IDEATE | Whistle While you Walk
by Samantha Barnes
Whistle While you Walk
Every year, a report is released on the top 10 companies to work for in South Africa. Useful information is to be found there for sure. Companies make themselves attractive places to work for in all sorts of ways, besides the obvious one (that being moolah). Accounting companies boast onsite masseurs, IT companies have ‘chill lounges’, and a pet food supply company allows employees to bring their pets to work. We explore some of the ways that South African companies are stepping outside the office cubicle to incentivise employees.
Employers are doing this for several reasons, but the one that stands out is: make it worthwhile and attractive enough to work at your company, and the more likely your employees are to stay.
Bring Your Pooch to Work
Cube Route is the exclusive distributor of Iams, Eukanuba and Eukanuba Veterinary Diets pet food in South Africa and owner of the popular pet e-retail site, ePetstore.co.za. The company decided to offer an incentive to its employees that is very special and outside the norm. It decided to invite its staff to bring their pets to work.
“Committed to the veterinary industry, our staff members have all either worked in veterinary clinics or retailers in the industry or are also just responsible and loving pet owners. Given that our business is focused on pets and pet nutrition, it’s a natural progression for our
animals to share our work lives with us. And, of course, we also have a ready stash of Eukanuba and Iams treats for furry visitors to the office,” says Carla Goedeke, Customer Care Department head at Cube Route. “Cube Route also supplies Iams and Eukanuba to all staff for our pets, as part of our employee benefit package. This has always been, and continues to be, a huge perk for our team.”
No Barking Please, We Are Working
The animals need to be vetted, well socialised and calm. “They don’t bark when people are on the phone or behave in ways that are disruptive to the daily business,” says Goedeke. “Staff may bring their pets to work only if they’re sure they are suitable office pets. If there is conflict, we discuss and resolve it.”
Don’t assume that it is the antisocial person in accounts or the vets who are the keenest to bring their best friend to work. “Over the years, there have been too many pets to mention who have visited us,” says Goedeke. “We have hosted hand-raised kittens, where staff took turns taking them home because they needed to be syringe-fed every few hours, even through the night; a cat that came to work by car every day for two years (and thoroughly loved the ride); and a Jack Russell puppy, Fagan, that was so adored and such a rascal that he inspired a mascot logo, still used today, 10 years later.”
Cube Route vet, Frans Pretorius, brings his Jack Russell, Bakkies, or his Great Dane puppy, Sussie, for a visit every few months. Medical equipment consultant, Darren Gomersall, brought his red setter, Jamison, to work daily, throughout his puppyhood, to socialise him and to avoid his bored, destructive tendencies when left alone at home.
Brighter Days at Work
“Having animals around is guaranteed to brighten the day,” says Goedeke. “There is nothing nicer than whiling away the hours with a purring cat or Jack Russell on your lap having a good snuggle. What’s more, we really can see just what a difference feeding our brands makes. Not everyone gets to experience this in their line of work and it’s inspiring to see glossy coats, shiny eyes and great body condition.” Felines and canines get a well-deserved break at an outdoor garden area, with poop scoops and packets mandatory and the responsibility of their master or mistress.
Cube Route employees are regularly visited by Oscar and the JOY Dogs, a group of therapy animals (Old English sheepdogs) sponsored by Cube Route/Eukanuba-Iams SA. Dog handler, Sue Green, visits care facilities, retailers and offices with her dogs for the express purpose of providing staff with the opportunity to interact with animals during their working hours.
It is not just corporate executives whose performance is being rewarded. Volkswagen employees below the level of supervisor are incentivised via a programme called MyBucs. This includes employees involved with the production of cars in Uitenhage and support areas, as well as sales and marketing in Sandton, Johannesburg.
“Production employees are measured and rewarded on schedule, quality, safety and cost. Sales and marketing employees are measured on market share, sales, service and ‘fixed right first time’ customer satisfaction scores. Each of the four elements accounts for 4%, meaning that employees can earn up to an additional 16% of their monthly salary every month.
Employees in our Group parts warehouse are measured on turnover, procurement, distribution and returns,” says Matt Gennrich, general manager: Group Communication, Volkswagen Group South Africa. Absenteeism affects payout in the relevant month. Supervisors and above receive an annual bonus based on the company’s and their personal performance.
Encentivize is an employee rewards, recognition and loyalty platform that utilises behavioural science to create high-performance organisations and manages the rewards for clients. Employees select from an online store and Encentivize facilitates the purchase and distribution of these rewards.
“Encentivize believes in offering real rewards instead of a set of benefits that offer lower perceived value. These rewards are funded through true return on investment on improvements in staff behaviour,” says Martin Naude. “This can be combined with a set of internal rewards such as leave, lunch with the CEO, charities or other prizes.”
These unique incentives are supplied by third parties, including the following: retail (Woolworths, Makro, Shoprite), transport (Uber, Tiger Wheel), health and wellness (healthspas.co.za), gifts (gifts.co.za), travel and accommodation (flights and cruises), entertainment (movies, dinners), and airtime.
RMB Private Bank has been using the programme for the past year. It uses a combination of points, rewards and leader boards to motivate staff and drive behaviour. Harmony Gold is running a programme to drive health and wellness. If miners go for regular check-ups and answer health-related questions, Encentivize sends them airtime as a reward. This programme helps the miners and helps Harmony understand their needs better. Encentivize is rolling out a more extensive programme focused on performance and is improving health and wellness initiatives.
Human beings are complex beings (don’t we know it). So, it stands to reason that pay is not the only motivator. Rewards acknowledge good performance – which makes both rand and sense.