News & Announcements

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Let’s talk about diversity

In the midst of significant global changes such as generational turnover, talent shortage and advancing technology, Greg Parkes, Executive General Manager at Autopia, shares the organisation’s journey towards a more diverse and inclusive workplace.

There are thousands of articles discussing the importance of diversity, while study after study proves the economic benefits of a diverse workforce to an organisation.

As a result, over the last decade, the corporate world has focused more on diversity, celebrating our differences in gender, cultural background, ways of thinking and more.

The journey towards diversity

At Autopia, the importance of diversity and inclusion stems from the core of our business: our customers. Having built an organisation with a personalised, highly consultative approach, it was evident to us that our customers came from a whole range of backgrounds, and our staff should too.

So, in an effort to learn how to promote diversity and inclusion within our organisation and create a positive impact in our business community, we embarked on our own diversity and inclusion journey, leading to the development of our thought leadership program.

Diversity matters: facilitating the conversation

Through Autopia’s Diversity and Inclusion thought leadership program, we have had the privilege of sharing experiences with corporate leaders from around Australia, and partnered with pivotal organisations, including UN Women National Committee of Australia and Juggle Strategies, a workplace flexibility consultancy firm.

Through these partnerships, we have developed a series of White Papers for business, exploring gender and cultural diversity, as well as workplace flexibility, and best practices for promoting and implementing effective diversity and inclusion programs within a business. With the objective of generating discussion around these issues, these White Papers also aim to provide guidance for companies on their own journey of change.

Along the way, and thanks to insights from our expert partners, we have learned that it is not enough to achieve a statistically diverse workforce; true inclusion comes when there is a cultural shift within the organisation. As Vernā Myers, Author and Diversity Advocate once said, “Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance.”

Undoubtedly, changing an organisation’s culture can be slow. In fact, achieving diversity and inclusion is not a one-off, set-and-forget exercise. It is an ever-evolving process that must go beyond written procedures to become part of the day-to-day life of an organisation.

Achieving diversity and inclusion is a process that requires us to re-think how we do business, but one that we know can have a positive and tangible effect on productivity and performance. Working towards diversity and inclusion in the workplace is not only the right thing to do; it’s the smart thing to do.

To explore Diversity and Inclusion white papers produced by Autopia, visit autopia.com.au .

 
 

RACV acquisition to further expand Smartgroup footprint

Smartgroup is pleased to announce the acquisition of the RACV Salary Solutions business, and is expecting to complete 1 November 2017.

RACV Salary Solutions is a national provider of salary packaging administration and novated leasing services. It administers approximately 38,000 salary packages for around 700 clients nationally.

Commenting on the acquisition, Smartgroup Managing Director and CEO Deven Billimoria said: “RACV Salary Solutions will further extend our offering to organisations in all segments of the market.”

“The RACV Salary Solutions management team, under Mark Geraghty’s leadership, has been an absolute pleasure to work with and I look forward to continuing to work with the team over the coming months.” 

RACV Salary Solutions joins the late August acquisition of Aspire – a Sydney-based novated leasing specialist - to extend Smartgroup’s presence in the salary packaging and novated leasing market.

“We welcome clients and staff, and look forward to continuing to provide the excellent service that our valued customers have come to expect,” Billimoria added.

 

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Car sharing: low on cost and carbon

With Pool Vehicle Booking by Smartfleet, car sharing helps companies reduce cost and their environmental footprint, says Duncan Ward, General Manager at Smartfleet Management Pty Ltd.

There are many financial benefits of sharing personal assets and services, and with technology making sharing seamless, workplaces are increasingly embracing car sharing as a way to save on cost while reducing the impact of their fleet on the environment. Pool Vehicle Booking by Smartfleet is a tailor-made car sharing solution that aims to help companies save by reducing the number of vehicles within their fleet – and associated risk and liability, along with vehicle maintenance costs. The technology also tracks and reports all vehicle usage, giving greater transparency and helping to identify peak periods, and safety concerns.

Save on cost – and on the company’s carbon footprint

Not only can Pool Vehicle Booking by Smartfleet help reduce fleet cost significantly, it also helps companies reduce their carbon emissions, with fewer cars on the road and less fuel being consumed.

