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Employers OF CHOICE 2021

HRD celebrates New Zealand’s standout industry leaders that are providing a truly great employee experience



Feature article .............................................. 2 Methodology ................................................ 3 2021 winners list .......................................... 5 Profiles .......................................................... 5 www.hcamag.com/nz




HARNESSING THE POWER OF PEOPLE AS NEW ZEALAND continues to recover from the global pandemic, employers’ eyes are set firmly on the future. The government’s response to COVID-19 was praised all over the world, lauded as being direct, fast and very effective. Now, as the country moves into the vaccination stage of the pandemic plan, it’s time for organisations to take a step back and consider the impact the past few months have had on their teams. While there’s no denying it’s been a rough year, some employers have thrived during the disruption and emerged stronger than ever. Here, HRD explores some of the key trends seen in this year’s Employers of Choice survey – in particular, how COVID upended strategic planning, enhanced employee engagement and impacted psychological health.

Mental health management The pandemic threw New Zealand employers quite the curve ball, with many leaders opting to make remote work the new norm. While there’s no denying that this saved many businesses, it also led to an increase in mental health issues. Research by AUT Business School found that 11% of New Zealand employees are feeling burnt out, primarily due to stress and overwork. This was only compounded by the isolation and uncertainty the pandemic brought, meaning employers had to act fast in order to stem a wellbeing crisis. “While many of our leaders and team members were used to a mixture of working from home and the office, and connecting virtually with colleagues located elsewhere,

Kim Culpan, Chorus


Employee engagement in New Zealand actually rose during the pandemic by a staggering 5% According to research by Peakon, New Zealand employers actively listened more closely to their workers during COVID-19, resulting in employees feeling heard, respected and empowered What’s more, working environment scores also improved by 7.3% – well above the global average of 6% Source: Peakon



“Continuing to support a highly flexible work environment but maintain an engaging, vibrant and productive workplace culture is going to be important”

what was different during the pandemic lockdowns was juggling work while family members, children or flatmates were at home together with managing the impacts of a lockdown on their wellbeing and mental health,” said Catherine Dixon, EGM people and culture at Suncorp New Zealand. “Our leaders needed to be more compassionate and to show more empathy with their team members and consider more flexible options depending on individual circumstances, while ensuring our business could

still operate effectively. We shifted the focus of an existing virtual leading coaching program to support this, and our CEO and senior leadership team held regular Skype sessions to keep leaders informed and provide an opportunity for leaders to ask questions or share any difficulties they were experiencing.”

Enhanced employee engagement As with all things in HR, communication is key. The pandemic acted as a catalyst for enhanced employee engagement, with managers investing more time and effort in conversing with their teams. In fact, research from Peakon found that, during the height of the pandemic, employee engagement in New Zealand improved by 5%. “Chorus saw employee engagement increase further during the lockdown period,”

AbbVie New Zealand, told HRD. “This meant ensuring employees had access to ongoing resources, support and timely information to get through their days. HR played a vital role in delivering operational and foundational resources to support employees during this time. We held structured workshops and seminars to focus on mental health, while also introducing support activities like virtual bingo and virtual “ZOOMba” exercise classes. “We also focused on ensuring employees stayed connected with each other professionally and on a personal level. Simple things like regular virtual coffee catch-ups and feedback sessions were effective measures in maintaining culture and understanding employee concerns. We opened up a broader dialogue between the leadership team and all employees, facilitating efforts to main-

“The focus is on bringing in a sustainable way of working, where our leaders and our people can be their best” Catherine Dixon, Suncorp New Zealand

said Kim Culpan, head of organisational development at Chorus. “I attribute that to the clear and constant communication from our executive team, the strong focus on employee wellbeing, and our leaders supporting their people to manage through in a very authentic and personable way.” However, the COVID-19 chaos brought with it feelings of uncertainty and anxiety, leaving employees worried about their futures. As a result, organisations that already had a strong culture of engagement found the move to remote work markedly easier than their counterparts. “It was important that we managed and addressed concerns around employee disengagement during the pandemic,” Andrew Tompkin, general manager of

tain team culture whilst taking on board new methods of deepening connections between employees. By addressing employee concerns of disengagement and the absence of a physical workspace, the transition was seamless and employees felt there was no loss in their sense of workplace culture or drop in engagement during the pandemic.”

