It could be a bit of wishful thinking on my part but I’ve got a sneaky suspicion that this Christmas we’ll be welcoming overseas candidates once again! Speaking to a client this week who had just returned from overseas, they remarked how the rest of the world still views NZ in a fairly good light. When we dust off the chilly bin and fire up the sausage sizzle you have to think those smoky aromas should travel across the Atlantic/Pacific and insnare the nostrils of a consultant or two. Kiwis who have been cooped up in Ol Blighty can experience a European summer free of the threat of non-sexual infection before returning back home to the olds. As a traveler that didn’t go home, I get the reasons for staying away but I can comfortably say that Kiwi Summer trumps most others. So, we’ve got that, but what else draws them over? That good ol she’ll be right work-life balance baby! When people actually used to come over in droves it was the most frequent answer to why they decided to. Working to live not living to work and all that. But in a market where flexibility is less of a perk and more of a given what else can we do to show the love and snap up some of these imminent arrivals?

Wellness. You know it, I know it, we love it! It’s the umbrella term that keeps us dry from the torrential downpour of stress and anxiety that only recruitment can summon. It’s not just our industry though, 85% of employees are expected to put a greater focus on wellbeing. Things have changed since 1908, just think if those Blackball Miners never went on strike for more time to have a dart and a pie! Contrary to those later two perks the focus on wellness mainly centers on health; mental and physical. A happy employee is a productive employee or a more cynical way of looking at it, a depressed employee makes no money. The time-honored way of boosting morale in recruitment was always a nice wee incentive. The only problem with that is it’s often a trip to Waiheke or to a brewery for those that don’t drink, it doesn’t really fill their cup. The good thing about wellness packages is that they are usually ambiguous enough that the recipient gets to decide on what they want.

A number of agencies plump for a cash sum usually in the realm of $300 for consultants to put towards their health and wellbeing, nine times out of ten that usually goes towards a gym membership. Having your birthday off is another popular one. Personally, I’ve always done this. The idea of getting a growling on your birthday by some authority figure would in all likely hood make me burst out in tears. A Wellness Day is becoming more popular. Once a quarter you can cash in a day that needs no explanation, which I feel sums up the whole point. Not having to justify what the day is the very essence of wellness, an agency I work with has the policy of texting “wellness day” before 8:30am and you simply get a “see you tomorrow 😊” text back. Most agencies even offer to pay for Southern Cross which I know isn’t the most glamorous of perks but it’s a great one that comes in super handy when the wear and tear of recruitment starts to show.

While these are brilliant, they aren’t the most bespoke of offerings. Another client we work with created a Wellness committee that ensures the budget is spent on things that enrich mental and physical health while keeping everything nice and inclusive. Be it a 6-week yoga course or a one on one with a financial advisor to help with budgeting at home, it’s voted on by the committee with help from the rest of the staff. Initiatives like Winter Wellness packages have been rolled out, supplying supplements and vitamins to keep the body and mind alert during the grey time. Flu jabs are being made available to those that don’t think it’s another swizz by the government to control the whims of the nation. A larger client works closely with a specialist in the field. Ex AB’s legend Sir John Kirwan fronts the company Groov which helps businesses like Todd Energy, Fletcher Building and The Warehouse Group harness a culture of wellbeing. Bringing about organizational change through their ‘rituals’ backed by some innovative tech.

If a company shows that they actually care about their staff, the more comfortable employees will feel with coming to them with their problems. New Zealand has a wellbeing score of 62/100 meaning that we are doing reasonably well, but there’s room for improvement. I feel in our industry we’re ahead of the curve when it comes to giving a shit. It’s easy to get overwhelmed in our jobs, there’s a lot of pressure to perform and expectations. We have to constantly put numbers on boards so it’s encouraging to hear when agencies don’t treat people like numbers. A great way to blow off steam and top up the well of wellness is by having a party, which Rice Consulting will be doing on Thursday 28th of July. Save the date.

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