Workplaces often have trouble retaining skilled employees and spend copious amounts of time and financial investment in staff only to have them leave. Skilled employees look for a workplace that understands a good employer offers challenging and rewarding careers, while also helping workers enjoy a balanced lifestyle.
One way to be recognised as a quality employer is by participating in the Employer of Choice Awards, an initiative aimed at building Tasmania’s profile as a great place to work. The annual awards recognise and celebrate successful businesses that satisfy the needs and preferences of their staff.
Employers of Choice are businesses that have been recognised by the Tasmanian Government for their success in making their business a great place to work and Employers of Choice experience both cultural and financial benefits as a direct result of the strategies they employ.
Employers of Choice are likely to have lower staff turnover and absenteeism, higher productivity and profits, and find it much easier to attract highly skilled staff because of their strong reputation.
Established in 2006, the Employer of Choice awards recognise businesses that demonstrate contemporary workplace practices and provide outstanding support for their staff. To date Tasmania has recognised 56 Employers of Choice, which collectively employ more than 11,000 people.
Minister for State Growth, Mathew Groom said people with the right high-quality skills are the key to increasing the productivity of Tasmania’s businesses and the wealth of Tasmanian communities.
“The Employer of Choice Awards are a great example of how government, business and the community can work together to create opportunities for all Tasmanians,” Mr Groom said.
“Past award winners say that they are able to attract the talented workers they need and retain them for the long term, because skilled people want to work for a great employer.”
Well-known Tasmanian business, RACT, was awarded an Employer of Choice Award in 2014, in recognition of their strong employee retention and genuine commitment to being a great employer.
General Manager of People and Culture at RACT, Lyndell Shephard, said RACT decided to enter the 2014 Employer of Choice Awards as it was believed the timing was right.
“We had been working for a number of years on our workplace culture, to help to retain our great staff and we believed that we were doing well, but we also wanted a sense from people outside of the organisation that we were doing the right things,” Ms Shephard said.
“We have been told by many employees and job applicants that our workplace culture and strong community focus is what attracts them to a career with RACT.”
Synectic, a Tasmanian-based Chartered Accountancy that hires approximately 20 staff across the state won an Employer of Choice award in 2011.
Director of Synectic, Gareth Atkins, said the formal recognition as an Employer of Choice gave employees of the business something to be proud of.
“Our staff participated in the application process and it showed they are proud of where they work,” Mr Atkins said.
One key focus area of Employer of Choice is supporting diversity in the workplace, including the employment of those with a disability.
Another of the 2014 Employer of Choice winners, Self Help Workplace, is a Launceston disability enterprise, which provides employment for people with a disability.
General Manager of Self Help Workplace, Donna Bain said winning an Employer of Choice award acknowledges Self Help Workplace as being supportive of diversity in the workplace and meeting the needs of individuals.
“We have a clear vision for our enterprise, and that’s to engage everybody,” Ms Bain said.
“Our recognition as an Employer of Choice helped us to share the story of what we do and the great workplace we have.”
Entries for the 2015 Employers of Choice Awards are now open to organisations employing staff in Tasmania. Entering the awards is a valuable exercise as it allows a business to reflect on its performance, review its strategies against a set of independent criteria and plan for the future.
Entries will be judged by a panel comprised of representatives from Skills Tasmania and recognised Employers of Choice. Based on written entries and workplace visits of shortlisted entrants, the panel will select the 2015 Employers of Choice.
The awards judging panel assesses workplaces on a range of criteria, including employer practices and initiatives, strategic alignment with organisational goals, employee feedback and senior management commitment.
The winners will be announced at the Skills Tasmania Conference on Monday, 25 May 2015.
For more information on the Employer of Choice awards, visit http://www.skills.tas.gov.au/eoc/awards