Masterton husband-and-wife team Tim and Carissa Fairbrother, of Rival Wealth. PHOTO/FILE

PAM GRAHAM
pam.graham@age.co.nz

A flexible approach to work had Masterton investment firm, Rival Wealth, named a winner at the Diversity Awards in Auckland on Wednesday night.

At a gala dinner, in front of 700 business people and Carmel Sepuloni, the Minister for Social Development and Disability Issues, the company picked up the Work Life Balance Award.

The company was founded by Tim and Carissa Fairbrother in 2008 and now employs 17 people.

Right from the start, there was a commitment to flexible working arrangements.

It has paid off in high rates of staff retention, and customer satisfaction scores of 96 per cent.

The company has a document called ‘Our Rules’, which sets the foundation of its philosophy and ‘pods’ are used to create back-up for everyone’s role.

The pods are responsible for letting other members know about key information they have missed.

All staff work on a Tuesday for a regular catch-up.

The company also has a high-quality customer relationship system that allows staff to see what is being done for each client.

The system has worked well to support staff through everything from a broken ankle to dealing with a terminal illness.

The judges saw the systems as ways of dealing with sickness, school holidays and annual leave, all of which were challenges for small businesses.

They also played a role in setting the culture of the company.

“I am so grateful to have found a workplace that not only supports work-life balance, but has it written into the rules,” an employee, Michelle, said.

The awards attracted a record 93 entries.

The NZ Defence Force won the Supreme Sward for its mandatory Sexual Ethics and Respectful Relating training of 11,000 personnel since June 2017.

Diversity Works New Zealand chief executive Rachel Hopkins said the programme focused on one of the most topical issues facing workplaces, creating genuine social change with a simple training strategy delivered to a large workforce in a very short timeframe.

The judges also gave special acknowledgement to Fonterra for its groundbreaking work in bringing women into the workplace at the company’s Saudi Arabia operation.

DIVERSITY AWARDS WINNERS

Supreme Award: NZ Defence Force.

Empowerment Award: Ministry of Justice.

Tomorrow’s Workforce Award: Fletcher Building.

Skills Highway Award: Griffin’s.

Positive Inclusion Award: MidCentral District Health Board.

Cultural Celebration Award [joint winner]: New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.

Cultural Celebration Award [joint winner]: Waitemata District Health Board.

Work Life Balance Award: Rival Wealth.

Walk the Talk Award: Sudesh Jhunjhnuwala, Sudima Hotels & Resorts.

Emerging Diversity and Inclusion Award: NZ Defence Force.