Helping New Zealand Flourish is a big part of why we do what we do. We’ve got stuck into lots of positive causes like cleaning up our waterways and reducing waste, but we’re not afraid to face up to the difficult social issues either – that’s why we’ve developed our Family Violence is not OK initiative.
Our team is made up of around 12,000 people, working all over the country. They’re really a reflection of the Kiwi community as a whole, and like the rest of the New Zealand, our team faces tough issues every day. Developed in partnership with Women’s Refuge and White Ribbon NZ, the ‘It’s not OK’ initiative supports team members dealing with the effects of family violence – it helps them to stay in their roles, get the help they need from support agencies, and rebuild their lives without taking a step back financially.
Family Violence in NZ
Domestic violence is one of the biggest issues facing New Zealand – the statistics are sobering.
In New Zealand, the police are called to a domestic violence (DV) incident every 5.5 minutes. One in three women will experience DV at some point in their lives. 13 women, 10 men, and nine children are killed each year as a result of family violence.
Statistically speaking, that means we can expect around 2400 women and 300 men on our team are likely to be affected by family violence.
That’s why we developed the initiative – it’s multi-layered and designed to be sustainable, so our team members get the support, time, training and tools they need to get their lives back on track. It’s part of why we’re New Zealand’s first White Ribbon-accredited business.
Practical support with an emotional impact
Domestic violence is a complex and difficult issue, so the initiative works on several levels. It helps train team leaders, so they know to help, and offers practical support to those affected, while building awareness in the wider community.
Our team leaders go through a ‘gold standard’ training programme to help them identify the signs of domestic violence, learn how to approach a conversation with a team member, and make them aware of the support that’s available.
For any of our people dealing with this incredibly difficult issue, we start by making sure the team member can keep coming to work. This isn’t just important for keeping food on the table – it also keeps them connected with their support networks. We do this by offering paid time off work, so they can do things like go to court, meet with Women’s Refuge or other agencies, or move house.
But the initiative also helps team members who are not directly affected by domestic violence. Our people are now aware that we genuinely care about them and their lives, and that we’re prepared to support them whenever they need it.
Supporting White Ribbon NZ
One way that we show we care is through our support of White Ribbon NZ. Every year, on November 25th, all our team members wear white ribbons to promote an anti-violence message. We also give every customer a ribbon to raise awareness even more.
We believe that facing up to tough, complicated social issues like domestic violence is an essential part of living up to our mission of Helping New Zealand Flourish.
The Family Violence is not OK initiative won the Corporate Social Responsibility award and was a finalist in the Christian Dahmen Memorial Award for HR Innovation at the 2017 Human Resources Institute of New Zealand Awards.