Flexibility in hiring A flexible approach to work is the only way employers in New Zealand can stay competitive in today’s tough talent market. Recent studies from Growmotely found that remote and flexible working arrangements are the biggest draws for top-tier talent. Hybrid models are now seen as an intrinsic employee right, not a ‘nice to have’ option. COVID-19

METHODOLOGY In February 2021, the call went out for submissions for HRD’s Employers of Choice awards. Organisations of all sizes and across all industries in New Zealand were encouraged to enter. By 5 March, entries had flooded in and the judging process began. Entries were scored on the companies’ achievements and initiatives across a range of areas, including leadership, learning and development, wellbeing, flexibility, diversity and inclusion, work-life balance and recruitment. These areas represent the core facets of HR, as well as the new challenges facing employers as a result of the global pandemic. The judging panel took into consideration both qualitative and quantitative data, such as engagement survey results, average employee tenure and turnover rate. This year, 21 companies have been commended for their achievements and selected as HRD’s 2021 Employers of Choice.

3rd annual HRD Employers of Choice report

6.8 years winners’ average staff tenure

7.43% winners’ average employee turnover in the past 12 months






New Zealand employees are suffering from mass burnout, according to a recent report from Asana.

77% of New Zealand workers are currently suffering from burnout

Employees are losing 58% of their time to meetings and status checks

89% of employees are working late Teams have just 29% of their overall time left for skilled work Just 15% of workers feel heard by their leaders

Future planning strategies

Source: Asana’s Anatomy of Work Index 2021 New Zealand

opened up a whole global market of potential new hires, with employers expanding their candidate net indefinitely. So, if you’re not offering your employees flexibility, you can bet they’ll jump ship to someone who will. “Continuing to support a highly flexible work environment but maintain an engaging, vibrant and productive workplace culture is going to be important, as is an ongoing focus on supporting mental wellbeing,” Culpan added. “There’s an opportunity to continue to grow and develop people with new ways of working, and technology to support that too, to help people feel they’re moving forward.”

Investing in L&D But it’s not just about being flexible. The pandemic placed employee development on hold as the C-suite focused on more pressing issues. Now, as we move out of reactive mode



and into recovery, it’s time for HR leaders to reacquaint themselves with L&D. “Retaining top talent needs to look beyond flexibility, which is why we’re focused on providing a range of opportunities to support our people’s current and future needs and provide training to elevate them professionally and personally,” added Dixon. “We need to ensure that wherever or whenever our people are working, they are equipped with the capability, support and technology to be their most effective. It’s also important that we build the future capabilities of our people by embedding new ways of working that empower our employees so they can make the decisions they need to quickly and efficiently, using technology as an enabler. As we move into the post-pandemic workforce, employers should make this a priority.”

Looking to the future, the only constant is change. Employers will need to perfect all the skills they learned throughout the COVID-19 pandemic in order to harness the power of their people in 2021. Issues such as productivity in remote work, managing employee expectations and stemming a mental health fallout will remain at the forefront of employer mindsets for a good while to come. “Key focus areas will be: better understanding how to measure the productivity of our people so that we are building a high-performing workforce and ensuring our workspaces are redesigned to support our people to work in a scaled agile way,” Dixon explained. “The focus is on bringing in a sustainable way of working, where our leaders and our people can be their best, work effectively, and to empower us all to focus on the things that matter. This means a clear focus on ensuring the needs and wellbeing of our people, while shaping a culture that can absorb and adapt to new challenges and opportunities.” Without further ado, HRD is proud to reveal New Zealand’s Employer of Choice 2021 award winners.

EmployersOF CHOICE 2021

 oca-Cola Europacific Partners C New Zealand Telephone: 0800 262 226 Email: nzl.coke@ccamatil.com Website: www.cocacolaep.com/nz OCG Consulting Telephone: 09 377 7575 Email: resume@ocg.co.nz Website: www.ocg.co.nz SUB60 Couriers Telephone: 09 526 3670 Email: kiri.clark@messenger.co.nz Website: www.sub60.co.nz AA New Zealand AbbVie New Zealand CFS Finance Chorus Christchurch International Airport Clorox New Zealand Constellation Brands Crombie Lockwood Domain Name Commission DUAL New Zealand Gallagher Bassett Livestock Improvement Corporation Ravensdown Ltd Suncorp New Zealand Total Oil New Zealand TTC Global Xero Zurich New Zealand




