The best workplace in New Zealand named

By Aimee Shaw

Premier Group encourages staff to make the workplace their own - in any way they wish.
Premier Group encourages staff to make the workplace their own - in any way they wish.

Paving stone company Premier Group International has today been named the best workplace in New Zealand by IBM Kenexa.

Managing director Bernard Powell credits the recognition - and exponential growth - to the company's focus on happiness.

"Our whole focus in business is on happiness. Happiness of our employees, our suppliers and customers - starting with our team," Powell said.

The Waikato-based firm prides itself on meeting its annual "BHAGs" - "big hairy audacious goals" - which was the main reason it entered the survey.

"We actually set one of our BHAGs at the start of this year - we have what we call a strategy camp at the start of every year - and one of those was to become the most sought after company in New Zealand to join," Powell said.

"When we set that goal we had no idea of how we would measure or achieve that, but we wanted to put it out there. Once we got it out there on our strategy poster and shared it with our team then we discovered the IBM Kenexa awards after much Google searching.

This year 210 organisations from private and public sectors surveyed their employees on various aspects of the workplace from leadership to well-being and enablement.

The organisations were then ranked based on the scores and leaders later interviewed before deciding on a winner.

IBM Kenexa New Zealand senior consultant Emma Martin said the IBM Kenexa Best Workplace Awards recognised New Zealand's top employers, based on the perceptions of the people who actually work there.

"Not only did Premier Group International receive the highest scores overall, but it was also evident they truly are a 'culture first' company that puts their people's happiness and well-being at the forefront of every business decision," she said.

Premier Group managing director Bernard Powell.
Premier Group managing director Bernard Powell.

Prior to winning the survey, Powell told the Herald it was great to be recognised as a finalist in the top 50.

"We're pretty stocked really, it's the first year we have entered, and the team has been really blown away," he said.

"We had bright coloured tshirts printed for the whole team and we wore them and really celebrated it at our last team barbecue - it was fantastic."

Premier Group has experienced exponential growth since 2010.

Last year the firm grew by 40 per cent and is on track for another 40 per cent increase this year.

Survey findings revealed workforce engagement had increased, with large organisations showing the biggest lift, registering an improvement in 97 per cent of survey questions.

Across the board, it was found employees reported more effective teamwork, and increasingly positive perceptions of reward and recognition.

- NZ Herald

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