Surveyed Australian employees value extra bonus, work flexibility, and mentoring the most

Published on 15/11/2023 by Ojasvini

Uncover the latest trends in employee onboarding, training, and performance evaluation for small and mid-sized enterprises. In addition, gain insights into employee development plans, benefits, and recognition that resonate with 994 Australian respondents.

Employee engagement software can help companies maintain awareness of corporate culture

The benefits that a company offers to its employees can be a key factor in retaining personnel. Even an article by EmployeeVibes says that ‘offering competitive benefits can attract top talent, retain experienced employees, increase productivity, reduce turnover costs, and create a positive company culture’. 

In the first part of this survey report, we discovered that a majority of our survey-participants are satisfied with their job. Other key takeaways were that a healthy work-life balance and positive relations with co-workers lead to comfort in the workplace. Additionally, we also gained insights into the job-hopping situation and how some employees are feeling stressed and would like to be recognised and acknowledged for their work.

In this aspect, employee engagement software can help companies maintain awareness of corporate culture among employees and increase their level of investment in the company. Some typical features of this software include feedback management, performance management, employee recognition, and survey and employee reward programs. 

This part delves deeper into whether companies are using technology to onboard employees, provide them with training, and even evaluate their performance. We will also discuss whether there are any employee development plans in place and what types of benefits and recognition our surveyed employees value the most. We questioned 994 Australian respondents, for which the full methodology can be found at the end of this article.

On-site onboarding is preferred by a significant proportion of respondents

‘A positive onboarding experience has a significant impact on employee productivity, retention and safety’, says the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations, Australia. With that said, an effective onboarding process can help acclimate new hires into your work culture. Moreover, it can also help to provide them with all the resources and knowledge they need to grow within the firm from the outset. 

When we asked our respondents what type of onboarding process they’d value the most, a combined total of 54% said they would prefer on-site onboarding, of which:

  • 20% said they’d prefer ‘on-site shadowing sessions with peers’
  • 18% chose ‘on-site individual training modules conducted by a trainer’, and
  • 16% would prefer ‘on-site group training modules conducted by a trainer’

While remote onboarding with human interactions was not preferred as much as in-person sessions, automated remote onboarding was the least preferred. Surprisingly, we also learned that 19% of respondents have never had an onboarding session throughout their careers. This data means that there are still some companies that do not have any onboarding practices in place, meaning no first-hand interaction with new joiners. 

From the data, we can safely say that it’s important for new hires to be properly integrated into a new company with more on-site and in-person sessions and meetings. To this point, an article by Harvard Business Reviews says that 'when employees feel a sense of belonging, they are more likely to be engaged and productive. They feel valued and understood, which motivates them to contribute their best work'.

Survey-takers value ‘mentoring/training from experienced co-workers’

The prevailing preference for in-person onboarding by our panelists leans into the following factors they value most in an onboarding process:

Primary factors that employees value the most in an onboarding process

In addition, 52% of our surveyed panelists who have experienced an onboarding process mentioned that they were offered onboarding training and that it was useful. The respondents who were offered onboarding training said that the following software platforms are used by their companies:

Onboarding software could also help automate tasks, thereby saving time and money. Most of these tools allow you to centralise essential information on any new employee, create a digital checklist of activities to be carried out, and inform them in real-time of the tasks to be completed. It also facilitates automated monitoring of onboarding progress for managers and HR teams, either in-person or remotely.

How can small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) choose appropriate onboarding software?

There are multiple options available when it comes to employee onboarding software providers, so how to choose the right one? Here are a few points to consider:

  • Consider the specific features and capabilities you want in your software. For instance, you may require a self-service portal in your software or would like a compliance management feature as well. 
  • Think about whether the software offers integration with your existing system and tools.
  • Is the software well-designed and easy to navigate, and does it come with a user-friendly interface?
  • How much are you willing to spend? 
  • Can the tool be scaled up or down according to company needs?

The next section will provide insights into what employees want in terms of benefits and recognition. We also list some tips on how SMEs can use digital tools to track employee performance and manage benefits.

Employees want extra bonus/payments as workplace recognition

Bonuses that are rewarded fairly and transparently can be extremely motivational, according to an article by Human Resources Director (HRD) Australia. 

An organisation can recognise the merits of its employees in different forms. However, among our panel of respondents, the following ways are most appreciated when it comes to recognising work and effort:

  • 52% want extra bonus/payment based on performance
  • 49% seek positive feedback from managers/coworkers
  • 20% want redistribution of profits from the company to employees

Some other responses included public shout-outs (19%), gifts/rewards on special events (19%), and promotions (19%). Although predominant, it's clear that the financial element is not the only valued factor.

Tips for businesses

  • Setting up a regular and transparent performance evaluation meeting can be a solution. This can also help businesses fully justify a salary raise based on employee performance.
  • To evaluate the performance of their employees on an objective basis, managers and HR professionals can also rely on digital tools. Additionally, we noticed in our survey responses that employee performance management software is being used, with more than a quarter of respondents reporting that their company uses it.  
  • Performance feedback can be given in writing or can even be carried out in person to ensure there is appropriate time for questions.

