IAG switches on new workplace flexibility technology

IAG, Australia’s largest general insurer and owner of NRMA Insurance and CGU Insurance, has created a new app called ‘Switch’ that supports flexible working by enabling contact centre employees to make changes to their rosters and work hours online without seeking manager approval.

Developed by IAG over the last 18 months as part of its ongoing focus to create a flexible workplace, the idea for Switch came in response to the flexibility challenges of the contact centre environment and a gap in the current technologies available for workforce management.

IAG Executive General Manager Amanda Whiting said: “Contact centres have historically been very structured and inflexible when it comes to people’s time. The benefit of Switch is that it gives our employees more control over their time and work-life balance, while allowing us to manage our business needs.

“Flexible work options have often been easier to implement for people working in head offices, however, given that a large proportion of our people work in contact centres, we saw the need to look at options that benefit all our employees.

“We believe that offering a flexible workplace is important for attracting and retaining the best talent. This also translates into our customer experience as good customer service is often a reflection of a good employee experience.”

The patent-pending app is unique to IAG and works by using a pricing algorithm and digital marketplace that manages supply and demand for different work shifts.

Employees can earn ‘Flexicoins’ by opting to move to a shift that the business needs to be filled. Once they have enough coins they can then use these to make shift changes when they need to. If the employee has enough coins in their wallet, the shift change is automatically and instantly approved.

Ms Whiting said Switch shows when the business needs people to work and incentivises employees with a higher number of coins if they choose to work those hours.

“The process of changing shifts has previously been quite manual and often involved several conversations between the employee, their manager and colleagues. Not only is this time-consuming for the individual, but labour intensive for the business,” she said.

“The Switch app has automated that process and works in a way that no one needs to justify why they need to make changes and instead can change shifts on their own terms. We recognise that flexibility is different for everyone, which is how Switch really starts to add value.”

The app is being rolled out across IAG and has been well-received by the employees that have used it. Results from early trials showed a significant reduction in sick leave and an increase in employee engagement and mental wellbeing following the trial.

“What we’ve seen is that some people are making small changes that can make a big difference to their lives. For example, we had one person changing their shift by just 15 minutes so they could leave a bit earlier, which allowed them to beat the traffic and make it home in time for the after-school pick-ups and dinner,” Ms Whiting said.

IAG offer a range of flexible working options for employees as part of its ‘MyFlex’ program which looks at flexibility in terms of time, annual leave, where people work and how people work. This includes options such as part-time, job sharing, variable hours, working from home and compressed working weeks. Currently, more than 2,000 Australian employees work from home regularly.

More information about IAG’s flexible work options is set out in the Benefits area of our website's Careers section.

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