Successful companies have happy customers – ones who come back again and again for your products and services.
At EnergyAustralia we believe the key to achieving customer happiness is to focus on your people first.
Engaging your people – it’s good for business
That’s the philosophy of Jodie Haydon, EnergyAustralia’s Head of People and Culture. And with EnergyAustralia being named in the 2021 AFR BOSS Best Places to Work list, it’s clear Jodie knows a thing or two about creating a place where people want to work.
“It’s simple — if our people are engaged it creates happy customers. It means the people-focused initiatives we’ve introduced at EnergyAustralia aren’t just nice to do, they make good business sense. And it’s our customers that ultimately benefit.
“Creating a workforce of engaged people is my priority. When I talk about engagement people often think happy. But it’s so much more than that. It’s about building our people’s connection with EnergyAustralia, their passion and enthusiasm for their role and the business, so that they’re motivated to go the extra mile and do the best work of their careers,” said Jodie.
Building a purposeful, creative culture
Jodie credits EnergyAustralia being named a Best Places to Work finalist in 2021 to listening to people on the culture they want, the type of working arrangement that helps them do their best work and responding with programs in kind.
“For example, our people told us they wanted more freedom to choose when, how and where they work. We responded by creating a team-first approach to flexibility and even gave it a name – Energise.
“Energise is not a one size fits all approach and there are no rules to follow beyond a few guiding principles. We take the attitude that if the work gets done, outcomes are met and results achieved, then where the work gets done doesn’t matter,” said Jodie.
“We leave it up to each team to decide how they’ll work and give them the tools to make it happen."
“This is all part of work we are doing to build a culture that is more purposeful, team orientated, and that produces long term, sustainable results.”
Two paid rest and recharge days per year
“Our people are also given two paid “Energise” days per year to be used to recharge. For example, one colleague told me she’s using hers to rekindle her love of horse riding,” said Jodie.
"We've also introduced the ability for people to choose their own public holidays. It means that our people who follow the Jewish faith (for example) can work over Christmas but then take time off for Jewish holidays like Passover, without having to use annual leave.
It’s another way we give our people flexibility as well as respect the many different cultures and religions that make up EnergyAustralia.
“This is all part of work we are doing to build a culture that is more purposeful, team orientated, and that produces long term, sustainable results. With an equal focus on business outcomes and people, the new culture is intended to help EnergyAustralia respond to challenges in a more creative and agile way,” said Jodie.
Workspaces to inspire and engage
But EnergyAustralia isn’t turning its back on the office. In fact, in 2021 EnergyAustralia moved to a brand new one in Melbourne – a six star rated building, across the road from Southern Cross station, with top-class end of trip facilities, on-site café and plenty more.
“When designing the building we turned a whole area over to an employee-led committee to do with as they wished. They decided on a wellness centre named ‘The Retreat’. COVID has slowed its rollout sadly, but it’s a place where our people will go to relax in the garden or take lunchtime fitness and meditation classes. It’s also where we’ll get experts in to discuss topics that promote health and wellbeing. And for those working flexibly, the classes are also offered online,” said Jodie.
EnergyAustralia’s focus on health and wellbeing doesn’t end here, with several other programs in place.
“At EnergyAustralia we want people to feel free to bring their whole selves to work, and there’s a number of ways we encourage this – from our award-winning PRISM network which supports LGBTQI+ people, our Reconciliation Action Plan which promotes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander engagement and participation, to our Women’s Network which encourages everyone to have a voice when it comes to gender equality and promotes women to become leaders through mentoring,” said Jodie.
It seems to be working with the company’s overall engagement score lifting by 17 percentage points over the year to January 2021. And at a time when the pandemic left many people feeling uncertain about the future.
“Ultimately, everything we do comes back to the customer. We hope they’re seeing the benefits of our efforts in their interactions with us,” Jodie said.