What makes an employer of choice?


Dean Sappey, HR Director at Frucor Australia, the market leader in energy drinks in both Australia and New Zealand, explains what's enabled them to be named an AON Hewitt Best Employer for the past 2 years.

I have been asked this question many times over the past couple of years since Frucor was first named an AON Hewitt Best Employer in early 2011.

And really, there is no silver bullet. The key is to implement a mixture of initiatives that truly align to your culture, and that your team are passionate about. It's not too complicated but it does involve focus and some hard work on the part of everyone in your organisation. What doesn't work is when employee engagement is treated like a project or a collection of initiatives forced upon the business solely because the leadership team thinks they are a good idea.

To be an employer of choice, there are three key elements:

1. Focus on continuous improvement

Your organisation needs to have an attitude for getting better and a desire to develop itself. This comes naturally at Frucor and we thrive on feedback. Feedback is a key ingredient in developing better awareness. Feedback is central to what we do, whether that's at an individual level or asking our people what we can do as a business to be a better place to work.

2. Acknowledge feedback with honesty

While asking for feedback is important, it's what you do with it next that matters most. Not all suggestions will be acted on, and if that's the case you need to be straight up and call it when you don't think something is a good idea or a direction that we should take our business. It can be more damaging to engagement to say, "great idea", if you don't mean it or don't intend acting on it!

3. Empower your employees

I feel the key to our success lies in creating an environment where your people can truly make an impact and be enabled by genuinely 'real' leaders. Our values of Go For It, Trailblazing, Straight Up, One Team and Value You certainly create the container for this to happen. We take business seriously, but do not take ourselves too seriously, and I think this really resonates with our people.

We don't try to be everything to everyone. We are acutely aware of what other companies may offer their people in an EVP sense and what benefits may be on offer in the market for talent. However, it's often the little things that count which are brought to life with good conversations between leaders and their people. Simply allowing your people to wear jeans to work on a Friday doesn't make you a great place to work.

And this approach is evidently working.

The Frucor Australia business celebrated 10 successful years in the Australian market in 2011. The business growth in these 10 years has been incredible. From our modest beginnings we now employ more than 200 people.

For further information, please visit Frucor.

Dean Sappey commenced with Frucor in 2003, after spending several years in the snack food industry with Pepsico, Snack Brands Australia and later Arnott Campbells. During his time at Frucor, Dean has lead significant growth in the business both commercially and in overall capability. Initially leading the Finance function at Frucor, he has headed up the HR team since 2007 and sees continued growth for the business in coming years.