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Outward Bound Wins Best Place to Work in NZ

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EMBARGOED UNTIL 10:00pm, THURSDAY 28, FEBRUARY, 2008

Outward Bound Wins Best Place to Work in New Zealand Award

Organisation that strives to help create 'better people, better communities and a better world' voted best place to work in the country


One of the country's best loved icons, Outward Bound Trust of New Zealand, has been voted the Best Place to Work in New Zealand.

Established in 1962 and still operating from its original location, Anakiwa, in the Marlborough Sounds, Outward Bound currently has 50 employees and is the country's leading organisation for showing people their full potential through challenge and adventure in the outdoors.

It is a former winner of the survey, having picked up the 'Overall Winner' award in 2005, and triumphed again this year by eclipsing competition from more than 200 other organisations that participated in the 2007 Unlimited/JRA Best Places to Work in New Zealand Survey.

Organisations are surveyed by leading workplace survey and analyst specialist JRA (NZ), in partnership with Unlimited magazine. More than 22,500 employees from Bluff to Kataia participated in the 2007 survey, making it the largest and most comprehensive employee engagement exercise of its kind in the country.

JRA (NZ) Managing Director John Robertson says the accolade for Outward Bound reflects the commitment the organisation has to not only to provide high quality courses for its customers, but to really grow and develop its own employees. It won the award because it has all the hallmarks of a great workplace: a clear, strong vision, a real sense of community amongst its employees, a commitment to grow and develop its people, and a culture of high performance.

"Right from the onset, Outward Bound has succeeded in integrating everything it stands for into the way it operates and consequently has developed a very strong team culture. The entire judging panel was impressed with the breadth and depth of their entire set up," says John Robertson.

Anakiwa, near Picton, has been described as the most perfectly situated Outward Bound school in the world. The natural timbered buildings of the facilities merge gracefully into the curve of the bay and are backed by native bush, and it is this setting from which many of its employees work.

Flight Centre, another former winner of the Overall Award, again received the Best Place to Work award in the Large Workplaces category (400+ employees) , whilst the James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor in Wellington was placed top of the 10 Best Medium - Large Workplaces (150 - 399 employees) and management and IT consulting firm Maven took out the Small Workplaces (20 - 49 employees) category. Outward Bound won the Small - Medium Workplaces (50 - 149 employees) category.

Unlimited editor Fiona Rotherham says the survey continues to represent a real cross section of the New Zealand workplaces, yet they all show a real commitment to change.
"All of these organisations have to have an openness and honesty just to take part in the survey let alone act on its results. The successful workplaces are the ones that really commit to making a change, that realise it is not a quick fix and work hard over a number of years and really listen to feedback from their staff. Outward Bound is a classic example of that."

Julie Gill, owner/publisher of Unlimited, says the depth of the survey is unrivaled, requiring participants to answer 60 survey questions based around eight themes including culture and values, common purpose, communication and cooperation, as well as learning and development, performance and recognition.

"More and more employers are recognising the simple truism that engaged employees stay longer, work more productively and deliver better service — all of which can have a dramatic effect on bottom line — and that's an integral part of any successful business," she says.

Employees complete the survey confidentially either online or in hard copy; JRA's online survey technology instantly reports results back to the organisation. At the end of the survey period, JRA ranks the organisations in each size category, based on their overall results. The CEO of each finalist is also interviewed The judging panel, which includes the survey sponsors Dow Group and Adcorp, together with JRA and Unlimited, then select the overall winner

ENDS

The Best Places to Work in New Zealand 2007

5 Best Large Workplaces (400+ employees)

RANKING ORGANISATION
1 Flight Centre (NZ)
2 AMI Insurance
3 Vero Insurance New Zealand
4 GHD
5 Fulton Hogan

10 Best Medium-Large Workplaces (150-399 employees)

RANKING ORGANISATION
1 James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor Wellington
2 Fletcher Easysteel
3 Mars New Zealand
4 Overland Footwear
5 New World Te Rapa
6 Intergen
7 Waikato District Council
8 Career Services rapuara
9 Toyota New Zealand
10 Brookfield New World

10 Best Small-Medium Workplaces (50-149 employees)

RANKING ORGANISATION
1 Outward Bound Trust of New Zealand
2= Webb Ross Lawyers
2= Colmar Brunton
4 Perpetual Trust
5 Colliers International NZ
6 Merck Sharp & Dohme (New Zealand)
7 Catholic Diocese of Auckland
8 New Zealand Rugby Union
9 South Canterbury Finance Group
10 Vedior Asia Pacific

10 Best Small Workplaces (20-49 staff)

RANKING ORGANISATION
1 Maven
2 Inspire Group
3= Retailworld Resourcing
3= Obex Medical
5 Southern Cross Travel Insurance
6 CommArc Consulting
7 Securities Commission
8 Carat New Zealand
9 Vista Entertainment Solutions
10 Holistics Group

Most Improved Workplaces

CATEGORY ORGANISATION
Small BDO Spicers Hawkes Bay
Small-Medium Fujifilm New Zealand
Medium-Large James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor Wellington
Large GHD


Highly commended private sector workplace: Brookfield New World
Highly commended public sector workplace: Career Services rapuara


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About JRA:
JRA (formerly John Robertson & Associates) was established in 1993, and is New Zealand's leading provider of employee climate/culture and related surveys. The organisation provides a number of innovative tools and services such as www.survey-online.com (SOL) - a web-based survey application, a powerful benchmarking capability in the form of its highly successful stable of 'workplace surveys', including the unlimited/JRA Best Places to Work in New Zealand Survey, the New Zealand Workplace Survey, and the Local Government Workplace Survey. These generic workplace surveys have attracted more than 450 organisation and 50,000 respondents since their introduction in 2000. In addition, its team of highly qualified analysts convert information into insight, providing diagnosis that goes beyond simply 'what' people think to examine 'why' people think the way they do. JRA works with clients directly, as well as indirectly via its network of Consulting Partners. This approach enables clients to have the best of all worlds - access to JRA's world-class diagnostic capability, combined with specialist consulting support to convert survey insight into positive actions for change.

About Unlimited Magazine
Unlimited is New Zealand's forward thinking business magazine, designed to inform and inspire business innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders. Unlimited helps these people to stay ahead with a constant flow of smart new thinking, ideas and insights into all aspects of doing business in the information age. Unlimited readers want to be challenged, informed, motivated and entertained. They want stories that are useful, insightful and inspirational. We provide a selection of in-depth features, news backgrounders and analysis, profiles of people and businesses we admire, provocative columns, and a Toolkit section dedicated to helping New Zealand businesses grow and prosper.


ENDS

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