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Flight Centre Named NZ’s Best Large Employer

1 March 2005

Flight Centre Named NZ’s Best Large Employer For Third Consecutive Year

For the third consecutive year, one of New Zealand’s largest travel companies, Flight Centre Limited, has been voted the country’s top large employer in an annual nationwide workplace survey.

In the 2004 Unlimited Best Places to Work survey, Flight Centre was singled out as the best large company in the country to work for, coming in 12th overall. The company is made up of its ‘red and white’ Flight Centre stores and corporate travel provider FCm Travel Solutions, and was the only employer in the ‘large’ category to make it into the top 20 list.

Flight Centre’s human resources division, Peopleworks, is especially proud of the win, with Peopleworks area leader Sue Matson describing the three straight wins as a real endorsement of the company’s philosophies and the value it places on its staff.

“The philosophies and the culture are the backbone of everything we do, which is what makes our company such a great place to work - it comes from such a good foundation,” she said.

To keep this culture strong, it also means employing the right people in the first place, Matson said, as “you can teach skills but you can’t teach attitude”.

Despite the tightest labour market since records began, retention rates at the travel firm continue to improve.

Matson said a big part of retention was letting people know, and reminding them on a regular basis, that they had a future with the company if they wanted it.

“We place a strong emphasis on developing our people’s abilities, fostering leadership skills and identifying future leaders,” Matson said.

“We also believe there are no limits to what our staff can achieve. As a result, our salaries are uncapped and we are always in search of new ways to further the personal and professional development of our staff.”

The Unlimited award was designed and analysed by workplace survey specialists John Roberston and Associates, and is the largest and most robust measure of employee satisfaction in New Zealand.

This is Unlimited’s fifth survey, with nearly 17,000 employees from 161 organisations taking part this year. Results were compiled from questionnaires completed by the CEOs, HR departments and employees of participating organizations.

Top companies scored highly in three main areas: employees having a sense of future at an organization, celebrating success and recognition and reward, the report said.

Flight Centre retail leader Jude Evans said despite having nearly 700 staff across more than 140 stores and businesses in New Zealand, Flight Centre’s focus on maintaining a team atmosphere and rewarding staff successes has long been an integral part of the company’s philosophies.

Regular social events such as monthly ‘buzz night’ staff celebrations, annual awards and ongoing incentive-based initiatives not only motivate staff but encourage a strong team atmosphere.

Flat management that encourages two-way communication between staff and management also contributes to the strong staff morale – one of the areas highlighted by staff was that “the person I report to treats me with respect”.

Flight Centre is looking to further encourage its staff with the soon to be introduced ‘My Career’ programme, in which staff can map out where they want to go in the company, and find out what skills they need to gain and create a timeline to follow this path.

Globally, Flight Centre Limited has more than 5000 staff in more than 1000 stores and businesses across six countries, including New Zealand, Australia, UK, USA, Canada and South Africa.


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