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Essential Workers Win National Diversity Award

23 September 2021

An organisational culture that encourages employees to act like owners of the business and celebrate ‘everyday moments of goodness’ has been recognised with the country’s top workplace diversity award.

George Weston Foods, the company that makes much of the bread eaten in New Zealand, including the Tip Top Bakery brand, took out the Supreme Award at the 2021 Diversity Awards NZ™.

The award comes after a busy period for the business, which has to keep safely baking and supplying fresh bread to supermarkets throughout Alert Level 3 and 4 lockdowns.

George Weston Foods, which was also the Inclusive Workplace Award Medium-Large Organisation Winner, strives to foster inclusive teams through education and initiatives and by promoting its values: safe, courageous, trusting and collaborative.

Diversity Works New Zealand Chief Executive Maretha Smit says, “This is an organisation where being human and being real is the lived reality across the whole team.

“It is a place with a fantastic diversity and inclusion strategy that does not remain on paper – they have a multitude of inclusion champions driving that strategy and the energy of the organisation is welcoming to all.”

‘Everyday Moments of Goodness’ isn’t just a slogan for George Weston Foods, it’s a purpose that’s brought to life through its values and the way team members are encouraged to act each day, Smit says.

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“It’s significant that we are presenting this award in a time when we are living with Covid-19 restrictions. The George Weston team are essential workers who, every day, have put themselves at risk to ensure our supermarkets are stocked and our families fed. Having an inclusive culture is key to an organisation being able to thrive through challenging times.”

The company has also made a commitment to creating everyday moments of goodness in the community through a volunteering programme and partnerships with organisations such as KidsCan, which see more than 100,000 loaves of bread provided to schools each year.

The Diversity Awards NZ™ offer organisations an opportunity to showcase a variety of innovative people initiatives and publicly commit to being held accountable for tangible progress in building work environments where everybody is safe to bring the best version of themselves.

The 2021 winners were announced today in the first ever digital-only awards presentation in the programme’s 24-year history.

“We wanted to celebrate the incredible commitment our finalists and winners have made to creating cultures of inclusion and more equitable workplaces across Aotearoa New Zealand while following the Covid restrictions in place across the country,” Smit says.

Here is a full list of winners:

Supreme Award

Winner: George Weston Foods

Leadership Award

Medium-Large Organisation Winner –New Zealand Trade and Enterprise

Medium-Large Organisation Highly Commended – Downer New Zealand

Diverse Talent Award

Small-Medium Organisation Winner – Hutt Gas and Plumbing

Medium-Large Organisation Winner – Ministry of Social Development

Medium-Large Organisation Highly Commended – Warren and Mahoney

Inclusive Workplace Award

Medium-Large Organisation Winner – George Weston Foods

Medium-Large Organisation Highly Commended – New Zealand Steel

Mātauranga Māori Award

Small-Medium Organisation Winner – Te Ahu a Turanga Manawatū Tararua Highway Alliance

Medium-Large Organisation Winner – Manatū mo te Taiao Ministry for the Environment

Medium-Large Organisation Highly Commended – Dempsey Wood Civil Limited

Impact Award

Winner: Will&Able

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