What makes a great place to work? How about the opportunity to work a four-day week, a day off on your work anniversary and weekly deliveries of healthy juices.
That's just some of what Raglan Food Co, the company behind the well-known vegan coconut yoghurt, does for its 30 happy "yoghurteers" and it is now bringing the business national attention after winning the Supreme Good Employer award in Wellington.
Raglan Food Co's coconut yoghurt has been stirring up the plant-based community since 2014, and this year the company decided to enter the Ministry for Primary Industries Good Employer Awards for the first time, hoping for success in the Employee Development Award category.
They won the category and went on to take out the Supreme Award as the overall winner.
Raglan Food Co's efforts as an employer stood out to the judges because of their wholehearted commitment to their team.
The company offers employees regular training and workshops, personality coaching sessions, team events, paid volunteering opportunities and the opportunity to work a four-day week.
They have a team health and wellbeing fund, a profit share programme and a fair wage policy. Employees are given a reasonable starting rate so they can afford a decent quality of life and the company also established a wage cap for senior positions to counteract "obscene" income gaps.
As a cherry on top, Raglan Food Co also provides cakes for team birthdays and offers a paid day off on the employee's work anniversary.
Co-founder Latesha (Tesh) Randall says: "Our team of yoghurteers are the loveliest bunch of humans you'll ever meet. Over the last nearly eight years we've gone from producing in a small community kitchen with my mum, brother, sister and some hippie friends of ours, to building a full-scale factory employing a crew of 30 people, and we're so proud of how far our team members have come along the way.
"Although [we are] proud of our efforts towards creating a positive workplace culture, we knew as a relatively small company there would be tough competition," she says.
According to the judges, it wasn't only Raglan Food Co's management style that stood out, but also its efforts to do good for the environment and the community.
Raglan Food Co is committed to minimising its total carbon footprint and regularly donates products to Waikato foodbanks as well as giving money to worthy causes like saving the bees, tree planting, Sea Cleaners, and animal protection - also through its special RFC Community Fund.
Associate minister of agriculture Meka Whaitiri says the award-winning businesses did an outstanding job in putting its employees first.
"They know the success of their businesses is a direct result of their people, and if their people thrive, so do their businesses."
Tesh founded Raglan Food Co together with her partner Sebastian (Seb) Walter when Seb decided to go dairy-free due to allergies and Tesh started experimenting in her kitchen to make vegan coconut yoghurt.
"I made a couple of extra jars one day and offered them to the local community ... and half the community wanted to buy some."
Since then, their company and product range has evolved a lot, as they now also offer different flavoured kefir (a fermented milk drink that is thought to boost the immune system) and condiments like vegan mayo.
In 2020, they built an 800sq m factory in Raglan and now supply not only the Raglan community, but have stockists all over New Zealand and export to Hong Kong, Singapore and China.
However, Tesh and Seb always have their Raglan community at heart.
"We took on considerable risk ... making the decision that we didn't want to move operations to a larger city like Hamilton or Auckland. It was important [to us] that we continued providing work opportunities to the people living here," says Tesh.
The other four award winners are Canterbury-based Align Farms Limited who won the Safe and Healthy Work Environment Award, Nelson-based Sealord Group who won the Inclusive and Diverse Workplace Award, Stefan and Annalize du Plessis who won the Small Business Recognition Award for their business Mosa Farming Ltd and Wini and Simon Geddes who won the Māori Agribusiness Award for their Whakatane-based forestry business Tāne Mahuta NZ.
Now in their third year, the Good Employer Awards are run by the Ministry for Primary Industries and the Agricultural and Marketing Research and Development Trust.