What Medibank has learnt from 2 years working through COVID

Article written By David Koczkar (Chief Executive Officer, Medibank)
It’s been 717 days since the Medibank team first moved to working from home due to COVID. And during that time, they have completely reimagined their approach to work, based on what they have learnt from listening to their people.

Medibank have read through more than 40,000 comments from their employees about their experiences over the last 2 years. And they’ve thrown out the old stereotypes about the office – because their people’s expectations have changed and how they work has changed with them.

Every business is different and for many, getting people back into the office is what they feel is best for their employees. Medibank have taken a different approach.

It’s not where you work, it’s what you do that counts
Medibank let the work they are doing determine where to best do it. Their people are empowered to make decisions on where they work, based on what they are doing and where it’s best to get that work done. For them, work is something they do, not somewhere they go, and the office is an enabler for work that involves collaborating and connecting with colleagues. Their emphasis is on the outcomes, not the locations.

Getting social makes business sense
If there is one thing COVID has taught them it is the value of connecting with team mates – They want all their people to feel like they belong and that they are part of something. Medibank have a genuine human desire to connect with their team. Connecting virtually has worked, but face to face connection is important – but it doesn’t have to be office-based.

If you feel good, you work better, and we all benefit
Health and wellbeing is an intrinsic part of being able to work well. If you feel good, you are more likely to work better. As a health company Medibank have always prioritised the health and wellbeing of their people, and the past 2 years have been no exception. They have worked to support their people through the highs and lows of the pandemic and their data from late last year shows that employees working flexibly had consistently higher engagement over the quarter. And happy employees is translating to happy customers.

It’s opened up career paths
Without a doubt the virtual onboarding process for Medibank has been challenging. They have learnt to be more intentional about their employee experience overall, especially in key moments like onboarding. So in a virtual context they’ve ensured their leaders stepped up support of new employees. They also reassessed their whole approach to career progression. Medibank moved their professional development program online, opening up all learning and development programs to their employees and saw a 25% increase in people attending personal development courses and the time people spent undertaking leadership training almost doubled.

In leaving behind the belief that everyone has to be in the same office building to do their job effectively, they have broadened their talent pool, opening up opportunities for both existing and new employees from across the country.

Traditional approaches to work don’t accommodate the way people want to live
Their people have embraced the zero commutes, lunch time workouts, family dinners and school activities and they don’t want to revert back to the pre-pandemic ways of working. People still want to engage with their colleagues – this will always remain a hugely important part of how Medibank work.

The best talent will go to the companies that take a more future-focused approach to the workplace
Top talent will gravitate to those businesses that offer the opportunity to achieve their best – not just professionally but personally. People want more balance in their lives and they are prepared to go get it – higher employee turnover rates are symbolic of this. Medibank know for example there has been high resignation rates reported for healthcare and technology positions in Australia lately, so they are building a very detailed understanding of the drivers that employees and candidates in these cohorts have around career decisions, so they can refine what they can offer to this segment of employees to ensure it suits their needs.

Power to their people
While some might return to the practices of the past, for Medibank there is no looking back. Their approach to work is about empowering their people to determine the operating rhythms that work best for them to deliver great outcomes. This is the future of the work at Medibank.

Find out more about Medibank and view their current flexible opportunities on the Working Parents Connect platform here.