oca-Cola Europacific Partners New Zealand (CCEP NZ), one of the largest bottlers and distributors of ready-to-drink beverages in the world, strives to remain “a place where great people want to work”. Previously known as Coca-Cola Amatil New Zealand, it offers its employees a great range of benefits, from competitive remuneration and rewards based on performance, to business-wide benefits including group insurance and up to 8% in matched Super/KiwiSaver contributions, to non-monetary benefits such as access to development offerings and various discounts. CCEP NZ empowers its people and enhances engagement and diversity through its flexible working policy, Flex@Amatil. This enables employees to work in ways that support their lifestyle and work-life balance. Its Work from Anywhere guide gives employees tips on how to keep themselves physically and mentally well when working from alternative locations, and its wellbeing program, Healthy@Amatil, helps them maintain their health and wellness. The company also invests in its people’s ongoing development. Its L&D self-service platform, Learn@Amatil, allows employees to learn anytime, anywhere – about induction, safety and wellbeing, leadership, talent, and technical and professional development. CCEP NZ kept all staff employed in 2020, paid 100% of wages, and repaid the $7.2m wage subsidy in full. It is a strong supporter of the community through Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park, Youthline Good2Great and the Coca-Cola Foundation, which has provided Sea Cleaners with $300k in funding every year since 2018.










art of the Chandler Macleod Group, OCG Consulting is an executive recruitment consultancy group with a purpose – we’re careermakers. OCG offers staff unlimited opportunities, fair and competitive remuneration, essential training and professional development, and a diverse, inclusive and valuesdriven work environment. OCG provides its people with best-in-class training on recruitment and selection, nationwide internal training modules, plus an array of in-house programs for developing their wider career skills. It also offers financial assistance and study time to support tertiary or other relevant external programs, and access to an online, self-directed e-learning platform called i-Learn. Moreover, OCG provides a clearly defined career development program and career development pathways to local and international recruitment consultancies, including in Australia, Asia and Europe. OCG embeds diversity and inclusion throughout the business with the support of a third-party specialist organisation and a D&I working party. It has a flexible work environment and fully transparent and open communication supported by high utilisation of technological resources, including laptops with Office 365, mobile phone devices and plans, Microsoft Teams and the Culture Amp platform. OCG’s Hybrid Working Guide, meanwhile, provides options to help its people balance and integrate their work, family and personal responsibilities, as well as develop an agile, adaptive, and creative workforce that is also client-centric.




UB60 Couriers, part of the Freightways group, one of New Zealand’s largest freight companies, has built a reputation for looking after its people in its nearly four decades of operations. SUB60 believes that creating a culture of inclusion comes from understanding others. Creating the opportunity to learn by recognising and celebrating cultural festivals, events or campaigns, the SUB60 team identified that the more they learn about each other, the more connected they become, helping to overcome biases, prejudices and barriers. SUB60 has an extensive training and development program which combines individual business focus with the wider group focus to prepare individuals for their next career step. Its people leaders are trained to get the most out of individual performance and increase succession planning capability. Over the past year, SUB60’s access to technology and resources has progressed extensively. All team members have been issued with laptops and Bluetooth wireless headsets to enable them to work from home if necessary. They also use online platforms, such as Teams and Zoom, to communicate with and check on each other. With health and wellbeing in focus, SUB60 created the role of people and culture manager as a solid platform from which to build strategic initiatives that improve the lives of its people. One key initiative has been mental health and wellbeing training for its managers and team leaders.

Employers OF CHOICE 2021

Key Media NZ (HR) Ltd Regional head office, Level 10, 1–9 Chandos St, St Leonards, NSW 2065, Australia tel: +61 2 8437 4700 • fax: +61 2 9439 4599 www.keymedia.com Offices in Sydney, Auckland, Denver, London, Singapore, Toronto, Manila For further information contact: toby.brown@keymedia.com +61 2 8437 4795 Copyright is reserved throughout. No part of this publication can be reproduced in whole or part without the express permission of the editor. Contributions are invited, but copies of work should be kept, as the magazine can accept no responsibility for loss.



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HRD New Zealand 5-Star Employer of Choice 2021  

HRD New Zealand 5-Star Employer of Choice 2021  

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