Overall Best Workplace NZ for 2017 goes to Overland

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By Emma Martin, Senior Consultant, IBM New Zealand

Last night I joined the IBM Best Workplaces Category and League Award winners, sponsors and other IBMers to celebrate Overland Footwear, which ranked ahead of 42 finalists to receive the top honour.

The Awards are based on the Best Workplaces survey, the largest and longest running measure of employee engagement in New Zealand. Overland stood above the competition for its consistently high employee survey response rates, and overall engagement scores over the last 12 years. The retailer was also consistently one of the top performers for key indicators including communication, creating a sense of common purpose, and teamwork – which is particularly remarkable given its highly distributed workforce.

The IBM Best Workplaces Awards are of great use to organisations across New Zealand. The findings provide a lens into employee perceptions of New Zealand workplaces so that strategies and initiatives can be tailored for individual needs to deliver the best results.

And findings suggest this approach is working as there is a positive overall trend in average employee engagement levels – rising from 75.8% in 2015 to nearly 80% in 2017. Furthermore, more than three quarters of all survey questions around workplace environment registered a meaningful increase.

The Overland Footware team

The Overland Footware team

Significant trends from this year’s programme were a greater focus on health & safety, career development, and post-survey actions.

One of the standout findings this year was how organisations are increasingly committed to health and safety. Businesses across the country have launched a range of campaigns and initiatives, from safety consciousness campaigns to corporate health and fitness programmes. This welcome result likely reflects the introduction of the Health and Safety at Work Act which came into force in April 2016.

Retaining talent was also a focus this year in New Zealand, with Kiwi companies rising to the challenge by demonstrating meaningful improvement in offering career development opportunities and also fair pay and benefits. The increase pertained to all size categories, but showed up particularly strongly in small organisations – which is surprising. This shows that being ‘too small’ or having a ‘flat’ organisational structure does not have to be a barrier to meaningful growth and career development.

Overland accepting award

The Overland team with Mike Smith, IBM’s Managing Director, New Zealand

A particular highlight from this year’s findings was the positive increase in belief that positive change will happen from survey. We often coach client organisations on survey best practice, so it is a great sign that employers are listening to their people’s feedback, acting on it and communicating those actions back. Most organisations improved on this question in 2017, especially large organisations who did particularly well with a 5 point jump from 2016.

Overall, New Zealand employers are clearly looking out for their people – great news for us as individuals, and collectively as we build a thriving and innovative economy.

For more about the IBM Best Workplaces programme, visit or follow the conversation at #BestWorkNZ. If you would like to learn more about Overland’s values and how they engage their employees click here



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