3 Simple Ways to Keep Your Employees Happy and Productive

Employee Benefits

Finding those gifted employees is never easy, retaining them and keeping them from burning out can be even more challenging. Make sure your star employee is not eyeing the door, here’s three simple steps you can implement in your business to increase staff retention, boost morale and increase productivity.

1. Ask and Listen

This sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s more difficult than simply sending out a survey consisting of 5 ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions once every 12 months to see how your employees are travelling. Instead, a more effective approach is to engage each employee and discover what it is they want to achieve in their role. What do they need from you to achieve their goals and ambitions? Is your company providing enough resources for them to do their greatest work?

According to surveys, high-performing employees value development opportunities more than monetary rewards, with a lack of growth opportunities and appreciation being the primary reasons for high performing employees leaving. To engage your high achievers, try fostering a culture that promotes learning and trying new things, keep them hungry with new projects and challenges.

However, you should note that not all employees share the same ambitions and goals, but you can still make them happy and more productive by listening to them. The solution could be something as simple as getting a water filter because the water from the tap tastes terrible or providing different snacks in the break room.

2. Differentiate your employment offering

Many businesses are now are offering employment benefits as part of their package for staff. Not only does this help your company stand out from your competitors, from the application process onwards, but it’s also a great way to retain your staff and keep them productive and healthy.

An Employee Assistance Program (EAP), for example, includes short-term counselling and referral services for employees and their household members, designed to help employees deal with personal problems that would otherwise impact their health, performance and wellbeing.

There are plenty of different packages available on the market, we recommend working with a qualified financial advisor to find the most appropriate program for you business and staff.

3. Help them give back to the community and promote wellness

If you could help the community while keeping your employees motivated and healthy, you would jump at the opportunity to do so, right? Every company should be involved in a charitable cause, that should be a given, but transferring the responsibilities over to the employees is a great way to get them involved and feel like a meaningful part of your organisation.

You could suggest setting up a committee where employees are able to decide which fundraisers the company gets involved in and how raised money is spent. Bonus points if it’s something that gets your employees moving and active.

For more information regarding Employee Benefits Solutions for your business, contact us today to speak to one of our qualified financial advisors



Fair Consideration Framework

On 23rd September 2013, the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) was introduced with the aim to ensure Singaporeans are given fair employment, promotion and training opportunities.

From 1 August 2014, firms submitting Employment Pass (EP) applications (including EP holders who are changing employers) are required to advertise their job vacancies on the Jobs Bank.

The job advertisement must be open to Singaporeans and run for at least 14 calendar days. Firms that submit EP applications prior to the close of the 14 day advertising period will not be able to proceed with their EP applications. After the advertising period, the firm can hire the most qualified candidate, regardless of nationality.

Advertising on the Jobs Bank will benefit both Singaporean job-seekers and employers, as it facilitates better matching of vacancies with job-seekers. Employers will have access to a larger pool of potential candidates and Singaporeans will have better visibility of job openings.

For practical reasons, these jobs are exempted from the advertising requirement:

– Jobs in firms with 25 or fewer employees; or

– Jobs that pay a fixed monthly salary of S$12,000 and above;

– Jobs to be filled by intra-corporate transferees (ICTs)1. Under the World Trade Organisation’s General Agreement on Trade in Services (WTO GATS), ICTs would refer to those holding senior positions in the organisation or have an advanced level of expertise; or

– Jobs that are necessary for short-term contingencies (i.e. period of employment in Singapore for not more than one month2)

An important element to note, regardless of whether the job vacancies are exempted from the advertising requirement, firms found to have nationality-based or other discriminatory HR practices will face additional scrutiny from MOM and could have their work pass privileges curtailed.

1. This includes the transfer of staff already in Singapore between related firms in Singapore.

2. An EP holder that is admitted under this category will not be allowed to renew his EP, nor apply for a new EP for at least three months after the previous EP expires.

Health Coverage for Mobile Workforce

Employee Benefits

Mobile workers represent a growing part of the global workforce, with anticipation that the number of mobile workers will reach 1.3 billion by 2015.

With the expected growth, over the next decade and beyond, obtaining global health cover in light of worldwide political, economic and global uncertainty and instability has become imperative, say representatives from insurance providers RHI and Bupa.

As mobile workers can be based at faraway locations around the world, possibly working in dangerous terrains and politically uncertain environments, global health coverage is becoming an important component and attractive part of an employee benefit package. Health insurance provides employees with reassurance that should they need it, they have access to a quality medical facility even if they are in unfamiliar places.

In providing for healthcare needs of an international workforce, there are many options available for employers. Typical inclusions for global coverage is in-patient and out-patient cover, evacuation assistance, access to 24/7 days a week multi-lingual support and advice.

The coverage is much broader than standard travel insurance policies. When considering the appropriate type and level of cover, existing health conditions, the nature of the job people do and other factors have a bearing on the resulting solution for cover.

For more information on global health coverage refer to the following link or contact a qualified financial advisor:


SMEs Embrace Facebook & Instagram


Younger small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have responded to the need of using new media technologies for business with almost 41% of SME owners under the age of 44 using social media as the primary tool for communicating with their customers, according to a new Westpac index.

