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Diversity Award a big boost for New Zealand businesses

Wednesday, Mar 22, 2017, by Sheryl Blythen

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Recognition at the Diversity Awards NZ has helped two innovative local companies make an even bigger impact with their initiatives designed to create an inclusive workplace for New Zealanders. Hell Pizza’s 'Active in Hell' training programme has gone from strength to strength since winning the Diversability category at the 2016 awards, says General Manager Ben Cumming. Partnering with IHC, the company has given more than 50 youth with an intellectual disability training in working in the fast food industry, and placed more than seven of the trainees in permanent employment. “We are committed to taking it to the next level this year and have budget allocated to pay for 69 trainees in 2017,” Cumming says. READ MORE: Changing perceptions one pizza at a time “Winning the Diversability Award gave the programme a lot of momentum and significantly increased the enthusiasm and buy-in from our franchisees. The number of stores asking to be involved has doubled.” Entering the Awards made the Hell team think more about diversity in the workplace, Cumming says. “We were forced to reflect on what we had done and what we could do to improve our diversity in the future. It also opened our eyes to what other organisations do to promote diversity, so we realised how broad the possibilities were and just how much more we could improve on.” Downer New Zealand has also enjoyed greater exposure for its Māori leadership programme, both internally and within the New Zealand business community, since winning the Emerging Diversity and Inclusion category last year. The company currently has another two Whakahiki i Nga Rangatira Māori programmes underway, empowering 40 of its staff. READ MORE: Māori leadership a first step to diversity “Our former graduates are stepping up and playing a big role in running these programmes, which contributes to their continued individual development,” says General Manager of Commercial and Finance Evan Jensen. “The win has given us a boost and further determination to push forward with our initiative. Since the awards we have been approached by other organisations about our programme, and we presented it at a forum on Māori economic development.” Both men say entering the awards was a worthwhile exercise. “It’s great to step back and reflect on what you have achieved,” says Jensen. Even if an organisation doesn’t win, it gets good exposure for its business initiatives, learns what others are working on this space and the opportunity to network, he says. Cumming says that attending the Awards Gala Dinner was a great way to reward the franchisees and staff who were heavily involved in the programme. “The recognition made us all feel so proud about what we had done and made us realise it was a significant achievement which was making a truly positive impact on people’s lives.” Entries for the 2017 Diversity Awards NZ close on 12 May. It’s the 20th year the awards have been held and Diversity Works NZ Chief Executive Bev Cassidy-Mackenzie says the event is a fantastic opportunity for businesses to showcase the work they are doing to create an inclusive culture that will build better teams, develop a good employer brand, gain a competitive advantage and, ultimately, increase their bottom line. Get more information on the different award categories and how to enter at www.diversityworksnz.org.nz/awards[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_video link="https://vimeo.com/206170056"][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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