Renee Whiteside, People & Culture Leader, Mercer Wollongong
Mercer believes in building brighter futures by redefining the world of work, reshaping retirement and investment outcomes, and unlocking real health and well-being. Mercer’s more than 25,000 employees are based in 44 countries and the firm operates in over 130 countries.
Q: How big is the Mercer office in Wollongong?
Mercer in Australia, and particularly Mercer in Wollongong, is known for administering superannuation. A centre for excellence in processing super administration. We have over 500 employees on this site that support the administration of our clients.
Q: How would you describe living in Wollongong?
When it comes to lifestyle, we live by the sea and in between the mountains. In business, Wollongong is home to large businesses and supporting businesses around that. The transport system offers great mobility and there is great access to the University of Wollongong.
“We have the best of everything in Wollongong.”
Q: When potential employees are considering relocating here, how do you sell Wollongong to them?
Competing with the salary structures that large businesses in Sydney or Melbourne can offer doesn’t work. Where we can compete is with what we refer to as our ‘#allrolescanflex’ mantra.
We have the flexibility of working from home, different hours of work, compressed hours and days of the week. Providing that we’re still making our client obligations we work to suit the individual.
We are proud of that mantra. The ability to implement that comes from working and living locally and offering that flexibility within the organisation.
Q: How do you find candidates for the roles in Wollongong?
We use traditional methods to advertise some roles. In terms of professional roles, we work in partnership with the University of Wollongong. We’ve been working towards a graduate program, to support a succession plan into our business in that space.
Our partnership comprises internship programs, work placements, supporting the university research and development projects, or syllabus programs. Partnering strengthens the university and our succession planning for talent at Mercer as well.
“We don’t have much difficulty in attracting candidates, 80% of new employees are sourced locally.”
Q: How do you maintain high retention rates?
At Mercer our #allrolescanflex focus, where people feel that they can do their work in their time, it’s meaningful to them, and enhances their family life.
I would attribute low staff turnover in Wollongong generally, to the ability to get to work so easily in such a short time.
There is absolutely a community feel. That enriches the care and trust that we build in our organisation and across the communities that we work in.
Q: How would you describe the business environment in Wollongong?
There is a strong sense of community in Wollongong, we co-create and collaborate around ideas and issues.
Many business networks exist here, Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI) has an Illawarra chapter of AHRI, I am the convenor for the Illawarra chapter and part of the Illawarra Business Chamber. I get to experience the sense of community firsthand through these networks.
“These groups are very approachable making it easy to network in Wollongong.”
Q: What words come to mind thinking of Wollongong?
Beaches, environment, lifestyle, flexibility and community.
Q: What do you feel is unique about Wollongong?
The mobility we have in Wollongong to be able to go from my home, to the beach, to the university, to my workplace.