Access Perks Honored with Workplace Awards: Lessons in Positive Workplace Culture

Posted by Lisa Oyler on Dec. 18, 2023

Hi. I’m Lisa Oyler, HR Director at Access Perks, and I have a confession to make. I’m obsessed with passionate about creating positive workplace culture.

Culture is one of those elusive, hard-to-define-and-harder-to-shape, aspects of the job. That sure hasn’t kept us from trying.

For example, I’m constantly learning new ways to shape this company’s workplace culture into one that is inclusive, energetic, empowering, engaging… all the buzz words brought to life. On that note, we have some exciting news to share.

Access Perks is the winner of several workplace awards in 2023. More on that later, however.

Even as we refine our own company culture, entire Access teams dedicate their working hours to helping our partners meet their goals, be those money-saving, employee-retaining, or customer-gaining goals. By fully supporting their Access Perks employee benefits, we ensure the employers we partner with have every opportunity to develop their own workplace culture.

In other words, we’re passionate about creating positive work culture for ourselves AND our business partners.

So what goes into creating positive workplace culture? Let’s back up a little and explore:

What Does an Award-Winning Workplace Culture Look Like?

2023 Access Perks Workplace Awards

Award-winning Support Teams at Access

What Does Award-Winning Workplace Culture Look Like?

The process of applying for workplace awards is extensive, involving long surveys and evaluations that dive deep into dozens of topics. Since our first attempt a decade ago, the very act of trying to win workplace awards has taught us a lot about what employees are looking for from their employer, nationally, locally AND within our own walls.

sunshine on a seedling sproutThat set us on a path to seeking new ways to cultivate a positive culture. I continued my studies of culture at the recent SHRM conference. I’ve tested out corporate events (like onsite health fairs, blood drives, dental cleanings, etc.) and brought in monthly food trucks. I’ve surveyed employees and facilitated one-on-one conversations between our CEO and every single employee.

Best of all, we’ve found community with the incredible employers that we partner with in order to offer their employees the Access Perks discount program as an employee benefit. Many of these partners are workplace culture rockstars, and we’ve learned a lot from them as well.

What have we learned? Culture is just too big to sum up in one sentence, or really in one blog article. However, we can look to industry experts and find patterns among businesses known for having excellent work culture. We identified a number of factors that are crucial in whether a company’s culture is award-winning or not. Below you’ll find a short list of the factors that Access Perks has been working on over the years. As a bonus, you can click on any one of the topics below for a deeper dive into the subject to learn more about each one.

Clearly, a lot goes into creating positive work culture. You don’t need workplace awards to know if you’re strong or weak in these areas. You’ll know you’re doing a good job when your workforce is happy, productive and stable. Those are the most important awards for your efforts, and (indeed) the whole point of working on culture in the first place.

New call-to-actionThat said, we do like that the awards are outward confirmation that we’re headed in the right direction. And on that note…

2023 Access Perks Workplace Awards

Access Development, which includes Access Perks as a sister company, has won 6 prestigious workplace awards in 2023. Each award has a unique focus, but they all required extensive research provided either by HR or by a company-wide survey of employees.

Best and Brightest - top 101 awardNation’s Best & Brightest Companies to Work For – Top 101 (5th consecutive win. Also, our second time being recognized in the Top 101 Companies in the Nation) Through an extensive employee survey, Best and Brightest evaluates factors like how well a company communicates, furthers employee education, recognizes accomplishments and works to retain employees.

Best and Brightest in Wellness awardNation’s Best & Brightest in Wellness (5th consecutive win) This award celebrates excellence in health awareness, both physical and mental. This Best & Brightest award looks deep into a company's health and wellness efforts and initiatives, looking for those that "create richer lives and grow stronger communities."

Gallagher logoGallagher Best-In-Class Employer Gallagher dives deep into the data provided by companies, analyzing details like the types of benefits offered and the price paid for them. Top companies are named Best-in-Class, and Gallagher analyzes the data provided by all participants to show nationwide trends and benchmarks.

Healthy Worksite awardHealthy Worksite Platinum Award (8th consecutive win. Also, our 6th time earning a platinum distinction, the highest award.) The Utah Worksite Wellness Council evaluates the hard data about each company’s efforts to promote and support employee wellness.  The platinum award is reserved for companies that successfully link health promotion objectives to business outcomes.

Best companies to work for awardUtah’s Best Companies to Work For (6th win) Utah Business Magazine’s rigorous vetting process includes an anonymous employee survey in order to rank a company’s flexibility, pay equity, vacation time and more. This award is reserved for companies that "set the standard amid ever-evolving perceptions of workplace culture ideals."

SL Trib top places to work awardSalt Lake Tribune Top Workplaces 2023 (8th consecutive win) Using an extensive company-wide employee survey, the Top Workplaces award evaluates employee engagement based on indicators of a company's 'organizational health': company values, training, work-life balance, leadership and more. Access was among the 166 Utah companies to receive the highest ratings from employees on the factors that matter most to employees.