The Westpac Survey was conducted with 522 Australian SME owners and decision makers who were whittled down to those who had an annual turnover of less than $5 million and under 20 employees.

The survey results were promising, with 35% of SME owners using social media to network with existing or potential customers. Further, 71% of SME owners used at least one networking channel for their business and 59% networked online.

Westpac has the following tips on how to use social media as a business tool:

1. Understand how social media can work for you and your customers

Decide if social media is right for your business by considering the time spent on maintaining the platforms, responding to posts, generating content and engaging with followers.

It is important to have a clear understanding of what you are trying to achieve by using social media, which platform is right for you and how it aligns your business plan and strategy.

2. Be clear on who your customers are and what you want them to do

Content is crucial to effective social media strategies – know what you are trying to say and say it clearly.

Tailor your messages so they are the appropriate length for your customers, and be clear on the call to action – it is important not to mix messages and ensure you provide links to the page where customers can purchase your products or communicate with your business.

3. Develop a social media policy for your business

Respond carefully and thoughtfully to customer posts on social media channels.

Have a process in place to ensure the responses to customers are on message and enhance their customer experience.



Super Guarantee Increase Frozen Until 2021


Generally, employers must pay the correct percentage (as a minimum) of what each employee earns into the employee’s superannuation fund account. The super guarantee rate is the minimum amount you should pay. After years at 9% in July 2013, it was raised a quarter of a percent to 9.25% and a further quarter percent to 9.5% from 1 July 2014.

The plan was to raise the rate by half a percent per annum until it peaked at 12% in 2021. As a result of Clive Palmer and the abolition of the mining tax in the Senate, rates will now be frozen at 9.5% until July 2021 and then start their half-a-percent rise per annum.

The Australian Government is also changing the rule concerning older employees. In the past, employees over 70 years old were exempted from the Superannuation guarantee, however, it is now compulsory to pay Superannuation guarantee to employees over the age of 70.

Furthermore, interestingly from 1st July 2014 Super guarantee must be remitted electronically as cheque payments are no longer allowed.

Superannuation Changes in Australia


SuperStream is a government initiative introduced to strengthen superannuation in Australia by ensuring back office processes are efficient across the industry.

Streamlining rollover transactions are one of these initiatives, including the introduction of electronic rollovers.

Fund providers have changed their systems and processes to effectively manage electronic rollovers in and out to ensure the required 3 day processing timeframe for electronic rollovers can be met.

What does this mean for employees/members?

The reduction in processing times from 28 days to 3 days for electronically submitted rollovers will see superannuation moved to their destination very quickly. This means faster consolidation, potential savings on fees and less time out of the market.

What does this mean for employers?

This makes it possible for employers to send contributions to all funds in one standard electronic format. In the future, employers will no longer need to provide this information to separate funds in different formats.

SuperStream will make processing super guarantee payments easier and result in:

– Fewer data-quality issues;
– Simpler, more consistent contribution process;
– Fewer lost accounts and less unclaimed money;
– Faster processing of employees’ money into their super accounts;
– Lower overall processing costs.

Employers with 20 or more employees will begin using the SuperStream standard from 1 July 2014. Employers with 19 or fewer employees will begin using SuperStream from 1 July 2015.



Damien Honan – How to Build a Successful Business

In light of Honan’s 50th Anniversary, CEO and entrepreneur, Damien Honan, shares his 4 tips on how to build and maintain a successful business.

1. Have a clear focus.

It’s great to be adaptive and opportunistic, and in today’s business world it almost seems like a must, but be cautious of over-extending and spreading your business too thin. You need to pick your battles. It’s far better to establish a foothold in a market and dedicate your time and energy to an area where you are achieving success, rather than penetrate ten different markets when realistically only one or two of them will pay off. This is where understanding your business and having a clear direction becomes essential to your company’s success. If you do plan to move into a new market, make sure you have a strategy in place that reflects your long-term goals and core focus, from there carefully monitor your win/loss ratio and be prepared to move out of an area if you don’t belong there.

2. Find talented people that will add value to your business.

Damien believes his success, and the success of the Honan Insurance Group as a whole, is largely attributed to the people around him. Talented people are not easy to find, you need to make a conscious effort to seek and retain them. Don’t be afraid to look beyond your industry either in your search for top talent, this will allow you to gain insight into your current business practices from an alternate perspective and further develop areas of expertise within your business.

3. Invest in your people.

Giving your employees opportunities for growth and development will contribute to their involvement, productivity and ultimately their happiness within the business. This is a good means of ensuring that your talented employees remain engaged and achieve fulfilment within their workplace. At Honan, we promote a culture of constant learning and provide our staff with the resources that they need to do their best work. We have internal and external training processes to give our staff a rounded, wholesome learning experience.

4. Create a culture.

A focus on culture is essential to the long-term success of your business. Culture begins from the top and is a concept you have to intentionally create and gradually introduce over time, in doing this you will empower your employees, align each individual in your organisation towards a common goal, foster a desired attitude, whether competitive, friendly or innovative, and give employees’ work a higher meaning and purpose. It becomes the glue holding your business together as it grows and adapts.

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