‘Paw-turnity’ leave, time off to attend school concerts and care for elderly parents are just some of the creative initiatives New Zealand employers are using to attract and retain talent.
The research by Frog Recruitment questioned senior managers of nearly 61,000 employees from NZ organisations, including sectors such as insurance, education, retail, manufacturing and not-for-profit.
The Frog World of Work Survey found that the biggest priority for employers today after business growth is attracting and then retaining staff, with 83% of managers surveyed saying this is a challenge.
However, despite their concerns, only a third had put initiatives in place to address it.
The initiatives reported include better pay, flexible hours, remote working situations and increased sick leave, with one company extending that leave entitlement to include looking after sick pets (paw-turnity) and elderly parents.
Other initiatives include school concert leave, ‘You Days’, and leave trading (buying and selling leave).
Frog CEO Jane Kennelly said “the face of New Zealand business has changed” and the lines are blurred more than ever between personal and work lives.
“The loud message is that it is no longer ok for an employer to pay lip service to ‘work life balance’ – it must be a reality,” said Kennelly.
“As employers, we need to acknowledge that work is one part of a well-adjusted life and the more contented an employee, the more productive he or she will be.”
Others cited more common-place benefits like the provision of health insurance, gym memberships, happy hours, discounts, birthday leave, extended annual leave, free meals or snacks and subsidised childcare.
With regards to staff retention issue, the survey also revealed that New Zealand businesses are showing their ‘heart’ through doing more for people not only inside their business, but outside of their organisations.
The research also found that 86% of employers surveyed identified the importance of social responsibility – with two-thirds of management turning to their workforce to shape how or where resources are donated for social good.
“While ideas will always trickle down from management, it is positive to see employers leaning more to their people for input in social good programmes,” said Kennelly.
Almost a third of the companies surveyed supporting children and youth charities, followed closely by sustainability initiatives (23%).
Further, a smaller percentage support health programmes, community events, sporting groups, diversity and welfare. Organisations favoured include Plunket, the Asthma Foundation, KidsCan, Ronald McDonald House, Rainbow Youth and Make A Wish.
Moreover, sustainability and internal environmental policies were seen as significant initiatives that staff responded to positively, creating a sense of wellbeing and community contribution in the office.
Kennelly said that even though the range of initiatives and charities that businesses support is vast, the common denominator is that those companies “aligned themselves with an endeavour that is linked with their values”.
“It gives the company a purposeful and tangible way of expressing these values. It also provides an important connection between staff, customers and the business.”
Kennelly added that if more Kiwi businesses engaged with such work-related and social benefits for their employees, the workforce will be “more fulfilled and stable”.