Archive for the 'Business Update' Category

Salary packaging – sooner

The process of starting a new job can often mean being swamped with paperwork –  particularly for our busy customers who work in the health sector. Filling out multiple forms to supply their personal details and financial information, coupled with a bunch of internal forms, can be an onerous and time-consuming task.

As a result, some people simply forget, or never get around to signing up for the benefits of salary sacrificing.

Smartsalary recognised this gap and developed a tailor-made process that enables employees to get their salary packaging up and running more quickly, and therefore start to save money sooner. This initiative helped Smartsalary to be recognised as one of the most ‘cutting edge’ companies by the Australian Financial Review’s Most Innovative Companies Award.

strategy triangle

Continuous innovation is a key theme for our business, enabling rapid growth and strong performance results since business inception.

As one of our health customers observed, Smartsalary “developed a solution to a long-standing recruitment issue and this has culminated in the fine-tuning of seamless onboarding processes. Ongoing support and follow-up have meant small gaps were ironed out before the go-live. We look forward to a process that will allow our staff to easily engage with some of the benefits of working for a health institution as soon as they accept the job.”

More than 1,000 companies vie for these awards, so to make the top 50 again is a remarkable achievement. I’d like to extend a big thank you to everyone at Smartsalary for continuing to improve our service for hundreds of thousands of customers across Australia.

This innovation award, coupled with our recent National Service Champion award, suggests that maybe, just maybe, we are a pretty good company to deal with!

Championing great customer service

The national peak body for excellence in customer service, the Customer Service Institute of Australia (CSIA), has awarded Smartsalary the highest audit score it that has ever given any organisation… indeed, for the third consecutive year.

Awards 2017

For the third year running, we’ve achieved the highest score in CSIA history.

The CSIA uses the International Customer Service Standard (ICSS: 2015-2020), a framework that assesses an organisations level of maturity when it comes to implementing customer focus in its service delivery system. CSIA CEO Anouche Newman says, “as a longstanding Certified Customer Service Organisation, Smartsalary has successfully implemented the ICSS framework into its BAU operations, and they should be delighted with the score, a result of a systemic and determined effort to turn attention towards the customer in all it does.”

Providing great service is one thing but maintaining it to a high standard, and improving year on year, shows just how committed the team is to continuous improvement, and also, of course, to delivering the sort of service our customers have come to expect.

How rugby is reshaping the future for Queensland’s Indigenous youth

Guest blog – Dave Adler, CEO of Smartleasing and Smartfleet.

One of the attractions of becoming an official sponsor of the Queensland Reds and partner of the Queensland Rugby Union (QRU) in 2017, is their support of communities right across Queensland and, in particular, the focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Too often, Rugby Union is dismissed as an elite sport for private schools. But take a deeper look, and you’ll find so much more. QRU’s relationships at the grassroots level are remarkable, both in the playing of the sport itself and the education of Queensland’s Indigenous youth which, in turn, supports the development of future leaders.

On 30 May, during National Reconciliation Week, I had the opportunity to attend QRU’s launch of the Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).  It was wonderful to hear from successful young Indigenous leaders who have gained so much from QRU’s Indigenous programs.

The Reds Generation Next program (RGN) launched in 2012, and since inception, over 260 participants have benefitted from mentoring provided by specialist staff. Through relationships built and opportunities provided, RGN has delivered outcomes that compare most favourably with similar programs run by Education Queensland.

Since 2012, RGN has achieved

  • 99% year 12 graduation
  • 92% successful transition to employment or further education

I was also delighted to see a couple of Defence members representing Indigenous Australia, and meet Australian Wallaroos prop, Caroline Fairs (pictured below on the right). Caroline has represented Australia in eight tests and is lining up against England, New Zealand and Canada for the 2017 International Women’s Rugby Seizes in New Zealand in June.

Congratulations to the QRU for its efforts. Most importantly, congratulations to all the participants who are reaching new heights as a result of their commitment to complete the Reds Generation Next programs.

Jamie Whincup continues to drive the Smartleasing brand

endurance-bathurst-12-hour-2017-jamie-whincup-maranello-motorsportOur partnership with Jamie Whincup, six-time V8 Supercar Champion and Smartgroup brand ambassador, is well into its third year and we reckon it’s going stronger than ever!

We recently shot six videos with Jamie and they’ve already had over 50,000 views on Facebook, YouTube and the Smartleasing website. My personal favourite is this one for Smartleasing Vehicle Protection Packs, with Jamie and his mate, Blue.

Video.-Vehicle-protection-packs

You can check out the other videos featuring Jamie and friends here.

A great deal of work goes into making a success of these campaigns, so I’d like to thank our Marketing Team, and of course Jamie, for pulling together such a terrific campaign.

Photo credit: motorsport.com

2016/17 Budget: changes to super contributions the largest impact for salary packaging customers

By David Lilja, Group Remuneration Services Manager, Smartgroup

David LiljaThe Australian Federal Budget was handed down on Tuesday, May 3; the first for the Turnbull-led Coalition Government, and on the eve of the much-anticipated 2 July election announcement.

From a salary packaging point of view, the budget does not offer any significant changes or challenges. Unlike budgets from previous years, salary packaging rules were left relatively untouched so all current salary packaging items will remain available.