We consider these awards to be (in part) a reflection of the efforts of leadership to build a positive workplace culture at Access. Even more so, we recognize they’re a testament to the amazing people and teams working day in and day out to support the businesses we work with.

Meet the Support Teams at Access Perks

As an HR director, I try to help every new employee feel good about their decision to work for Access. One way I do this is by sharing the company’s history and values during orientation. For Access, it’s the famous “Napkin story.” In 1984, our founder Larry Maxfield drew a triangle (seen in our logo) onto a table napkin to illustrate his business plan. The points of the triangle represent the three audiences we serve. The Access Perks employee discount program helps employers engage their employees, helps employees save money at local businesses on everyday and fun purchases, and helps local businesses attract new customers.

HR Stress Index Survey Results

As Access has grown, these audiences remain our pillars, and we owe a lot to the awesome teams who specialize in serving each one. Our own workplace culture has grown more positive because of these employees who bring their dedication and optimistic energy to work every day. More importantly, each team has a role in ensuring our partners have a good experience. That way, employers can spend less time worrying about whether their employees are using and enjoying their discount benefits, and more time developing their own workplace culture.

Client Success Team: Helping Employers Engage Their Employees

arrow hitting a bullseyeWhenever an employer partners with Access Perks to provide the nation’s largest private discount network as a benefit, they are served by the client success team. This team walks step-by-step beside each client during onboarding and benefit launch, and it doesn’t end there. Client success is at their disposal to help the client, well, succeed. This includes working with employers to help them meet their unique goals and being available when questions arise. It also includes proactively reaching out when there are exciting new updates, as well as regularly providing print-ready and electronic marketing materials that will keep the program running strong.

Ryan Ellis, who leads the client success team says, “There’s more to it than saving money (though that’s a big part). It’s about showing employees that their employer cares and values them, fostering a workplace where everyone feels appreciated and engaged.”

Member Service Team: Fielding the Questions so HR Doesn’t Have to

Our in-house member service team serves all the employees who call, chat or email in with questions and concerns about their discount benefits. For HR professionals, selecting employee benefits is only one of many varied tasks we’re expected to perform. The less time we can spend managing each program the better. Who has time to guide each employee through activating their benefits, finding the perfect discount and then redeeming it? Certainly not HR.

customer service agentLuckily, Access Perks has the time and the training to do just that. Even more, the member service team is unique in their focus on caller satisfaction rather can call time. Their mission is not just to resolve issues, but to elevate the overall experience, thus contributing to the betterment of our clients’ cultures.

“Access Perks wants to be more than a service provider, we want to be a true partner in the employee engagement journey,” said Kelly Do, member services manager. “By offering personalized support, where every interaction is a delightful one, we can reflect that positivity back on the employer who provided the benefit in the first place. Even the newest member services representative is a vital member of our team, a sentiment we share through our daily interactions.”

The Merchant Team: Ensuring this Employee Benefit is One That Gets Used

As architects of the discount program itself, the merchant team secures top-notch discounts that cater to a broad spectrum of interests and demographics. Access holds direct relationships with mega corporations like Disney to secure discount Disneyland tickets AND every single small-town mom & pop shop listed on the site.

US map full of dollar signsYou can bet it takes a lot of effort to maintain relationships for over a million discount providers, but it yields distinct benefits for our partners. Firstly, the team has negotiating power to promise exclusivity and security (none of these deals are public facing) in exchange for deals that are better than those found in most discount programs. Secondly, the team has the manpower/womanpower to reach out to small businesses one at a time. This cumulative effort means that even members who live in small and rural areas will be within proximity of valuable discounts. Thirdly, the team establishes a direct point of contact which ensures better compliance when members arrive to redeem their discounts. It’s a seamless and rewarding experience for all parties involved.

Tracie Ellis, VP of Partnership Marketing, “Our Merchant Team secures partnerships, but more importantly we cultivate relationships. We know that even the small businesses are integral to the program. This not only keeps compliance levels high, it also fosters inclusivity, making our program more enjoyable for employees everywhere.”

Partner with the Access Perks Team

Workplace culture is driven by multiple factors in any organization, and there’s only so much one HR director can do to cultivate a culture where every employee feels valued. That’s because every employee influences the culture of a company, adding to its unique flavor. We’re fortunate here at Access to have awesome employees who bring their positive energy to work every day, building a great place to work for everyone.

Whether you’re looking for an inclusive benefit to offer your employees or you just want a partner that will do all the heavy lifting so you can get back to your other culture-cultivating efforts, be sure to reach out to Access Perks so we can discuss how to help you get there.


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Topics: employee perks, Employee Benefits Costs, Employee Benefits, Employee Health Insurance, Health Insurance Prices, Awards, lifestyle benefits, open enrollment, best employee perks

Lisa Oyler

Written by Lisa Oyler

Lisa has over 25 years of human resources and training and development experience along with a passion to help others make a difference both personally and professionally in all that they do. Her specialties include: Employee Relations, Recruitment, Management Training, Coaching, Performance Management, Orientation, Customer Service Trends & Training and Strength Assessment.