How to become an employer of choice

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What does it take to become an employer of choice? Often it’s about looking beyond the traditional job perks and more about how you can boost an employee’s quality of life.

Sophie Knox

Heard of the Great Resignation? It’s a trend that’s being observed mostly in the United States through 2021/22 but it’s happening at various scale all over the world. What is it? Well, it’s a mass exodus of people leaving their jobs during the COVID pandemic, fuelled by a level of discontent due to: 
  • general burn-out
  • limited career opportunities
  • poor pandemic health measures
  • switching from office to working from home, and
  • the impetus the pandemic provided to consider your long-term career and life goals; i.e. being a nurse is a thankless job, I’m going to be a floral artist after all.   
In Australia some people are partaking in the Great Resignation, moving to new careers or maybe re-considering their working life altogether. 

But we also have the situation triggered by the travel restrictions, whereby all those willing workers coming from outside Australia, bringing in new skills and energy to our industries, are no longer knocking on our doors. 

In short – there’s a shortage of workers, and too many jobs. With fierce competition for skilled professionals, the heat is on employers to make their workplace more attractive to potential employees. 

How do you become an employer of choice?

Let’s face it. Money talks. Paying more than other employers is obviously a winning strategy, especially in industries with cash to splash. But for many employees, money’s not the only consideration. 

If we’ve learned one thing through the pandemic years, it’s that quality of life is a highly valued bargaining tool in the job wars. What constitutes quality of life? It’s different for everyone – it could be working from home versus office flexibility or a company’s parental leave policy.

How to be a culturally relevant business

One of the differentiators of Hardie Grant Media as a business is that we help brands be more culturally relevant so they can grow, engage and influence audiences and deliver memorable brand experiences.

Being “culturally relevant” is a key part of that goal – and we believe it’s just as important to apply that goal to the way we behave with our own people as it is for the work we do. So how is Hardie Grant Media culturally relevant for its employees? We provide:
We know that your personal life and wellbeing constantly intersect with your working life. Whether you’re dealing with your own personal issues, starting a family or caring for a loved one – at different times you need support from your workplace. 

We’re all excited about this new initiative for Hardie Grant, giving staff access to the Circle In wellbeing platform, a comprehensive personal and family benefits platform that provides accessible, practical and authentic support across all life stages. The resources include various formats, from articles and checklists through to webinars and aged care resources, all backed by experts in their field. The goals are to encourage honest conversations, provide thoughtful guidance and help maintain meaningful connections between managers and their team members, supporting people through each stage of their life journey, including:
  • general health and wellbeing 
  • pregnancy/adoption/IVF assistance 
  • caregivers’ support 
  • inclusive conversations 
  • return-to-work resources 
  • remote working resources 
  • menopause support 
  • guidelines covering support for new/expecting parents, parents of children with disability, caregivers and working parents.
“Caring for people is a natural, ever-present part of life. It can be happy, it can be hard but we know it will always be unquestionably human,” say Jodi Geddes and Kate Pollard, co-founders of Circle In.

Real life stories

One of the customised parts of the platform is the Real Stories section – where Hardie Grant’s employees share their tales of juggling work and the demands of life. Hardie Grant Media’s Group Managing Director Nick Hardie-Grant recently shared his tale of being in the throes of newborn and toddler chaos. He paints a picture of his new parent life while extolling the virtues of dads taking parental leave to bond with their child and understand their routines.

Reconciliation Action Plan

In our view, Hardie Grant can’t be culturally relevant without looking at how we can contribute to the Reconciliation process and constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in Australia. 

Hardie Grant joins over 1000 dedicated corporate, government and not-for-profit organisations that have formally committed to reconciliation through the RAP program, which started in 2006. By creating a RAP, the entire Hardie Grant business and its network of agencies commit to: 
  • creating policies that make us look more broadly at the recruitment of First Nations peoples and support the career development of First Nations peoples and their wellbeing within the workplace;
  • building further relationships with First Nations organisations and communities; and
  • deepening the cultural awareness of Hardie Grant staff through training and conversations, so we respect and stay abreast of the ever-refining nuances of Cultural IP.
Hardie Grant recently took a step up in commitment with the endorsement of its Innovate RAP.
   Hardie Grant Reconciliation Action Plan Innovate

Revitalise & Thrive

Post-pandemic we’ve also noticed that our teams are tired – not just physically but mentally. So, our business has introduced Revitalise & Thrive, a months-long program of events and fun social sessions that rejuvenate our teams to feel creatively alive again, as well as Freestyle February where staff were given 1-2 hours off a week to pause and see a friend, do a yoga class, walk on the beach or just read a book. 

We believe our business is a great place to work – when our people are happy and feel valued, the work we do is elevated to new levels.  

Sydney team meet for drinks

Interested in working with us? Take a look at the roles currently available or email me, Sophie Knox (, content and editorial director, to chat about future possibilities. 

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