2017 Tasmanian Employers of Choice
The 2017 Awards saw 15 Tasmanian organisations recognised as Employers of Choice, bringing the total number of Tasmanian Employers of Choice to 84. A further two organisations were highly commended in 2017. A summary of the judges’ remarks is below.
Access Solutions Tasmania Pty Ltd
The staff at Access Solutions initiated the awards entry, and the judges got a very clear impression that the excellent culture of this rapidly growing business is owned by employees. Staff are actively engaged in research and innovation for new business opportunities, and they co-manage the selection and on-boarding of new staff. This is a high functioning team that uses social media to jointly solve problems and share ideas. The judges were particularly impressed with the learning culture, pride and passion displayed by this workforce, which includes two winners of Tasmania’s Apprentice of the Year within the last 3 years. Employees provided many examples of their ideas for projects and designs being taken on board. It is very clear that this business values employee input and has an enthusiastic team working for success.
Aurora Energy Pty Ltd
The judges highlighted leadership, values and devolved responsibility as the key factors in Aurora being recognised as an Employer of Choice. The core premise of this organisation is that leaders drive culture by setting clear expectations, measuring the impact of business practices, and ensuring all staff are treated with equity. There has been a very impressive practical application of values – linking the strategic plan, operational plans, performance measures, reward and recognition. People are clear on how their actions and behaviours deliver on the mission. Staff awards are peer nominated and assessed. Giving more autonomy to customer service officers at the front line has improved customer satisfaction. Staff suggestions to business processes have saved hundreds of thousands of dollars. The culture of listening, acting and empowering people to do things differently has significantly increased productivity and transformed the organisation.
Blundstone Australia Pty Ltd
Blundstone Australia has a proud local history and is now an international business, developing products and building relationships across the world. While the business model changes, the company remains true to its family culture and values. Career paths from factory to office to management roles are well established and supported. Staff are given training, responsibility and the opportunity to learn by experience – sharing in decisions, product development and problem solving. Leaders have risen from within and are highly connected to employees at all levels – they collaborate and have open conversations about business strategy. The wellbeing of people and their families is a priority and the judges noted the immense pride and strong relationships that sustain the supportive culture at Blundstone.
Bridgepro Engineering Pty Ltd
The judges were impressed by the positive spirit and level of engagement throughout the workplace at BridgePro. Empowering staff to make substantial contributions and backing their ideas is what makes this company a success. They are innovative, and when they recognise faults they not only address them but look for better, smarter options that fit in with their culture. Implementing lean manufacturing priciples has had an impact – on culture, attitudes to work, the smart solutions focus, and personal support for each other. Detailed planning and design processes ensure staff know how their work contributes. Managers and mentors are the ‘go to’ people for work and personal matters. Family is a priority. Staff with five years’ service are rewarded with an overseas trip to gather knowledge and bring ideas from the world. And there is a huge sense of pride in the product – of bridges making a mark on history.
Community Based Support Inc
Community Based Support were highly commended in the awards in 2014. Since then, the organisation has transformed its support for staff by embracing technology and integrating a new business model for community directed care. Performance indicators for the Board and CEO focus on staff first and this support from the top has resulted in highly engaged and committed staff that have immense pride in their work. Many of the employees are field based and isolated. Technology and support systems enable them to stay connected, safe and informed. As a result, staff say they are able to provide higher quality care. Training is delivered in ways that suit staff, career progression and alternative roles are supported through coaching and mentoring. Continuous improvement is really lived in this organisation and passion for the work is evident at all levels.
Grant Chugg Plumbing Pty Ltd
The judges were highly impressed with the culture at Grant Chugg Plumbing, which can be clearly summed up in one word – respect. People are valued first and foremost, and there is a real sense of opportunity and support for employees to develop both professionally and personally. The management team make a conscious effort to build esteem and skills across the workforce, with positive reinforcement and recognition of individuals. Leaders are genuinely open and encouraging of feedback, enabling staff to contribute to the success of the business. Staff feel like they own the business outcomes and have great pride in the reputation of the business. Ethical relationships are a core focus, and this gives people from diverse backgrounds a real chance to succeed. The emphasis is to enable all employees to build strong work-life value and to be role models in the community.
Hobart Airport Pty Ltd
The leaders and staff at Hobart Airport have worked together to successfully manage significant change in the last two to three years. A new building, a new business model and an expansion of the company’s responsibilities have all been embraced as opportunities to share ideas, collaborate and build a cohesive team. Staff understand the whole business and support each other across functions. They get the skills development and connection to managers that they need, to work smarter and develop for future roles. Leaders pride themselves on listening to ideas and taking action to build a better business. They catch people doing it right, and acknowledge effort at every level of the business. The Board is committed to culture development, fostering genuine care and understanding of individual needs.
Lady Gowrie Tasmania Inc
Under the unifying principle of children first, the team at Lady Gowrie displays a real understanding of their personal impact on the lives of families. There is a clear motivation at all levels to contribute to business strategy and strive for continuous quality improvement. The Board directs formal succession planning where leaders are identified and supported to step up. The leadership program developed in-house is now delivered across the industry. The health and wellbeing of everyone is a priority. Providing flexibility is important, even when it’s hard to manage. Staff say they are listened to, they are supported to learn and develop, they are proud to make a difference and they are personally appreciated by their CEO. The judges noted the shared values, beliefs and the culture of ‘we’ that has enabled this organisation to deal successfully with significant changes.
