Celebrating businesses that invest in their workforce

Hawke’s Bay District Health Board won the Supreme Award for Programme Incubator, which engages teenagers with health workers and the jobs they do in bid to encourage them into the skill-short sector.

The EEO Trust Work & Life Awards, now in their 14th year, celebrate organisations that actively invest in their businesses by investing in their workforce. The awards attracted more than 45 entries, and were celebrated by 400 people at an Auckland War Memorial Museum dinner. Hon Hekia Parata, Minister for Ethnic Affairs and Minister of Women’s Affairs, presented the awards.

Hawke’s Bay DHB took the top award after winning its category, Tomorrow’s Workforce, which celebrates innovative responses to future labour-force challenges. The programme uses lively mix of resources, visiting speakers and field trips. Students of Maori and Pacific Island heritage are particular focus, as the DHB wants to build health workforce more representative of its community. Programme Incubator manager Wynn Schollum says doctors, nurses and other health workers readily volunteer their services. “The collective approach is what makes it magic.”

Highly commended in Tomorrow’s Workforce was Deloitte for its engaging and effective use of social networking in graduate recruitment. Through Facebook question-and-answer sessions with staff using live video, graduate video blogs and even 30-second film festival, prospective employees have been able to get clear picture of the firm’s culture and its people, leading to improved retention and engagement during the critical first year with the firm.

Other award winners were:
The Skills Highway Award: Supported by the Department of Labour, this recognises workplaces that can demonstrate how helping improve their employees’ reading, writing, maths and communication skills has improved business outcomes. The winner was Auckland firm Cardinal Logistics, which invested in package of initiatives around training and cultural change in an effort to improve communication, reduce errors and boost productivity.

Highly commended was Stevenson Group, which services the quarrying, mining, engineering and construction sectors, for its five-day foundation skills programme Stepping Up.

The Diversity Award: Recognises organisations that really strive to make the most of their diverse workforce and went to Bupa Care Services for its Personal Best training programme that helps staff see life through residents’ and clients’ eyes. The company has 3300 staff working in more than 60 care establishments such as hospitals and rest homes, and the programme was rolled out with the help of 117 facilitators drawn from all levels of the business – 95 percent of them non-managers.

Highly commended was EasiYo Products, where going to work is family affair. Ninety percent of the production team is Tongan, with 24 of them related to each other. EasiYo introduced literacy and numeracy training for production staff last year and is already reaping the benefits, with fewer errors, improved efficiency, productivity and hazard reporting, and staff displaying more confidence.

The Work & Life Award celebrates organisations creating environments in which people have flexibility and autonomy to meet their work commitments and their out-of-work responsibilities. Engineering consultancy URS New Zealand, which has 300 staff in Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington and Christchurch, won for its innovative approach. Staff can take advantage of range of flexible working options such as flexible start and finish times – the most commonly-used provision; compressed weeks of four 10-hour days; tools to work from home; and flexible leave and compensation policy.

Highly commended was SKYCITY Auckland for its employee support service Connect, created with input from the company’s 3000 multicultural staf

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