Keeping staff benefits aligned

Lightwire is growing rapidly. Three months ago we were a team of about 30 or so, with all of the team based out of our fancy head office in Hamilton. Now we have staff in Wellington and the Gold Coast, with more appointments in new regions to be made in the coming months.

We provide a unique set of fantastic benefits to staff, but a number of these benefits are head office centric, and not easily replicated for staff working from home in far flung cities. So how do we keep benefits aligned?

Let’s start with the benefits that are easy to replicate universally:

  • Top quartile salaries. we look at industry stats, recruitment data and we make sure we are consistently paying in the upper quartile, and are prepared to adjust any time, to make sure we are meeting the market for A players.
  • Clothing Allowance: looking professional costs money, we provide an annual clothing allowance to help with this.
  • Free or discounted internet for parents and staff
  • Flexibility. We understand that a 9–5 job can be a juggle. So to make things easier for our team, we consider flexible working arrangements to create a work + life fit that works for each individual, as well as the Company. How do we achieve this? We trust our team.
  • KiwiSaver 4%:we contribute and match to 4% of your kiwisaver contributions.
  • First Home Owner Contribution:for A players, we recognise that taking that first big step and committing to buying your own home is a big deal, we help with a one-off contribution (up to $5000) to your deposit.
  • Extended Leave: sometimes you just want to be able to explore the world – been with us for more than 2 years, we are happy for you to take some extended leave of absence to complete that round the world trip.
  • No-Red-Tape Credit Card:Until recently I hadn’t thought this was a benefit, but we like to make things easy and provide every staff member with a credit card so our employees don’t have to wait to be reimbursed.
  • Lightwire Days: If there is a month without a public holiday, we provide staff with an extra day of leave which they are encouraged to take on a Monday or Friday so that they get a long weekend. This equates to an extra week of annual leave per year.
  • Home office:We provide all the setup you need to have an effective home office – it also fits in with our work from anywhere, and flexible working hours philosophy  – sometimes you just need to be able to work from home for a variety of reasons – like family!
  • 100% of the best tools that you need for the job:All the software, hardware and systems that you need to do your job at work and at home. Latest Apple iPhone provided [or you have another preference the equivalent of] along with a great calling plan. (I got a Surface Book, so hardly slumming it)

So that’s all fine, we can provide that list regardless of the location of the team member receiving them.

But for the list below, we have had to do some thinking on how we can extend them to people in other regions as they are largely based around features of our head office.

  • In-house Gym and Personal Trainer: 4 years ago, we made a big commitment to the wellbeing of all staff by having an in-house gym and personal trainer, just to look after our team. We are expanding this benefit to include any activity you do to stay in shape (both body and mind). We also take care of race registrations for team events.
  • Best office in town: standing desks are just the start of a great place to work, alongside multiple monitor setup, great in-house coffee and a barista in the lobby, snack cupboard, fruit and drinks provided year round.
  • Friday Lunch: nothing better than getting the whole team together and having lunch, we order via a Slack integration, so all you have to do is turn up.
  • Not just technical training: we recognise that it’s just not about providing technical skill training, soft skills like listening and resiliency are equally important, and as a company we invest in both.
  • Company Vehicle: For those positions that need a vehicle we are standardising on new VW Golf’s which we replace around the 4-year mark – Apple Car Play is now standard in all new vehicles alongside all the safety features you would expect of a company that puts its people first. We also allow full personal use, and take care of the tax implications of this. We also fit tow bars to our vehicles on request – handy for the bike rack etc. We also know it can be hard to keep a car looking spotless, so we have a team that come in and wash them on a regular schedule.
  • Car Parks: Work full time for us, need a car park – we provide it.
  • Stocked fridge and pantry. Our lunchroom tables are constantly replenished with fresh fruit, the fridge holds an endless supply of soft drinks, juices and chocolate milk. Our pantry has so many noodles and muesli/protein bars it feels a little like a fallout bunker.
  • Thursday craft beer drinks and after work feed. A chance for the team to try different beers each week delivered to us from a local brewery while catching up and winding down.

With the required effort put in, we believe we have come up with a solution to address the inequalities the list above had presented for staff based elsewhere.

So here is what we now provide to staff working outside of head office:

  • Pay for gym membership. Exercise is a great stress reliever, and we care about our team’s health.
  • Once a week regional get-together for lunch courtesy of Lightwire. This is a chance to talk about work with someone who understands the subject matter, and to generate ideas in a relaxed setting. The restaurant/café will be up to the staff to choose.
  • Quarterly trips to HO to create a feeling of belonging and to ensure we keep objectives aligned, plus we can all have a beer and some pizza.

We are very proud of the culture we have built and the value we place on employee’s happiness and we think that with these new measures we have found a solid way to keep benefits equally applied.

Brendan, Kristy and Andrew

Brendan Ritchie

Author Brendan Ritchie

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