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Bupa – Better Outcomes through Cultural Connections

Case Study

New Zealand Diversity Awards, 2015
Winner: Cultural Celebration Category

Bupa – Culture creates vital connections for Bupa Care staff and residents

Focusing on culture is helping Bupa unlock the talents of its staff and provide better ‘person-centred’ care for the residents in its rest homes, hospitals and retirement villages.

Bupa defines ‘person centred’ care as an approach that considers and respects the whole person including their cultural needs, and relies on individual and personal connection between employees and clients.


The ‘Personal Best’ initiative is one of Bupa’s initiatives designed to help employees explore the ways in which they are uniquely capable of delivering person-centred care. This involves recognising the importance of the cultural background of clients, residents and customers, and celebrating what individual employees have to offer.

Through ‘Personal Best’ employees can identify their own unique skills and passions which are not necessarily employed in their day-to-day responsibilities, and celebrate perspectives that may enable better connections with those they care for.


Many of Bupa’s employees enter the workforce facing obstacles to being fully able to contribute their strengths and skills, such as language issues, difficulties in matching previous skills and experience in this employment market, or entering a new or different career from the one they had in their home country.

Bupa has several ground-level training programmes that enable many migrant employees to advance their employment prospects:

  • Career Force
    Career Force enables people to achieve New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) unit standards on the job and is offered in the areas of health, disability and cleaning.

One employee who went through the Career Force programme had previously trained as a physiotherapist in India but was unable to use her qualification in New Zealand because of registration issues.

When she joined Bupa she was employed as a caregiver, then became an activities coordinator and was encouraged by her manager to complete Career Force Units in diversional therapy and became a Career Force assessor. Now, with the support of her manager, this employee is working towards New Zealand physiotherapy registration.

  • Approval in Principle scheme (AIP).
    Bupa also demonstrated its dedication to skilled migrants by working with government departments to implement the Approval in Principle scheme (AIP). AIP is a conditional approval of employment which supports current employees on work visas to be re-hired when their current visas are expiring. AIP enables Bupa to retain current and valued employees and build a culturally diverse talent pipeline.
Culture creating connections & identity

Local events to celebrate cultural diversity are encouraged and often include cultural music or dance performances from employees, their families or local social groups. A regular “Cultural Day” gives employees an opportunity to share their culture and customs at work through dress, food and stories.


Bupa Care Services New Zealand is part of a global health and care company.  In New Zealand Bupa is the largest aged care provider with three aged care businesses, rest homes and Bupa Care Services hospitals, retirement villages and personal medical alarms plus a rehabilitation business, touching the lives of more than 20,000 New Zealanders. Bupa has over 4500 employees representing over 60 differently cultural backgrounds all delivering on Bupa’s purpose of longer, healthier, happier lives.

Bupa as an organisation recognises that nurturing and valuing a multi-cultural workforce enables employees to have the confidence to bring their unique skills and perspectives to their work, allowing them to better connect with their clients and provide a truly person-centred service.

Bupa’s vision is that all employees are accepted, valued and empowered. Initiatives to ensure that cultural diversity is valued at every level of the organisation are employee-led to a great extent, implemented by managers and teams on the ground in a way that best suits them.

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