Here’s how it works:

• The Pool Vehicle Booking system sends a notification when two employees are going to the same place at a similar time, to give them the option to share a car. If they choose to share, there is less fuel consumption.

• ‘Manager vehicles’ – that is, a vehicle provided to an employee as a benefit for their everyday use – can be incorporated as part of the vehicle pool. If the manager vehicle is typically unused during the day, other employees can borrow the car, which reduces the need for additional cars in the fleet.

• Smartfleet partners with GoGet to help cater for peak periods, ensuring your employees have access to cars when needed, and eliminating the need for cars that go unused.

• If sustainability is a priority, cars that give fewer CO2 emissions can be prioritised for use.

• Smartfleet clients can offset the carbon usage of the fleet with Greenfleet, helping achieve Corporate Social Responsibility goals.

Pool Vehicle Booking helped one government organisation reduce its number of vehicles (18.6%, combined CO2 emissions (15.42%) and fuel use (16.01%).

Bringing your employees along for the ride

While the sharing economy is increasingly accepted, some employees may still need convincing. Here are some tips for transitioning employees to car sharing:

• Share the environmental benefits. Communicate the positive environmental benefits to car sharing. Belief in a bigger cause helps motivate employees.

• Highlight the positives of the technology. Smartfleet technology makes online booking completely seamless and employees will never need to worry about servicing their car or maintenance issues.

• Appoint ambassadors. Identify employees who are open to car sharing – often the younger employees who are already part of the sharing economy – and sharing their positive first-hand experiences.

• Go slow. Part of the fleet can be transitioned into Pool Vehicle Booking by Smartfleet, while continuing to report on the fleet as a whole. Take the opportunity to test and tailor the technology.

Pool Vehicle Booking by Smartfleet is a purpose-built car sharing solution that processes over 300,000 bookings per year. Visit smartfleetaustralia.com.au to find out more.

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Placing value on valued employees: building an effective remuneration strategy

A well-designed employee remuneration strategy firmly anchored in business objectives helps organisations attract, retain and motivate employees, says John Day, CEO Smartequity Pty Ltd.

How employees are remunerated affects how they think, work and behave. If employee behaviour and actions are to align with the objectives of directors and shareholders, it follows that remuneration – particularly short and long-term reward structures – also aligns to business objectives.

Demonstrating the value of the employee

As the notion of the ‘employee’ transforms to ‘stakeholder’ and ‘major business asset’, it is essential organisations establish a set of company values that are not only belief-oriented, but also acknowledge the value of high performing people. Remuneration planning is one of the most efficient and effective means of not only communicating company values to employees, but also obtaining their inherent acceptance by encouraging the employee to maximise her or his value.

Moving away from fixed pay

The traditional view of remuneration planning is set to shift over the next ten years, as effective remuneration planning becomes less about paying employees, and more about rewarding employees and developing their sense of connection with the company.

The emphasis of the next decade will be on customised, organisation-specific, remuneration programs that on one hand, build support for changing and evolving business strategies; and on the other, are sensitive to each employee’s unique personal needs and goals.

The trend towards performance-based pay

A 2014 major Worldatwork study1 revealed 85% of companies were setting base remuneration levels at the market median, noting that “the market isn't compelling employers to accelerate wage growth in any significant way”. In contrast, ‘pay for performance’ was thriving, with 72% of respondents indicating they have a rating system with performance scores tied to pay increases; and 82% of organisations using bonuses to deliver performance-based pay.

Furthermore, it was shown that an employee's understanding of the organisation's remuneration strategy tended to be higher when there was greater differentiation in pay increases between average and top performers.

Today, this trend continues and is accelerating, with more companies keeping fixed pay at a minimum. This provides companies with an opportunity to differentiate using performance-based incentives.

Using incentives to attract, retain and motivate

Implementing the right mix of performance-based incentives will help companies stand out in attracting, retaining and motivating key talent.

Short-term incentives influence behaviour to achieve certain specific immediate organisational requirements. Bonuses tend to be the most frequently used pay variable.

Long-term incentives aim to imbue an employee with a vested interest in maximizing the organisation’s long-term value. An employee equity plan is an effective way to achieve this, as employee and shareholder interests become aligned. When shares in a company represent a significant asset for the employee, they begin to treat the company like their own – an excellent motivator.

