EnergyAustralia will be giving its 2300 people a special paid day off on Friday 26 November in what the energy retailer and generator is calling “Gratitude Day”.
Jodie Haydon, EnergyAustralia’s People and Culture Executive, says it’s a way to say thanks for their contribution during a difficult year.
“2021 was challenging. Throughout COVID-19 our people have continued to support our customers and keep the lights on and we want to recognise this collective effort,” said Jodie.
“Gratitude Day is a chance for our people to take some well-deserved time off, recharge and reconnect with whatever or whoever is important to them. This is in addition to the two paid ‘Energise’ days we already give our people each year.
“Most of EnergyAustralia will be off on the 26th – but not all. Some will be required to answer customer calls or work at our power stations to keep the power on. These people will be able to take another day off instead.”
David Burt, who works at EnergyAustralia’s Yallourn power station in Victoria, which employs around 500 people, said he is looking forward to teeing off.
“I’ll use my day off to visit Trafalgar Golf Club with a mate. There’s nothing better than honing your skills, chatting between holes and catching sight of the odd echidna,” said David.
Other EnergyAustralia people have said they’ll use the day to do some local Christmas shopping, enjoy a long lunch with friends or visit the hairdresser – something that will be welcomed by small businesses in their communities.
Jodie says the paid day off is the latest in a long list of employee-friendly initiatives. And its efforts have been noticed with EnergyAustralia being named in the 2021 AFR BOSS Best Places to Work list.
She says the company introduced flexible working well before anyone had heard of COVID-19.
“We provide our teams with flexibility in how, when and where they work. It supports our belief that when you help your people to be safe, happy and healthy they perform at their best and deliver great business outcomes. Put simply, a happy and engaged workforce leads to customers that are happy too - so it makes good business sense,” said Jodie.
"We’ve also introduced the ability for people to choose their own public holidays. For example, it means our people who observe differing religious or cultural holidays can work over Christmas but then take time off at another time without having to use annual leave.”
Plus, the organisation provided support for its people during COVID-19 lockdowns.
“During the lockdowns we had people at home juggling work with home schooling or with little kids at their feet. We tried to take some of the pressure off by introducing story time, with books read by our executives, Lego building and drawing competitions. We also had a teacher give sessions providing practical tips for supporting kids with home schooling.”
Jodie says the feedback from EnergyAustralia’s people to its various initiatives has been extremely positive. And she’s confident that customers are seeing the results, too.
“We believe people do their best work when they're well-rested, ready to bring their whole selves to work. I’m excited our workforce will be able to have a well-deserved day off on us. And for me, I’m looking forward to a long weekend with family and friends,” said Jodie.