reports etc outside of normal work hours.
Wellness comes in many forms, so there are a wide range of ways you can appeal to job-seekers through wellness programs.
In-house wellness programs like Employee Assistance Program (EAP) services are very important. These allow employees a series of paid sessions with a Registered or Clinical Psychologist - that the employer pays for. The details of these sessions are private between the Therapist and the employee so it offers peace of mind mental health support to employees. The issues that are discussed in these sessions may / may not have anything to do with the employer but they are affecting the staff members mental health.
Psychology sessions are expensive and wait times can be long. If an employer is providing and paying for sessions, staff can access them in times of need, or before an issue has escalated.
Using an EAP service is also a clever move for employers as it means employees can be helped before things get so bad that they need to put in a psychological workers compensation claim. Good for everyone.
Wellness programs can also include subsidised gym memberships (like Noosa Council does), in-house yoga and meditation classes and home office OHS checks.
WFH AND TELEHEALTH
Before 2020, a lot of employers weren’t aware of telehealth, and it wasn’t claimable under Medicare or insurance. Now it’s all the go and can definitely make your company more appealing to new hires.
Work from home. Reports to write? Admin to catch-up on? Totally client-free day? Then why not let the staff member do this from home in their pajamas if they want to? It's not the exception anymore, it’s the norm,.
- Professional Development
Professional development is essential to many Allied Health workers who need it to maintain their registration with AHPRA and their professional body, but it can be expensive.
Being an employer who can pay for professional development can be very attractive. Some employers might pay for or towards professional development outright, while Psychologists on various Endorsement or Registration pathways can access an AHPRA accredited board-registered Supervisor in-house. For example, a clinical psychologist might be happy to supervise a clinical psychologist registrar as part of the job (a saving of $16-$30k a year!).
In-services are when a subject matter expert (SME) runs a training course. For example, one of our clients has a well-known and respected OT in their team who runs regular in-services and training for their team in-house. Those who aren’t in that office, access the training remotely via Zoom. We have another client who has a national panel of subject matter experts who are available for staff to turn to if they have a complex case. They also run regular in-services for the company.
Having a mentor programme available to new hires can be hugely beneficial for both you and them. Young Allied Health workers are extremely keen to learn as much as they can from more experienced practitioners. Encouraging mentoring in-house means that they’re more likely to stay with you as they can see very tangibly what their career progression opportunities might look like and they feel supported in their learning.
- Induction and Onboarding
This is very important to many new hires, who want to hit the ground running at a new workplace and may have experienced a disorganized, chaotic or no induction in the past. A top-notch onboarding process includes introducing new hires to your email system, database management system, policies and procedures and anything and everything to do with their role on a daily basis.
This might not sound very glamorous but trust us when we say that if you’ve nailed your induction, word will get around that you’re a great place to work!
- Buddy System
This can be great for graduates or someone who has never worked in that industry who needs to learn the practical elements of a job straight out of uni. A buddy system lets the new staff member sit in on client visits, evaluations etc with a consultant so they can learn the ropes from someone who has industry experience.
Pool Cars are a big draw card if travel is part of the role. This will limit the wear and tear on an employee’s car. Plus, with petrol the price that it is now, a petrol allowance or petrol card could also be included.
The ATO have approved per km rates for travel, depending on engine size etc, which you should also look into.
TRAVEL TIME INCLUDED
Very new but definitely growing in popularity, travel time included means that the time an employee spends travelling is included in their billables.
So if someone’s billable target is 30 hours a week, and they travel 2 hours each way, those 4 hours are part of their billable hours, immediately bringing their hours of client work down to 26 hours (or less if there’s more travel required that week).
LOW BILLABLE TARGETS
Most people who work in Allied Health choose the industry because they want to help people. Unfortunately, the billables factor can cloud this because patients become ‘targets’, instead of people.
Having low billable targets keeps the focus on health services. Your team can spend more time with their clients and do a better job in general.
A lot of our clients are starting to understand this, and it’s becoming a very tempting benefit for new hires. It’s also great for your business because you’ll attract client-focused workers who will prioritise best practice over numbers.
So how low is low enough? We’ve had clients say around 25 hours for NDIS work, and 30 hours for OT. You choose what suits your company best.
Some employers provide uniforms for staff so that they don’t have to invest in a professional wardrobe. It might not seem like much but it’s just another way you can save your team time and money.
TOOLS OF TRADE
Once a very exciting and brag-worthy job perk, tools of the trade like mobiles, tablets, laptops and home-office set-up are now considered standard benefits of most jobs.
Sure, it’s a great way to help your staff keep their personal and work life separate, but it’s probably not going to excite a potential candidate enough to get them over the line if someone else is offering more.
As you can see, there are a lot of ways you can impress job-seekers and stand out from other companies. If you’d like to talk about any of these or other employee benefits, please give us a call for - we’d love to chat with you.
And as always, please speak with your finance team and get appropriate professional advice before offering any of these benefits to your employees.
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