Steps to motivating employees through remuneration

1. Agree on realistic performance targets with employees and provide meaningful incentives to achieve those targets.

2. Enable employees to share directly in the benefits generated by achieving targets.

3. Empower employees by allowing remuneration to be taken in a form that helps them more easily satisfy immediate financial needs, and to achieve financial and lifestyle goals sooner. Regardless of the ultimate remuneration mix, it is essential the remuneration structure is consistent with management values and overtly supports the achievement of business objectives.

John Day is founder and CEO of Smartequity, and is widely recognised as an expert remuneration consultant.  Smartequity is the employee share plan administration provider in the Smartgroup network of companies, an ASX-listed corporation recognised for innovation and exceptional customer service.

1. 2014, Compensation Programs and Practices, WorldatWork 2014.

 

Budget 2017/18: what it means for employee engagement

Anton Gaudry, leading taxation specialist and advisor at Smartgroup, outlines how the proposed 2017/2018 ‘first home owner super saver scheme’ unlocks the potential of salary packaging.

With the line between work and life becoming increasingly blurred, it follows that an employer’s influence on employee financial wellbeing has the potential to stretch beyond a regular pay packet. Proposed new budget measures suggest employers may soon have an opportunity to help employees save to purchase their first home.

First home owner super saver scheme: implications for salary packaging

The proposed 2017-18 budget changes allow first home buyers the opportunity to make pre-tax contributions to their superannuation fund to save for their first home. Those contributions, along with their associated deemed earnings, could then be withdrawn for a first home deposit (up to a cap of $30,000).

This provides a good opportunity for employers to make employees aware of their salary packaging options, including salary packaging into their superannuation fund, which may help them achieve their immediate financial goals and secure their first home. This is particularly applicable to younger employees who often dismiss superannuation as irrelevant, or not urgent.

Salary packaging: more than just voluntary superannuation

An often under-leveraged resource, salary packaging is a way to help your people manage their finances by maximising their in-pocket pay to reach their financial goals sooner – without giving them an expensive pay rise.

Salary packaging isn’t just limited to superannuation. Other benefits including novated leasing and items such as laptops, mobile phones and airline memberships – for personal use as well as professional – can also be purchased with pre-tax pay, raising the employee’s in-pocket earning potential.

Salary packaging offers untapped potential to businesses

Michael Ellies, CEO of Smartsalary, Smartgroup’s largest salary packaging brand, says there is often the potential for employers to extend their salary packaging offering and help employees make the most of their pay.

“Most employers tend to offer one or two salary packaging benefits, but often there is more that they could offer. When it comes to using salary packaging to engage employees without affecting your bottom line, there is a lot of untapped potential.”

Offering a comprehensive salary packaging program need not add to the workload of your team or put your benefits budget under pressure. Using an outsourced salary packaging provider, you can avoid the burden of administration, at minimal or no cost to your organisation.

Now is the perfect time to make your employees aware of the options they have to maximise their income with salary packaging so they are well poised to take advantage in the new financial year.

For help interpreting and implementing the proposed ‘first home owner super saver scheme’ and communicating it to your employees, contact Smartgroup on 1300 665 855.

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Budget 2017/18: salary packaging to help first home buyers

Treasurer Scott Morrison delivered his second federal budget on Tuesday 9 May, including a key measure aimed at tackling housing affordability for first home buyers.

From 1 July 2017, first home buyers will be allowed to make salary-sacrifice contributions to their superannuation fund that, along with the related earnings, can be withdrawn for a first home deposit. Read more

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AccessPay Group Joins Smartgroup

We are pleased to announce the acquisition of AccessPay.

AccessPay, based in Adelaide, provides salary packaging services principally to clients in the Public Benevolent Institutions (PBI) sector across Australia. It manages approximately 40,000 salary packages, for approximately 500 employer clients. AccessPay is similar to Advantage Salary Packaging (Advantage) in both service offering and client base and there exists opportunity to leverage best practice across both businesses.

Commenting on the acquisition, Smartgroup Managing Director and CEO Deven Billimoria said: "AccessPay is a well-managed business and we have always had high regard for their team. The business will be a very good fit for us and further expands our salary packaging footprint into the PBI sector. Following the acquisition, we will have more than 260,000 outsourced salary packages under management. AccessPay will be led by Anton Gaudry, who also continues as the CEO of Advantage. Two senior managers of AccessPay will assist in running the new business and the vendors will continue to provide support and assistance."

