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2016 Tasmanian Employers of Choice

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Last updated on September 5, 2016

Employers of Choice are recognised by the Tasmanian Government for demonstrating contemporary workplace practices and outstanding support for their staff, including opportunities for employees to build an effective work-life balance.  

Biofouling Solutions Pty Ltd

Biofouling Solutions is a small technical team with quality management, genuine professional collaboration and personal respect at its heart. Staff often work in remote and challenging situations, and the duty of care extended to them is exemplary, both during and after these events. Staff are empowered with leadership responsibilities, including financial planning and reporting, input to strategy, and international professional science networking. Formal systems of performance, coaching, knowledge sharing and continuous improvement are supplemented with frequent informal conversations. This business has very low turnover and absenteeism, very high levels of repeat business, and has won numerous awards for excellence both in Tasmania and nationally.

Discovery Early Learning Centres

The judges were impressed with the way this dynamic and geographically spread organisation has brought its staff along with the strategic direction, without compromising the family culture. The leaders at Discovery Early Learning Centres assume much of the corporate responsibility enabling the centres to do what they do best – look after kids.  At the same time, staff find the leaders to be accessible, open to ideas and responsive. Each of the ten sites is different, and the judges noted that the diverse cultures are supported by organisation-wide philosophies and documented service goals that are regularly workshopped. The workforce development plan is a key instrument driving business performance, investments in people, and growing leaders within the business. Of particular note is the focus on mental health within the comprehensive health and wellbeing program.

Huon Eldercare

Huon Eldercare displays a genuine long term commitment to being a values based organisation that systematically engages its staff at all levels. The judges were highly impressed with the authentic responses to building a culture of continuous improvement, including a master plan and dedicated team of staff and senior leaders that oversee feedback and implement actions. The regular benchmarks against similar organisations nationally, are taken seriously and have driven Huon Eldercare to establish formal mentoring, succession planning and talent identification, with opportunities for staff to act up, lead and develop, train and learn. Staff commented on the family friendly, supportive environment where they are positively recognised for their efforts in improving the care they give.

Independent Health Care Service

The judges were particularly impressed with the ways that Independent Health Care Service has connected its caring culture with business strategy. Quality audits, client surveys, staff feedback and ISO compliant systems all drive business improvement.  Management clearly goes above and beyond the normal levels of support and care for staff. Leaders are experienced carers themselves, and deliver courses in the registered training organisation, so they understand the personal and professional needs of their people and treat them with kindness. Managers are on call for remote staff working in the community, they keep communications open and have developed a simple, informal, regular and effective performance process. And the result of all this is engaged, passionate and caring staff with an extremely strong team ethic, who feel acknowledged, valued and respected.

Possability

Possability is strongly committed to workforce planning and leadership development to support the current phase of its business growth. The concept of leaders at all levels has been systematically embedded through peer support, performance plans, values alignment, internal recruitment and ongoing learning. Staff become decision makers because they are supported to contribute solutions to issues and they help to design a range of business tools - including training programs, client care plans and practice models, reporting formats and portfolios that showcase client stories. Staff at all levels have self care plans, and this reflects the equal importance placed on clients and employees, and ensures that work life balance is a priority. Of special note is the major awards event delivered under the Innovation and Excellence program. These awards highlight staff input to continuous improvement and demonstrate the passion and commitment of the people at Possability.    

Qantas Premium Contact Centre

This is another business that is successfully managing significant change, in this case new management structures and a renovated building. The judges were particularly impressed with the evidence that the Qantas Premium Contact Centre is a uniquely Tasmanian operation with its own identity, that is at the forefront of the people strategy of the Qantas Group. Management has committed to a sincere two way culture. This is more difficult to manage but the business results prove it is definitely the right approach. Sales, revenue, customer satisfaction and staff engagement scores are all up. Induction, coaching and values based performance reviews underpin the strategy. A fully optional staff nominated roster, combined with sick call-ins to a registered nurse service, have significantly reduced absenteeism. The Contact Centre Council elected by staff has a direct voice to the centre manage, and is responsible for raising issues, designing solutions and acting on feedback from staff surveys. Staff also have significant input on the renovations, reward and recognition, and community engagement programs.

