The staff of UniSuper, winner of the Default Fund of the Year at the Conexus Financial Superannuation Awards are used to messages from the fund’s chief executive, Kevin O’Sullivan, extolling the virtues of focusing on members and directing their efforts to improving member outcomes.

Keeping a large fund with a relatively large workforce happens through “constant reinforcement of why we’re there”, O’Sullivan says.

“We have quarterly company briefings; I do a CEO blog every six weeks,” he says.

“Just about every communication we give to our staff highlights that it’s all about members.

“When new people join us, I give them good stories – what won’t we do, what will we do; it’s always about members’ best interests.”

O’Sullivan says that when the default position of a fund is great member service, rather than monitoring activities to make sure it happens, the emphasis shifts to keeping an eye out for those times that it doesn’t happen.

“We have our ear to the ground just about every day, and we’re watching for whenever it doesn’t happen,” he says.

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“Thankfully I don’t have to pull up too many people about that. A great example for us is our call centre, our contact centre. We have five values – every company has got their values – and I won’t take you through all of that but the one additional value or additional characteristic we have in the call centre is called ‘genuine care’. It’s a culture of treating people as if they were your mother or your aunt. Don’t hang up until you feel like their issues have been resolved. We don’t have time set in terms of how much time people can be on a phone call. We want people to think that when they talk to UniSuper they have someone who has empathy for them, they have the authority to say yes or no, to the extent that they can.

“We don’t have to track it, because it’s just so constant. It’s part of the culture. I’ve been there for two and a half years now. To join an organisation that already had it within its DNA made my job easy.”

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