Defence Health

Defence Health has been selected as an Employer of Choice in The Australian Business Awards 2021. The Australian Business Award for Employer of Choice [EOC] recognises organisations that develop workplaces that maximise the full potential of their workforce through established policies and practices which demonstrate effective employee recruitment, engagement and retention.

Defence Health is a long-established private health insurer, being one of the first insurers to begin operations when the National Health Act was passed in 1953. Since then, the fund has been committed to improving the health and wellbeing of the families of serving Australian Defence Force personnel and the Defence community.

As a not-for-profit insurer, we focus on our promise to look after our own. We work tirelessly to deliver valuable health benefits for members – rather than dividends to shareholders or foreign owners.

With the arrival of COVID-19 in March 2020, Defence Health responded quickly to protect members and employees. The rapid implementation of secure technology enabled more than 200 staff to maintain their operations and service to members while working from home.

The business established a Pandemic Response Team which designed a $13 million financial support program for members; introduced COVID-19 leave arrangements for casual workers; produced timely video communications for staff engagement; and committed significant resources to the health, resilience and wellbeing of an entirely remote workforce.

Many virtual wellness sessions were conducted; home-office ergonomic assessment and training was a compulsory online unit for all staff; and the business invested significantly in special events and activities to support employee connectedness and engagement during lengthy periods of lockdown.

Defence Health has a strong and clearly defined values-based culture. Prospective employees are assessed against a detailed competency framework of core skills and attributes for each role, as well their alignment with the company values of trust, respect, ownership, excellence and community.

Workplace culture and the strength of company values are monitored through annual and quarterly engagement surveys, with all measures scoring highly (engagement 87% in February 2021). In the June 2021 survey, 98% of staff reported they “believe in our values”. And in the same survey, staff recorded the equal-highest-ever engagement score of 89%.

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