A fantastic workplace is crucial considering how much time we spend there each day. 

Aon Hewitt’s Best Employer accreditation is reserved for companies who are creating just that - amazing environments for their employees.

Only businesses found to truly excel after a thorough auditing process, including an all-employee engagement survey and interviews with senior management teams, are shortlisted and considered for the award.

Receiving this accreditation for the second year in a row places Coca-Cola Amatil in an elite group of organisations known for their employee engagement across New Zealand.

Behind the Scenes

“Being named one of the best places to work in New Zealand doesn’t happen by accident,” said Coca-Cola Amatil’s managing director Chris Litchfield. “We have an uncompromising focus on doing what is best by our people, who are at the heart of everything we do.”

Coca-Cola Amatil’s head of human resources Graham Robertson and his team agreed engagement was an important area they wanted to highlight so created a survey for employees several years ago.

“We ended up adopting a pretty simple model – listen, consider, act – and we treated the survey as a listening tool,” Graham said. “We weren’t particularly fussed about the numbers – what we really wanted to know what our people were saying.”

Chris Litchfield, managing director, Coca-Cola Amatil

After analysing the results, they noted areas that needed improvement and asked each team to present their suggestions to the HR leadership.

“That wasn’t a hard process at all. It was a collaborative process which was about finding out how we could help,” Graham said.

Graham and his team recycled this technique in following years and the company began to achieve impressive engagement results. This led to the first Aon Hewitt accreditation - and now the second.

He feels confident with the approach. “If we had a team come to us and say; ‘These are the engagement issues we’re facing and this is what we think needs to be done about it,’ I’m fairly confident that we’d be able to support them in that,” he said. “There’s not a lot of ‘can’ts’ that we come across.”

Engagement moving forward

“Engagement is owned by every one of us here,” Chris said. “And this prestigious recognition pays credit to all our wonderful people and their determination and commitment to make our work environment safe, engaged and enjoyable.”

Regarding engagement results, Graham offered a word of caution against complacency. After reviewing results from an engagement survey, employers leap on areas of dissatisfaction but have a tendency to overlook those who are content.

“Just because engagement is good one year doesn’t mean it’s going to be good the next,” he said. “Those who are currently content still need to know that their employer cares about staff happiness.”

“They want to see that we’re still focussing on engagement, that we still take it seriously and that we still put effort into it at the senior leadership level,” Graham said.

Even now with a second consecutive Aon Hewitt Best Employer Accreditation, the company will maintain its commitment to engagement. “I don’t think in my time we’re going to say; ‘Well we’ve cracked engagement, now it’s time to move on to something else,” Graham said.

“It’s a continual process. We focus on our management teams and project leaders to ensure that employees are respected, treated well, and of course, have their opinions and ideas heard.”