The only notable impact on salary packaging is the proposed reduction to annual concessional (pre-tax) superannuation contribution caps. These caps are currently set at $30,000 per year for those aged 49 or under as at 30 June 2016 and $35,000 for those aged 50 or over as at 30 June 2016. From 1 July 2017, the government proposes to replace these with a single cap of $25,000 per year and remove the age restriction so that it applies to everyone. You should note that your employer’s Super Guarantee contributions count towards this cap.

The knock-on effect will be a decrease in the amount employees can contribute to super from pre-tax income.

A further proposal which impacts higher income earners is the reduction of the threshold for the 30% superannuation contribution tax from $300,000 to $250,000, effective 1 July 2017. Currently, those with an adjusted taxable income of less than $300,000 have a 15% superannuation contribution tax.

The Government also affirmed its decision to remove the 2% Budget Repair Levy from 1 July 2017, which will benefit those with an adjusted taxable income greater than $180,000. As a result, there will be an impact on Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) and, by default, salary packaging.

Currently, the Budget Repair Levy is factored and included in the FBT Type 1 and Type 2 gross-up rates, as well as the FBT rate. From 1 April 2017, these rates will be reduced to reflect the removal of the levy.

While this will have no effect on the $9,010 and $15,900 cap benefit thresholds currently received by PBI and hospital employees, it will have a positive impact on the combined meal/accommodation cap introduced earlier this year, increasing the net benefit value from $2,550 to $2,650. Details will be communicated to affected customers closer to implementation, which is expected to be 1 April 2017.

The positive news continues with changes announced to the 32.5% marginal tax rate which is geared to benefit “average Australians.” The income tax threshold margin will rise from $80,001 to $87,000, and Opposition leader, Bill Shorten had indicated Labor will not oppose this change, which is set to take effect on 1 July 2016.

Overall the budget has not been detrimental to Australian salary packaging arrangements, nor has it required any significant change to packaging systems or procedures.

This means that Smartsalary will continue to focus on the delivery of simple, safe and valuable benefits without disruption for the foreseeable future.

Smartgroup retains highly-engaged employer status

Since 2009, Smartgroup has participated in Aon Hewitt’s Best Employer program, which measures the engagement of our workforce and identifies areas of strength in our people practices and where improvement is needed.

I’m pleased to report that, for the fifth year running, Smartgroup ranks among the most highly engaged organisations in Australia and New Zealand.

HBE-graph-2016-high-engagement-area (2)

As you can see from the table above, Aon Hewitt’s research shows that organisations with engagement scores above 65% are considered to be highly engaged. In people terms, this means two out of three employees feel energised and engaged with their work, and this correlates directly to the satisfaction and loyalty of our customers. So you can understand why this is such an important metric for us.

The analysis of our 2016 survey showed our employees feel:

  • Smartgroup has a high-performance culture, higher than ever before
  • Frontline and functional managers are now more highly engaged than ever before
  • New starters are now more engaged than ever before
  • Team members have a high level of confidence in their direct line manager.

The standout result was in the area of frontline managerial support. Developing our frontline managers has been a key focus, and the result speaks to the positive impact they’re having on the business.

Just as the analysis identified where we’re performing well, we also learned where we need to focus in the coming year to retain our status as a highly engaged employer. We’ve made significant operational changes in the last two years so, as disappointing as it is, the dip in our score is not entirely unexpected.

The work to curb this downward trend is underway, and the Executive Management Team and I recognise we must redouble our efforts and better engage with the rest of the business if we’re to maintain and, indeed, improve our engagement scores going forward.

Finally, I’d like to extend my sincere thanks to everyone at Smartgroup for your energy, effort, and commitment to being the best that we can be.

Meet our CEOs: John Day, Smartequity

December 2015 was both busy and exciting as we welcomed two new businesses – Health-e Workforce Solutions and Advantage Salary Packaging – into the Smartgroup family. Then in January, we brought CEO John Day and his business, Smartequity (previously Trinity Management Group) into the Smartgroup fold, and another exciting chapter has begun.

Thanks to John and his team, Smartgroup has extended its suite of services to include employee equity plan administration.

I first met John 15 years ago and was impressed with his deep knowledge of the share plan sector. We’re only just getting to know the rest of John’s team, and it helps us to understand better how Smartequity has become a success.  We’re excited at the engagement of the Smartequity team, and it’s been a real pleasure to get to know them.

john 1 John Day, CEO, Smartequity
Initially, it was my respect for Deven that attracted me to Smartgroup. I have known Deven for a very long time since he first started with Smartsalary.

One can only admire how the business has grown; attracting quality executive talent to become the success Smartgroup is today. I understand the salary packaging business well; much of the FBT legislation for share plan administration and salary packaging is similar. And when FBT was first introduced, I was advising companies on remuneration planning for their senior executives.

I recently spoke at Smartgroup’s executive meeting, and I said then that having worked for myself for many years I was concerned about being part of a public company and having bosses to report to.  But as I told the gathering, I have not met a Smartgroup executive that I did not like.

What is new is the level of support from across the business, including Marketing, Legal, Accounting, IT, HR and, in particular, the Executive Management Team. All have been very easy to work with.

There is a strong culture at Smartgroup – one of mutual respect. I’m still running my company; the main thing that has changed is the ownership.

To me, it’s simple: if I perform and if Smartequity performs, I will be left alone. If I don’t, well then I can expect, let’s just say, a greater level of support!

I’m pleased to report that here at Smartequity, we are enjoying working with the Smartgroup team.


Deven Billimoria
Chief Executive Officer
Smartgroup

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