 

 

Autopia releases Diversity Beyond Gender: the business case for cultural diversity in the workplace.

We are pleased to announce the release of the first whitepaper Diversity Beyond Gender: The business case for cultural diversity in the workplace from the Re-Think: The Cultural Diversity Series produced by Autopia in conjunction with gender and cultural diversity advocate, Yassmin Abdel-Magied.

The "Diversity Beyond Gender" whitepaper unveils how diverse Australia really is, and sheds light on the challenges employees from non-Anglo origins face while navigating the Australian workplace. The whitepaper also discusses both the ‘moral case' and ‘business case' for addressing the diversity gap, and shares case studies on organisations that have successfully harnessed the power of a culturally diverse and inclusive workplace.

Yassmin Abdel-Magied has been actively involved in the community since the age of 16 when she founded "Youth Without Borders", an organisation that empowers young people to realise their full potential through collaborative, community-based programs. Her list of achievements includes being the 2015 National Finalist of Young Australian of the Year, 2012 Westpac 100 Women of Influence and 2011 Australian Financial Review Youth Leader of the Year.

Autopia, a Smartgroup subsidiary and a highly-regarded novated leasing specialist servicing the corporate sector, has been working for several years with organisations like UN Women National Committee Australia to raise awareness and drive diversity in the workplace. 

Download a free copy of the white paper

 

 

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Smartgroup kicks goals with Queensland Rugby sponsorship

Salary packaging and novated leasing specialist, Smartgroup, has announced its major partnership with the Queensland Rugby Union (QRU) and St George Queensland Reds.

The news comes as the Reds score a convincing win against the Melbourne Rebels in a pre-season match, and days before they kick off the season against the Sharks at Suncorp Stadium.

"There's so much to like about the Reds, " says Smartgroup senior executive Dave Adler. "Their support for the Queensland community runs well beyond the metropolitan areas, and their work to grow the participation of women in sport is evident in the number of Queenslanders representing Australia in Rugby 7s debut at the 2016 Rio Games (and upcoming inauguration of the sport at the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast next year)".

"We choose our affiliates carefully," Adler says. "For us, it's important to partner with people-centric organisations that recognise the value of teamwork and operate with integrity. We're driven by innovation and improvement, and we make a point of surrounding ourselves with like-minded organisations."

Smartgroup is no stranger to Queenslanders, holding a key Federal Government contract with strong ties to regional Queensland since 1999, and securing a major public sector contract in 2011, which cements Queensland as a critical market for Smartgroup's group of companies.

"2011 was the turning point for us in Queensland, and strengthening the presence of our services and demonstrating to Queenslanders the seriousness of our commitment to them is a priority for our organisation."

While Smartsalary is the brand the fans will get to see on the Reds apparel and within Suncorp Stadium, other Smartgroup companies are expected to see great benefits through the partnership. These include Smartsalary's novated leasing arm, Smartleasing; Selectus, a leading salary packaging provider in the private education sector, and Autopia – a novated leasing specialist for the corporate market – that, like the Reds, is dedicated to driving gender diversity through its affiliation with UN Women.

QRU Deputy CEO, David Hanham, welcomes the partnership, saying "We're delighted Smartgroup has chosen to partner with the QRU for the next three years. The Queensland Rugby Union's reach allows our partners to benefit from our intimate relationship with Rugby stakeholders across the state as well as providing multiple opportunities with our elite Rugby teams like the St George Queensland Reds.

"We're able to assist Smartgroup's direct relationship with the corporate Rugby community throughout Queensland. The large business network Rugby enjoys is a very good match for Smartgroup's product range and the QRU is keen to maximise this new partnership in the coming years."

 

 

Smartleasing appointed to the Queensland Government novated leasing panel

We're pleased to announce that the Queensland Government has appointed Smartleasing as one of its approved providers of novated leasing services.

Whilst no contractual arrangement has previously been established with the Queensland Government for novated leases, Smartleasing has independently been providing novated leasing services to the Queensland Government employees since 2011.

Smartgroup CEO, Deven Billimoria, welcomed the appointment. "We are delighted to continue to work with Queensland Government to provide this benefit, and I'm confident the Smartleasing team will deliver excellent novated leasing experiences to its employees."

