Flight Centre: Knowing your audience is key to success

With 10,000 people working for Flight Centre Travel group (FCTG), you might think setting up a Workplace Giving program would be an incredible challenge. Anita Russell, however, General Manager of the Flight Centre Foundation, says the process is simple!

In the last four years, Ms Russell has seen FCTG’s Workplace Giving program grow from just 2 per cent, to 30.5 per cent participation across the organisation. FCTG is not stopping there, aiming to have 40 per cent of employees signed up by the end of the 2017 financial year.

FCTG matches all donations dollar-for-dollar across its 10,000 staff, doubling its collective impact for the six charities it supports.

“When new starters join the company, Workplace Giving is included in their payroll documentation so they can sign in from day one with the company”

Anita Russell, General Manager, Flight Centre Foundation

From then on, employees can manage their deductions themselves via the online Payroll Kiosk, allowing employees to start, add or modify donations at any time.

“Even with the recent expansion of our program to include a significant number of charities in addition the Flight Centre Foundation’s partners, the core process was easy. Once things are set up, it’s routine,” she says.

Ms Russell says key to the company’s success is ensuring staff are hearing the message in the most appropriate way. “What we find works really well for us is conferences. It’s the one time you have face-to-face interaction each year with all staff.

“Whether it’s one of our charity partners presenting, or an activity that involves them such as packing hampers of food for a food bank, or doing business planning or brainstorming, we’re managing to get the messaging out there,” she says.

FCTG is not afraid to have some fun while doing it, setting targets with challenges that have an element of public humiliation for leaders. “We find that a bit of healthy competition among internal businesses never hurts! We’ve had people spray tanned on stage; we’ve had people eating things they’d probably prefer not to – but it’s all for a very, very good cause which is increasing the Workplace Giving.”

(C)Rick Monk.com Photography
(C)Rick Monk.com Photography

Anita says leaders across the organisation are really supportive of including foundation and Workplace Giving activities in those events.

“[We] have leaders at the team leader level, at the business leader level and at senior leadership level endorsing the program and showing their support of it,” she says. “And saying, ‘ this is something we do and it’s something we want you to be able to do too, because together we can really, really make a difference.”