Learning Partners Pty Ltd
Learning Partners is genuinely invested in its people. Relationships are valued, staff are engaged and involved in setting the direction of the business, and a high level of trust is clearly afforded between the workforce and their leaders. Together, they successfully manage the high compliance burdens and changing client-driven demands of the sector, whilst maximising opportunities for growth, flexibility and job security. Of special note is the very structured and systematic approach to capturing feedback from both clients and employees. All ideas are considered and actions are tracked, ensuring employees have an accessible and transparent process to manage their feedback. This structured approach complements the informal focus on continuous improvement that is part of daily life at Learning Partners.
The workplace culture at Network Gaming is founded on a genuine sense of equality, teamwork and investment in people. Consultative rostering, training and development, flexibility and open door leadership are all available to both permanent and casual staff. The judges noted two innovative practices that were developed as a result of staff feedback. Meetings without managers are held regularly and give staff ownership of issues and ideas. A Day in the Life helps people to understand the roles of colleagues and opens up succession and career pathways. Leaders at Network Gaming have grown from within, so they respond directly to the needs of staff and ensure that people are supported and recognised for their efforts. There is also a priority on social events and fun – which is seen by all as a major benefit of working at Network Gaming.
Onroad Offroad Training
Onroad Offroad Training was highly commended at these awards last year. The judges noted the company’s new policies that formalise Employer of Choice principles as a key business strategy. Staff continue to demonstrate great pride, and work hard to protect and enhance the company’s reputation. It is clear they put in a lot of discretionary effort in response to management’s investment in them, and a strong family-based culture has been created. This small company places a huge focus on developing its people. Comprehensive induction and extensive mentoring sets everyone up for success and multi-skilling. Training is tailored to meet individual needs, and staff with various abilities are valued and supported. There is a great culture of listening, a willingness to make changes and many examples of people pitching in to help where it’s needed.
Prospect Medical Centre
Prospect Medical Centre is a family friendly, inclusive workplace. Quality medical outcomes are of the utmost importance, and the practice has a clear view that all employees - from receptionist to doctor - have an equally important role in achieving this goal. The leadership approach is hands-on and accessible, ensuring staff feel supported on a day-to-day basis. People are empowered to contribute - to business planning, to interviewing and selecting new staff, to collectively resolving pressure points and covering each other. There is a strong focus on teamwork and a feeling that everyone owns the values and culture. Quality systems are underpinned by positive relationships to ensure that continuous improvement flows naturally in this workplace.
The District Nurses
The supportive workplace culture at The District Nurses reflects the quality care model delivered to clients. The organisation’s leaders are experienced in the field – they have an open door and an open mind. A multi-purpose IT platform ensures all staff are connected – but of equal importance are the regular visits by managers into the field and the social gatherings that bring dispersed team members together. As the industry continues to evolve, The District Nurses emphasises the importance of employee involvement in planning for the future. This is supported through staff committees, project teams and a research division that focuses on innovation, improvement and professional standards. Individuals really matter - training and development is a priority and flexible rostering helps people to care for their families and balance their lives.
The Salvation Army Bridge Program
Staff and managers at the Salvation Army Bridge Program have worked together to transform this organisation. Implementing new models of collaborative supervision and ethical decision-making have brought shared responsibility, direction and productivity. Leadership styles and communications preferences are understood, and as a result, difficult conversations are had in a supportive way. Staff surveys and open communications drive the actions of leaders, and everyone has a chance to work on the future focused innovation team. In this high risk - high care environment, where clients live in the workplace, the judges were impressed by the gentle, positive atmosphere. Staff feel valued, safe and heard – they are trusted, their ideas are taken up, and they have flexibility to manage personal issues. Most importantly, they are supported to be highly professional – and their good work is always acknowledged.
Total Eyecare Optometrists
The judges noted the cohesion and passion displayed by the team at Total Eyecare. Operating over several sites, this organisation has worked hard to develop values that bring people together to strive for the success of the business. Business results are shared. Performance targets are set up as friendly competitions between the offices, so there is an atmosphere of fun and challenge, reward and acknowledgment. Customer and staff surveys drive the business improvement strategy – from training to management effectiveness, from the design of shops to the brands that are stocked. Staff own the culture and business results because they are part of the evaluation and planning processes – equal and involved, side by side with management. As a result, everyone is clear on the mission and vision, and how to get there.
HIGHLY COMMENDED EMPLOYERS
Highly Commended is awarded to those organisations that have shown they are well on the way to becoming an Employer of Choice, by demonstrating a strong commitment to creating a great place to work and caring for their people.
Hill Street Longford
The judges were impressed with the significant commitment of this business to supporting the mental health of all staff. Mental health first aid training has had a huge impact on the culture of the workplace. Listening, compassion, honesty and resilience - staff are using these skills to have difficult conversations that are changing, and actually saving, people’s lives. Hill Street Longford goes above and beyond in caring for its people and taking on a critical role as an employer that serves its community.
Knight Frank Tasmania
Knight Frank Tasmania is taking a systematic approach to improving employee engagement, and this is helping the business to grow and succeed. An increasing focus on values and responsibility to the community is putting people at the forefront of business strategy. Staff are encouraged to challenge and suggest changes. Management responds with actions - employee surveys, awards, leadership development, sporting event sponsorships. Together, people are building a culture of openness, recognising effort, pitching in to help each other and sharing successes.