The arrangement commences on 7 November 2016 and has an initial term of 3 years, with one extension option of 2 years.

 

 

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Trail-blazing technologies rank Smartgroup #11 on AFR's 50 Most Innovative Companies list

For the third time in four years, Smartgroup and its subsidiaries have been recognised as being among Australia's most innovative organisations, with disruptive technologies that have enabled us to significantly improve our service to our customers.

Robotic Registration Renewal
Rego-bot reduces turnaround time for vehicle registration renewals for novated leasing customers from three weeks down to just 10 minutes. The streamlining of this complex process to just eight steps saves our staff around 13,000 hours per year, and delivers our customers a faster and more accurate vehicle registration process.

Workforce Modelling for Hospitals
Smartgroup has a 50% stake in Health-e Workforce Solutions (HWS). The HWS Predictive Modeller enables healthcare decision makers to scenario-plan using actual workforce data to model the consequences of planning decisions. With an informed and accurate view of how various scenarios will play out, healthcare executives have the decision support they need to protect quality of care. Hospitals using the Predictive Modeller have reported savings of between 5 and 15% in workforce costs.

Smartgroup CEO, Deven Billimoria says, "perhaps a deeper, even more rewarding benefit to adopting these technologies is employee job satisfaction. For our employees, the simplification of the labour-intensive vehicle registration process means they're able to focus on delivering greater value to our customers.

"And this is also true for HWS' clients. For example, ask a nurse unit manager what keeps them awake at night - it's their patients. The Predictive Modeller frees them up to put their energy into delivering the best patient care, rather than dealing with staffing issues."

As to Smartgroup's ongoing appearance on 'most innovative' lists, Deven is welcoming. "The recognition for our team is terrific, and it demonstrates our commitment to new and existing clients and, of course, our shareholders. Innovation is part of the Smartgroup DNA . . . we don't just talk about doing business better. We actually do it."

 

 

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Selectus acquisition expands Smartgroup's offering

Following the acquisition in early July of Autopia, a novated leasing specialist to corporate organisations, Smartgroup later the same month announced the acquisition of Selectus, Australia's largest privately-owned provider of salary packaging and novated leasing.

Together the two acquisitions strengthen Smartgroup's position as a leading provider of employee benefits across all sectors.

Paul King, Selectus CEO has welcomed the acquisition. "We are looking forward to the benefits that being part of a larger organisation provides. Having gotten to know Deven and the senior management team, it is clear Smartgroup and Selectus are strongly aligned when it comes to our values and commitment to clients. I am confident our business will continue to thrive within the Smartgroup family."

Smartgroup CEO, Deven Billimoria said he has been impressed with the recent business performance of Selectus. "Selectus' current management team has been in place since 2012, and since then the business has made remarkable progress. It is already pretty clear the value Selectus will bring to Smartgroup, particularly through their innovative approach to novated leasing, as well as their specialist credentials in the private education sector."

The acquisition of Selectus takes Smartgroup overall client base to well over 1,000 employer clients and in excess of 200,000 employee customers with outsourced salary packaging.

 

 

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Autopia was founded on a love of cars, which is on display at its headquarters in Sydney.

 

Corporate novated leasing specialist, Autopia joins Smartgroup

Smartgroup is pleased to announce the acquisition of Autopia, a highly-regarded novated leasing specialist servicing the corporate sector.

The acquisition was announced on 4 July 2016 and consolidates Smartgroup's capability to deliver this sought-after employee benefit to corporate organisations across Australia.

Smartgroup CEO, Deven Billimoria said, "Bringing Autopia into the Smartgroup family strengthens our position as a leading provider of novated leasing services. We've watched on with interest as David Wakeley and his team have grown the Autopia business into a high-performing provider and I'm confident Autopia will continue to flourish as part of Smartgroup."

Autopia and Smartgroup have a shared obsession with customer service and positive workplace culture. David Wakeley, CEO of Autopia said, "There is a strong cultural fit between Autopia and Smartgroup. We're looking forward to working with the team and continuing to provide customers with unrivalled service and an excellent novated leasing experience."

Established in 2004 to provide novated leasing services to corporate Australia, Autopia now manages approximately 3,000 vehicles across more than 300 employers from its headquarters in Sydney. Read more about Autopia.

Read more about Smartgroup.