Search on for NZ’s best workplaces in 2019?

The Humankind team.
The Humankind team.

Humankind Employee Experience Awards registration now open—Who will be named NZ’s best workplaces in 2019?

Launch events in Auckland and Wellington over the past two weeks marked the official opening of the 2019 Humankind Employee Experience (EX) Awards programme, recognising organisations that prioritise people to create exceptional experiences at work.

Awards include both single-submission opportunities and an in-depth staff interview programme to help employers better understand their workplace culture and learn from exemplary peers. Registrations are now open through 30 August, with winners announced at a gala event on the 14th of November.

The second annual EX Awards, presented by people and culture consultancy, Humankind, features the ‘Workplace Awards’ for organisations, including an internal survey led by EX platform partner Joyous, and in-person ‘Discovery’ interview process to really understand employees’ day to day.

Last year’s programme saw diverse applicants and 21 finalists from across the country, with winners ranging from Overland Footwear, Lightspeed Graphics to The Warehouse Group, Auror, Redvespa, and Sudima Hotels.

From people-centred benefits to flexible working hours and creatively navigating growth, organisations who participated showed an integral commitment to HR and people culture.

Kicking into 2019, Humankind dug into learnings from the inaugural event and further evolved their Employee Experience Framework to capture four key areas; Purpose, Relationships, Enablers, and Performance.

Humankind founder Samantha Gadd is determined to increase New Zealand-wide commitment to Employee Experience, and believes there is a gap for recognising organisations who do it well.

“We define Employee Experience as ‘the combined thoughts, feelings, and interactions that employees have at work.’ It’s at the core of workplace culture, and directly impacts the bottom line. To attract and keep the best people, you have to listen to what they want, and make genuine connections. Without that, you might get someone in the door, but they certainly won’t stay or contribute their best selves to your business,” says Gadd.

When IBM announced the end of their ‘Best Workplaces’ programme in 2018, Humankind realised there would be no programmes championing standout employers in NZ, so they created the EX Awards to continue the recognition in a new way.

“Our goal is to bring more humanity into the workplace. The EX Awards gives us the chance to help celebrate those leading the stride toward a holistic, employee-centric future of work, while carving out a space for sharing and growth,” says Gadd.

“The benefit of entering the awards is that it’s like a disciplined review—it enables you to pause and reflect,” says Lightspeed Graphics’ operations director Steve Martin. “It tells us that some of the things we are doing are on the right track. It’s great for our employees to be a part of that and for us it’s a great story that we can share moving forwards.”

Survey partner Joyous, the first dedicated EX platform in the world, joins Humankind to deliver the EX Awards’ online component. “Our pulse survey approach and customisable platform compliments Humankind’s on the ground interviews. This has been a perfect fit for us, and we’re excited to see the ripple effects it creates as we bring the awards into their second year,” says Mike Carden, founder of Joyous.

Wellington-based agency, Ocean Design, also helped evolve the awards’ branding and create a distinct look for this year’s programme. “Our people are the most important part of our business,” says Blair Mainwaring, Owner of Ocean. “We’ve worked with Humankind since their rebrand from ‘HR shop’ in 2016 and always appreciated their lead-by-example way of changing the industry. Likewise we want to use our skills in design to empower like-minded organisations, so we’re thrilled to support this year’s programme.”

“Don’t worry if you feel your team or process may not be ‘up to scratch just yet’; it’s always the right time to get involved. The results are anonymous and for you, not anyone else. Yes there is an awards aspect but the underlying goal is better understanding,”said Humankind’s Leighton Abbot, to those gathered at the Wellington launch event on 2 May.

“The only way to change is to know where you sit. That’s what these Employee Experience Awards are meant to do. NZ has the chance to build upon the amazing work we’re already doing and become a global leader in Employee Experience.”

Information about the 2019 EX Awards & entry details can be found at Registration close Friday, August 30.