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Employee Experience Awards Success

On Thursday 8 November, six organisations received the ultimate award taking out their category win at New Zealand’s first ever Employee Experience Awards, naming them as the most valuable places to be employed throughout New Zealand.

Over 150 finalists and employees attended the inaugural awards event at Generator, Britomart, developed by employee experience experts, Humankind, in partnership with Joyous. Awards winners were as follows:

Inspiration Awards
EX Initiative of the Year – Lightspeed Graphics
EX Diversity & Inclusion Award - The Warehouse Group
EX Practitioner of the Year – Shelley Matthews, Sudima Hotel

EX Organisation Size Categories
Small Organisation – Auror
Small-Medium Organisation – Redvespa Consulting
Medium-Large Organisation – Overland Footwear Group

Finalists included Kiwi organisations from throughout New Zealand including Wellington, Auckland, Hamilton and Queenstown.

“It was a fantastic night bringing like-minded organisations of all sizes together. There was a great vibe throughout the room with a really supportive and nurturing environment of those striving to create great employee experiences throughout their organisations,” said Humankind Founder Samantha Gadd.

“We’ve heard some truly inspiring stories of what organisations are doing to go above and beyond for their employees, showing that they genuinely care and appreciate the input they have.”

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Some of the stories learned about throughout the evening were truly heart-warming, for example, for one EX18 organisation, finding out an employee had Multiple Sclerosis was an opportunity to go above and beyond in showing their support. Knowing that he loved the Warriors, the employee and his wife were flown up to Auckland, kitted out in all the fan gear and taken to a corporate box to watch the game. At the end, he was presented with the match ball. The organisation promised that no matter what, there would always be a role for him. When the time came for the employee to decide it was time for him to stop work, he asked to stay on the Social Club. He remains a member of that group today. It’s one of several examples we heard where employers show genuine kindness to their people.

Notes to editor:
The previous finalist media release contains further information on these awards and the lead up to these. If you would like this re-sent and to organise an interview with any of the winners and/ or Samantha Gadd, please contact Elle Isaac on 022 463 1695 or

Photos of the winners can be found here. Names of people in pictures as follows:

Inspiration Awards
1. EX Initiative of the Year – Lightspeed Graphics (left to right)

Rushad Gordia, Lydia Wang, Steve Martin
2. EX Diversity & Inclusion Award - The Warehouse Group (left to right)

Olivia Dyet, Evelyn Ross
3. EX Practitioner of the Year – Shelley Matthews, Sudima Hotel

Sudesh Jhunjhnuwala, Shelley Matthews

EX Organisation Size Categories
4. Small Organisation – Auror (order unknown)

Tom Batterbury, Phil Thompson, Ellen Dick, Fallon Savery, Kirsti Grant, Tanya Johnson, Daniil Samoylov, James Corbett, Kristen Pak
5. Small-Medium Organisation – Redvespa Consulting (left to right)

Jamie Gibson, Laura Caccioppoli, Moana O’Neil, Rebecca Sinclair
6. Medium-Large Organisation – Overland Footwear Group (order unknown)

Olivia Bennett, Emily Stringfellow, Jaimee Boyce, Chenae Sketchley, Diana Marshall, Broghan Lamb, Julie Harrell, Melissa Quirk, Louise Anselmi, Shane Anselmi

Please see below for the winners responses to taking out the top award in the country!

Inspiration Awards
1. EX Initiative of the YearLightspeed Graphics, Steve Martin, Operations Director

“It’s a great honour to be the very first winner of the very first prize at the Employee Experience annual awards! No one can take that away from us! We’re a nice example of a business collaboration between a Chinese company and a NZ company and very proud of that. We try to incorporate the best of both cultures and like to think that we can be used as an example moving forwards.”

2. EX Diversity & Inclusion Award - The Warehouse Group - Evelyn Ross, Chief People Officer

“We’re extremely proud to be participating and a part of this first event. We’re stoked that we are the recipient of this award. We have 12,000 employees and the diversity and inclusion is extremely important to us.”

The Warehouse Group - Olivia Dyet, Head of People Experience

“One of the most important things that isn’t easily discussed is around family violence. We really encourage difficult conversations because we understand that people need to bring their whole selves to work and we support them with that without repercussions and without impacting their role. We encourage the sharing of our policies and how we implement and embed that in our business. Imagine if one company can do it and share it with all of you – imagine the scope of change we could make!”

3. EX Practitioner of the YearSudima Hotels - Shelley Matthews, HR Advisor

“Having been in this role just 9 months, what I love is that I have been able to just do my job, and they’ve let me do what I love, no questions asked – they’ve just let me loose!”

Sudima Hotels - Sudesh Jhunjhnuwala (CEO)

“Shelley has the most difficult job in the world – she is handling such a diverse group of people. It’s great to hire a diverse group, but to keep them involved and help them to feel part of a team is a much more difficult job. Great work Shelley!”

EX Organisation Size Categories
4. Small OrganisationAuror - Phil Thomson, Co-Founder and Co-CEO

“Thanks on behalf of the co-founders. Thanks to the team that worked on the awards tonight – it’s awesome that you’re not only hosting these awards, but that you give back through the insights and recommendations and our own improvements that we can continue to build on what we’re doing at Auror.”

“We can design a culture and design an experience, but it takes a team to actually build it and add to it, which is really important to us.”

“The challenge for us now, as well as all the other finalists is how can we scale and build on this experience as we grow our team and across the world.”

5. Small-Medium OrganisationRedvespa Consulting – Moana O’Neill, Chief Knowledge Officer

"This is so exciting! You have no idea what this means to us! We're incredibly grateful to be here.”

"We were just talking about authenticity and can say that every day, we feel that with Redvespa and feel really blessed!"

6. Medium-Large OrganisationOverland Footwear Group – Shane Anselmi, Founder & CEO

“This is an incredible thrill. Congrats and thank you for putting these awards together. We had the conversation 6 months ago and suddenly, in a very short time, here we are! You’ve done an extraordinary job.”

“We resource our people – asking them the tell us stories about people living our values on a weekly basis. We probably get close to 200 stories every week so we are incredibly proud of that! As our people get engaged and we provide experiences, it really seems to rub off onto the environment of the stores and so we get such great feedback from customers about the experiences they receive. Values are credible for an organisation, but purpose and meaning are very important. The messages that we give our people are that life often is not fair, we embrace the struggle. Get out of your comfort zone and give. I’m so proud of the team and how they do that.”

“Something very close to our heart is a charity we formed. We sell 10s of thousands of shoes and $5 from every pair sold goes to the Young Hearts Project who try to lower the youth suicide rate in New Zealand and we’re just incredibly proud that we’ve hit the $1.2m milestone and supported lots of young people.”


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