CoAct named ‘Employer of Choice’ for innovative approach to people

| October 26, 2021

Not-for-profit employment services provider, CoAct, has been recognised as an Employer of Choice (EOC) for the second time in The Australian Business Awards 2021.

The award recognises organisations that maximise the full potential of their employees through innovation in employee recruitment, engagement and retention.

CoAct CEO, Matt Little, said this achievement recognises the organisation’s continued investment in its employees.

“We know that without the right people, it’s difficult to have a meaningful impact in the work we do. If we can bring out the best in our employees, we’re able to work with more disadvantaged communities and transform more lives through employment.”

CoAct is a membership organisation that partners with local service partners to deliver employment services. Together, these organisations build the capabilities and skills of disadvantaged jobseekers. Over the last 20 years, the network has grown its reach and impact and supported almost 70,000 jobseekers in 2020. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has presented one of the most significant business challenges ever faced by employers across Australia. It created a critical need for leading organisations to adapt to new working environments and adopt new approaches to employee engagement whilst navigating the technical and operational constraints imposed by the lockdown,” said Ms Tara Johnston, Program Director, Australian Business Awards.

“Becoming an Employer of Choice certainly hasn’t happened overnight. It’s taken time to get the mix right, shift our culture and listen to our staff. We’ve learnt that lots of little things add up and nothing motivates employees more than feeling genuinely valued and rewarded for their efforts.”

While many initiatives focusing on work life balance and personal and professional development were in place pre-pandemic, more staff have taken advantage of them over the past 18 months. They include 91 percent of staff taking up flexible and remote working, generous staff training, learning, home office and wellbeing budgets and encouragement to think creatively, pilot ideas and take risks. Staff can also buy extra leave, take RDOs and opt for volunteer days. 

CoAct’s open, friendly and informal, honest and ethical work environment has cemented this people-first culture. A relatively flat organisational structure and authentic leadership has also contributed to organisational success. The entire management team makes themselves available through a minimum of fortnightly one-to-ones for their direct reports. This enables them to really understand their needs for support and develop them both personally and professionally.

“Our culture was already embedded in family-first, trust and digital solutions – this helped us adapt to the new COVID way of working quickly. What we’ve seen is the continued effectiveness of meetings, interaction, operations and impact.”

Organisations who achieve the Employer of Choice Award will be given the opportunity to benchmark themselves against top performers globally through the World Business Awards.

The key attributes of the EOC assessment framework look for well-managed, high-performing, industry-leading organisations that provide a stimulating and supportive workplace. Organisations must demonstrate their achievements across Organisational Culture, Leadership & Strategy, Employee Education, Training & Development, Employee Health, Safety & Satisfaction, Performance Management and Recognition & Remuneration.