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Celebrating a win for inclusivity and diversity

Media Release

Celebrating a win for inclusivity and diversity

Sealord is celebrating its win at the 2022 Primary Industries Good Employer awards hosted in Wellington by the Minister of Agriculture last night (29 June).

A major employer in the Nelson region, Sealord won the ‘Inclusive & Diverse Workplace’ category in recognition of the company’s efforts to sustain a workplace culture that prioritises wellbeing.

Sealord Chief Executive Officer Doug Paulin says that he and the management team and all the Sealord whānau are delighted with the award.

“We have around 60 nationalities at Sealord and more than 40 per cent of our workforce originate outside of Aotearoa. We love what this brings to our workplace with people from all walks of life, countries, ages, and backgrounds contributing to our company culture,” Paulin says.

“It’s really important to us that all our people have a voice, and can share their opinions and experiences freely. Staff engagement is a cornerstone at Sealord and we also want our people to be able to balance work with the rest of their lives.”

One of the initiatives that caught the judge’s attention was Sealord’s support for its Burmese employees during the Myanmar military coup in 2021.

“We knew our Burmese people were fearful for their home country, and while we could offer sympathy and support, we needed to look at other meaningful action,” Paulin says.

After meeting with workers to hear their ideas, he wrote to the Prime Minster outlining concerns and raised $7000 from company and staff contributions towards care for Burmese refugees in Thailand.

Other examples that helped contribute to Sealord’s win include its focus on two-way company communication including half-yearly ‘town hall’ staff meetings where the CEO discusses topics of interest and staff ask questions, CEO vlogs and new digital screens. Employees who prefer a less direct way to share can use the Sealord intranet to comment on stories and photos, and share information, opinions and experiences.

“We know that managers don’t always have the answers, which is why we encourage staff input and take the time to listen and then put actions in place,” Paulin says.

“Most recently, we have developed a new vision statement for the company that involved significant staff feedback via a steering group, numerous rounds of workshops, and team engagement via online surveys.”

Other examples of initiatives that support positive staff engagement at Sealord include:

  • The Speak Up Policy and processes whereby employees can get assistance for any issues relating to health, safety, environmental sustainability or ethical behaviour.
  • Company-wide engagement surveys; the results of these inform workplace improvements
  • Telling people’s stories in Sealord’s internal publications
  • Buddy systems for people for whom English is a second language. A ‘buddy’ is a worker of the same ethnicity who is fluent in English and can help translate.
  • Shared meals, often centred around traditional foods
  • Family-friendly ‘school hours’ shifts, flexible hours and ‘one trip one and one trip off’ rosters for better work/life balance
  • Subsidised gym memberships and affordable, healthy onsite cafeteria food
  • Sealord scholarships for children or grandchildren of permanent employees to enable them to study at a tertiary institution for up to four years.

More information about working at Sealord is available here.

About the Good Employer Awards

Now in their third year, the Awards are run by the Ministry for Primary Industries and Agricultural and Marketing Research and Development Trust (AGMARDT) to celebrate employers who put their people at the heart of their businesses.

More information is available here.

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