Press Release – EEO Trust
Counties Manukau District Health Board has won the highest award at the ANZ New Zealand and Equal Employment Opportunities Trust Work and Life Awards.
The awards ceremony had a record number of entries this year with 62 workplace initiatives across five categories.
The chair of the EEO Trust Michael Barnett says it was a difficult job for the judges as there were so many inspirational stories about positive programmes. Mr Barnett says it’s the 15th annual awards and the large number of entries shows that organisations are realising how important it is to focus on employees well being, as well as profits.
“The Awards are influential in increasing awareness of the business benefits of supporting diversity and helping employees meet their commitments both at work and at home.” He says with the current economic recession more businesses are starting to understand how important it is to retain and upskill current staff as opposed to spending precious time and money recruiting new employees. “Some big organisations are also beginning to target school students and nurture them towards a specific career such as electricians and health professionals. It’s good business sense.”
Mr Barnett says the ageing population means more people are exiting the workforce than kicking off their careers which in a few years time will lead to a shortage of suitably qualified employees. “These businesses are being proactive about addressing the pending labour problem and deserve to be congratulated.” He says as well as the winners there were many other outstanding entries such as being more flexible for working mothers, running wellness programmes and nurturing Maori finance graduates.
Supreme Award Winner
Counties Manukau District Health Board – Health Science Academies
The Counties Manukau DHB’s Academies in schools programme was voted unanimously by judges as the overall winner across the five categories for its success so far. It set up Health Science Academies in several south Auckland secondary schools to encourage Maori and Pacific students to go on to further education which could lead to a career in the health industry. Many of these students had been dropping out of school early or not following through with a tertiary degree or diploma. Currently, there are 137 students enrolled in three academies. Last year, the aim was for 80 per cent of them to achieve NCEA Level 1, but the students’ success rate was seven per cent higher than this target. The students now have a sense of direction, are motivated and more confident to continue with their education.
This programme from the Counties Manukau DHB also won the Tomorrow’s Workforce Award.
Tomorrow’s Workforce Award – Highly Commended: Department of Corrections
Diversity Award Winner: Upper Hutt City Council
The Upper Hutt City Council is training staff so they can help disabled customers get the service they deserve. It has many departments that connect directly with the community such as libraries, traditional service desks, a swimming pool and an entertainment centre. The course includes learning about physical access issues, improving attitudes and knowledge about different disabilities. It also addressed the need for a culture shift within the organisation to accept and understand staff that have a disability. The council is now offering the resource to businesses and other councils.
Work & Life Award Winner: Electrix
Electrix developed a fitness programme to help reduce injury to its ‘lineys’ – and has seen greater staff co-operation and fewer sick days ever since. This came about after a rise in the number of musculoskeletal injuries to linesmen, caused by the awkward positions they tend to adopt above and below ground as they fix power problems. A personal trainer was employed and a gym was set up in the corner of a warehouse that’s available to all employees. The company has saved more than 60 injury days so far, and those with back injuries are now getting tailored treatment to help strengthen problem areas. An unexpected bonus has been a positive culture change across the whole business with greater energy levels, and staff engagement.
Work & Life Award – Highly Commended: Far North REAP Society
Skills Highway Award Winner: City Care
Christchurch based City Care has more than 1,350 staff working in water and wastewater, parks, roading, construction and facilities management across New Zealand. The quality of written language in staff forms, reports and lack of computer literacy was causing concern. This led to literacy and numeracy training across the whole company which has resulted in annual savings of more than $1.2 million as employees now complete their tasks more quickly and accurately. Morale and motivation has also increased and the training is now a fundamental part of City Care’s training strategy.
Skills Highway Award – Highly Commended: Thames Timber
Walk the Talk Award Winner: Shaun Brown, Bupa Care Services
Bupa has a number of rest homes and hospitals, retirement villages and a monitored medical alarm service. Shaun started out as a caregiver then trained as a registered nurse and moved on to be a clinical leader. He is now the operations manager for the midland region with 700 staff. His hands-on experience in the sector enables Shaun to relate well to his staff and elderly clients. Employee capability and confidence has improved, which is reflected in the results of an employee engagement survey. 96% of his team really enjoy their jobs as Shaun makes sure they have a good work-life balance, and spends extra time with staff that need more help to meet their work goals.
Tomorrow’s Workforce Award, which recognises innovative responses to tomorrow’s employment challenges;
Diversity Award, for organisations that make the most of employee diversity;
Work & Life Award, which celebrates initiatives that create opportunities for greater engagement and productivity;
Skills Highway Award, a Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment programme which recognises workplaces which can show how they have helped improve their employees’ reading, maths and communication skills;
Walk the Talk Award, which celebrates effective diversity leaders.