Queen Victoria Home

A key reason for the major increase in staff engagement and productivity at the Queen Victoria Home is the successful implementation of a new digital communications device that is carried by all staff members. This has transformed the atmosphere of the home and the efficiency of the service. Staff have embraced the new technology - they have built IT skills, they communicate better with each other and most importantly they can now spend more time caring for residents. The judges, and indeed staff members, noted the exemplary change management strategies of the leadership team and board. In particular, change has been supported by a collaborative culture program that has included the development of values, investments in training and increasing staff input mechanisms to gather ideas and take action. Managers are on the floor, switched on, always listening and following up. Staff have been enabled to work together to build the capacity to change – a key skill in a dynamic environment that is helping this organisation face the challenges of the future.

Relationships Australia Tasmania

An inherent belief in relationships, shared values and a long standing commitment to acting on staff feedback are the hallmarks of the workplace at Relationships Australia Tasmania. Of course, relationships are its business and the judges were struck by the authentic ways this service is reflected inside the organisation. Careers are supported with significant investments in professional development, peer mentoring and succession planning. Management understands the challenging work and ensures that individuals matter, plus a sense of fun. People are encouraged to be productive with balance, there are clear expectations, optimism and patience. Staff are comfortable to say what they think, and have a range of opportunities to contribute ideas. Business strategy development is shared and goals cascade through to teams and individuals. And cake is seen as a critical element in building great relationships in the workplace.

Skretting Australia

Over the last three years, Skretting Australia has put in place a values based cultural improvement program that has resulted in significant business performance gains. It is clear that all staff understand the broad purpose and direction of the business, as a result of the cascading annual planning cycle, the open communications, purposeful strategic team building, and leadership development program. Values and behaviours are part of daily life at Skretting – from training to performance planning, from safety, health and wellbeing to career pathways. The regular staff surveys are geared for management action, with staff empowered to make changes, have critical conversations and innovate. The Continuous Improvement team is currently examining skills gaps and also re-inventing lean manufacturing principles so they can be applied to people and culture development. Skretting is a global brand but the culture of this workplace is very clearly Tasmanian.

Stornoway

Stornoway is a family business that has always put people first. The judges found an egalitarian culture with visionary leaders who understand the need for ongoing business development and striving to do better when it comes to supporting their staff. A key element is management spending time in the field, listening to staff in their space. There is mutual respect, honesty and connection where people feel comfortable to bring forward ideas that improve the business. Structured and strategic investments in succession, talent management and skills development are future proofing the business. The very high levels of employee engagement have led to the devolving of accountability and decision making, which builds trust and autonomy and further strengthens the commitment of staff. The regular Hero Awards celebrate big and small things, and demonstrate the importance placed on appreciating people for their efforts.

Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

The organisation has turned a full circle over the last 3 years to become an exemplar of good business practice, characterised by supportive leadership that empowers people. Staff at TCCI are respected as subject experts and decisions are consultative, communication is inclusive and ongoing, and personal relationships matter. All staff have a role in setting strategic direction, financial planning and reporting. This brings accountability, role clarity, trust and performance management together. Staff really feel they have ownership of their work, they have direct and regular contact with the board and management, they are fearless to suggest ideas and celebrate mistakes as learning opportunities. Work life balance is a very high priority, and the CEO regularly takes the phones when front line staff need a break.

The Dental Surgery Newstead

The Dental Surgery Newstead aims to put people at ease. There is a clear and consistent understanding that a relaxed, supportive and positive atmosphere is a safer and better place for both customers and staff. This simple philosophy is underpinned by visionary leaders that listen to staff and establish a range of solid business processes – and the results are outstanding. Very high rates of staff and client retention, and strong business growth. No marketing, no advertising – all staff recruitment and new clients come by word of mouth.  The consultative approach has seen many business improvements put forward by staff – from baby change tables and bike racks to the performance review system and a new Practice Manager position. Key person dependencies are countered with multiple role sharing, detailed procedures and checklists. Diversity and multiculturalism are part of the business strategy, and there is a clear team approach to building a better workplace.

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