54% of respondents view ‘work flexibility’ as the biggest workplace benefit

‘Of all the benefits that companies and organisations can offer to employees, one benefit—the flexibility to work when and how they want—is the most empowering’, says an article by Forbes. Even 54% of our survey-takers view work flexibility as the most significant benefit. 

Having said that, workplace flexibility can not only positively impact employee health and well-being but also overall productivity, morale, and inclusivity. The other benefits that our panel values are depicted below:

Primary workplace benefits that employees value most in a job

Apart from this, we questioned our respondents as to what benefits are already being offered in their current workplace. Not to our surprise, work flexibility (as mentioned by 40%), is one benefit that’s already there. 

Interestingly, 18% of our panelists said that their company does not offer any benefits. It is surprising to see that even in this competitive job market where some organisations could be struggling to retain top talent, there are still some who are not even providing basic benefits to their employees.

Nearly half say their companies don’t use any software to manage benefits

Those respondents who have some form of benefits in their current job were asked whether their company uses a software/platform to manage their benefits. We got the following responses:

 Nearly half of companies don’t use a platform/software to manage employee benefits

Almost half of our panel responses indicated that there is no software in place to manage benefits. Manually managing employee benefits can be a challenging and time-consuming task. It can be advantageous for organisations to consider using digital solutions to keep some or all of their benefits plans organised.

Tip for businesses

Benefits management software can help HR departments organise and manage employee information for multiple purposes. These could include medical coverage, pension, disability, retirement, and other such benefits. Such tools can potentially help save time, as users can automatically update employee information.

Typical features of this type of software include employee database management, payroll management, compliance management, online benefits enrollments, a self-service portal, and provider management, among others.

We will move on to discuss employee development plans, the software used for them, and finally, some tips for SMEs to boost employee engagement.

More than one-third of respondents are not offered any development plan

Employee development plans can indicate that the organisation values and is invested in their employees' growth. Moreover, such plans can help workers chart an objective and clear path to career advancement within the company.

However, our survey revealed that 34% of the participants say that their company has no current process set for their development. The other responses are indicated in the chart below:

Do Australian SMEs offer employee development plans?

Development plans must be tailored to employees' career path and offer value to the organisation for it to be beneficial to both the employee and the business. This is clear from the fact that 15% of respondents say that the development plan offered by their companies did not help them in their career growth.

What particular training requirements does an employee have for their day-to-day job? What are their aspirations for their career? To ascertain the goals of a development program that is pertinent to the business and the employee, answering these questions is crucial.

Did you know?

The main software types that companies use for employee development include:

  • Employee training software to help automate educational activities for corporate employees (31%)
  • Project management software to help automate task assignment, resource allocation, and tracking of all project phases (26%)
  • Video conferencing software to host remote meetings and conferences through two-way video and audio (25%)
  • Onboarding software to eliminate the need for paper forms and automate workflows for any new hire (24%)
  • Remote support software to help with screen sharing, text chat, and monitoring (22%)

6 ways to boost employee engagement

‘Companies that prioritize employee engagement are more likely to have better retention rates and increased productivity’, says an article by Indeed. To help SMEs, we have laid down some tips on how they can boost employee engagement: 

1. Investing in your employees can be very effective. For instance, creating effective employee development programs can help employees grow within the company.

2. Since 19% of survey participants value public shoutouts, hosting a monthly/quarterly shoutouts meeting to appreciate high-performers could be beneficial.

3. Employee well-being and engagement go hand-in-hand. Focusing on the mental and emotional health of employees is crucial to increasing productivity, so offering programs and benefits that support this can be useful. 

4. Encourage feedback culture and make sure to gather employees' opinions via surveys. Such surveys could help gather anonymous, targeted feedback and derive actionable insights that businesses can use to improve employee engagement. 

5. Provide work flexibility and work-life balance to support your employees in balancing work and responsibilities along with personal commitments. 

6. Lastly, provide a positive onboarding process with appropriate training materials and one-on-one guidance.

Looking for employee engagement software? Check out our catalogue!


To gather data for this report, Software Advice conducted an online survey of 994 people in July 2023. The selection criteria for the participants are mentioned below:

  • Australian resident aged between 18 and 65 years
  • Employed either full-time or part-time in a small or medium-sized business (with a minimum of 2 and maximum of 250 employees)
  • Reports to a direct manager
  • Does not hold an owner or intern position

This article may refer to products, programs or services that are not available in your country, or that may be restricted under the laws or regulations of your country. We suggest that you consult the software provider directly for information regarding product availability and compliance with local laws.

About the author

Ojasvini is a content analyst for Software Advic. She shares insights about software technologies critical to SMEs. Inspired by growing tech trends and how these help SMEs to grow.

Ojasvini is a content analyst for Software Advic. She shares insights about software technologies critical to SMEs. Inspired by growing tech trends and how these help SMEs to grow.