Being a good employer
AgResearch takes its commitment to its employees seriously. You will find detailed below many examples of initiatives we have introduced to make AgResearch a great place to work.
Accountable and effective leaders and managers
It is important that our leaders demonstrate clear strategy, direction and accountability as well as energise and motivate their teams to meet organisational goals. All staff have a clear job description and receive ongoing assessment of performance. Leadership in these areas is measured through positive trends for overall staff satisfaction (or engagement) in our all-staff survey. Our leaders are set specific objectives relating to the review and development of our people. We regularly use tools such as 360 feedback and Belbin team profiling as part of our leadership development programme.
Recruitment, selection and induction
We utilise an ‘employment brand strategy’ to better attract quality staff in a timely manner to vacant positions. We actively demonstrate good Equal employment opportunities (EEO) practices. Our aim is to achieve an ‘advertise to offer’ period of four weeks following the job vacancy closing date. We routinely use ability testing, including numerical and verbal reasoning tests, as well as personality profiling in our selection process. Employees are inducted into AgResearch both from a wider organisational level and a team level, including induction to health and safety expectations and responsibilities.
Our success in this area is measured through positive feedback from all new employees (including managers) in their three month post employment interviews
We actively identify key science areas in accordance with our company strategy and address future capability needs. We seek out those who can further contribute and develop in key areas, and incorporate specific stretch targets into development plans for these individuals. Our senior leaders meet on an annual basis to review organisational talent, and those employees being considered for promotion. We actively measure and report on the number of employees who have objectives set, and our HR team works closely with managers to ensure this is done.
Learning and development is available to all staff and provided through multiple avenues including short courses, on-the-job learning, conference attendance, professional membership and university study.
Additionally, AgResearch hosts a number of student interns both from New Zealand and internationally, with our people dedicating their time to assist the next generation of scientists. This also assists us in building solid collaborative relationships with universities and research institutions from around the world.
Flexibility and work design
A number of our employees have taken up opportunities as part of our Flexible Work Life Balance Policy. This offers flexible options to retain staff at different life stages. Some of these options include working part time, compressed working weeks, pay smoothing and a gradual retirement programme. We currently have approximately 18% of our salaried employees working less than full time.
Remuneration, recognition and conditions
Our policy is to target remuneration to the market line for all positions. We have a clear remuneration strategy in place which includes regular monitoring of market data, provision for performance related pay increases as well as lump sum payments. Additionally we monitor salary levels and expectations through interview, survey and exit feedback.
Harassment and bullying prevention / EEO
At AgResearch we seek a positive working environment for all staff. Through initiatives such as ‘the way we work', we have actively engaged our employees and sought their input into developing these principles. We do not tolerate bullying or harassment, and have observed a significant downward trend, as measured in our staff survey, of those who have experienced or witnessed unacceptable workplace behaviour. 74% of respondents in our last staff survey felt there were established standards of good behaviour at AgResearch.
Safe and healthy environment/wellness
We currently hold a tertiary employer accreditation with ACC and monitor all accidents and incidents. We have Health and Safety Advisors aligned to all sites who works actively with injured employers and their managers to assist with rehabilitation plans should this be required and prevent further injury.
All employees participate in a Health and Safety induction upon commencement and each site has Health and Safety Coordinators who meet regularly to facilitate awareness and compliance. Success is measured by a post induction Health and Safety questionnaire as well as computerised tracking of Health and Safety accident figures.
Further, AgResearch offers a number of other wellness initiatives such as influenza injections for all employees, reimbursement of eye tests and subsidised prescription glasses or lenses. We regularly host wellness seminars relating to employees wellness in areas such as the Heart Foundation, Diabetes Trust and the Cancer Society.
AgResearch offers a far-reaching Employee Assistance Programme which is designed to provide a mechanism within a supportive and strictly confidential framework to help employees who have difficult personal situations.