ACT Healthier Work Speech

We were so proud and honoured to be asked by ACT Healthier Work to speak at their breakfast event about all the healthier work initiatives we have implemented since starting our journey with them two years ago. We are striving to change the typical “IT stereotype” and provide our team with not only a healthy work environment but also a healthy lifestyle. Here is the speech that Jess Scanes our Marketing and HR Manager presented at the ACT Healthier Work Breakfast. 

Netier is derived from the French word metier, meaning the type of work you have a natural calling for. We have a built a team who consistently strive to further their experiences and knowledge to provide high quality services to all our clients.

In the last 18 months we have grown from a team of 8 to a team of 26, with two offices in Canberra and another office in Brisbane. As we have grown so has our focus on providing a healthy work environment.

As you’re probably already aware, IT people are known for working long hours, sitting at their desk for long periods at a time, being night owls and dealing with high pressured situations. Our team deal with issues daily, because the IT team are usually called when something breaks and it is our job to fix it. Our team are what makes netier the business it is today. We’ve had situations where something has happened on a Saturday and the team have just made their way into work without even being asked just to check on the rest of the team. Our team have a sense of pride not only towards their own work but also towards our business goals and achievements. They also take great pride in our clients achievements and feeling a part of their team.

At netier we are striving to change that “IT stereotype” and provide our team with not only a healthy work environment but also a healthy lifestyle. When I first started at netier, a huge part of my role was Marketing our culture to assist with attracting new staff to our team. This then naturally turned into helping build that culture by taking on HR responsibilities. This has been extremely rewarding not only watching the team and business grow but also watching individuals grow in their careers.

When we hire people we look for those striving for more and seeking a healthy work life balance. A lot of the time we hear, “I’m moving on due to long hours, feeling under appreciated and not being given the opportunities to further in their career.” My focus has been to provide our team with a place they WANT to come to work every day, a place that supports them in their career ventures and a place where flexible working hours, getting out of the office at lunch, participating in sporting activities and a collaborative and supportive culture is encouraged. We want people to want to work for us!

Since joining ACT Healthier Work two years ago we have implemented various steps to provide our team with a positive and healthy work life balance. Firstly, I’ll start with the fun stuff!

Every month we do team events. We’ve done things such as rock climbing, bubble soccer, archery warz, escape rooms, cooking classes, lawn bowls, frisbee golf, go karting, obstacle hell, the comedy gala…and the list goes on! What’s even more exciting is the team now look for fun things to do and come to me with ideas.

This year we started the Netier Games! This includes every other month participating as a team in a variety of sports events. The team are split into two teams and whoever wins the most points at the end of the year will win the Netier Cup! So far, we have done a Tennis Tournament and looking forward to a game of tennis after a long day of work was very enjoyable to say the least. This has been great for people who don’t usually participate in sports activities as it’s in an encouraging and rewarding space where they feel safe to try out new sports.

Other areas of a physically healthy work environment that we offer are: free gym membership at Eighty 8 fitness, promote taking the stairs rather than the lift, doing walking meetings and we also provide drink bottles to promote hydration.

Creating a physically active environment has become embedded in the culture of our organisation. Providing a positive organisational culture is essential to our teams overall performance and by encouraging our team to get up and move throughout the day, get their steps up and to get involved in physical activity before, during or after work has become a routine and culture within netier.

For nutritional health, we have done a nutrition workshop with a Dietician, provided a platform on our system for the team to share healthy recipes and always try to choose healthy options when going out for team lunches or when getting catering in. We’ve been lucky to find amazing local catering companies such as Nibble and Nourish, Woodhouse and Two Before Ten. An amazing event we did last year was a cooking class, which I would highly recommend! We will be doing this again this year as we have a lot of people in our team who aren’t born chefs…myself included…so these classes were a huge hit!

We have a huge focus on community at netier, and for our social and emotional wellbeing health we promoted and encouraged employees to participate in community events. Aside from attending charity balls and events we also participated in the community runs in Canberra. When we started we had about five people doing the runs, we’ve now tripled to 15 employees doing the runs and those who started on 5k are now doing 10k, those that started on 10k are now doing half marathons. Better yet, the team have even created their own soccer team outside of work and entered themselves into runs not in the team calendar. This shows that being a part of ACT Healthier Work has had a positive impact not only in the workplace but also for our team outside of work and in their lives.

We believe that being able to give back to the community is important. Last year we did the Meals from the hearts with Ronald McDonald House. Bringing a smile to those families faces is something we will cherish forever, and we can’t wait to go back and visit them again this year.

A few weeks ago, we did the Worlds Greatest Shave and raised over $3000. Three people completely shaved off all their hair, we had a few beard trims and our Brisbane team dyed their hair pink, blue and green.

Our team also find it immensely rewarding and a privilege to provide support to our community organisations such as Canberra Youth Theatre, Pegasus, Stella Bella Children Centre and TedXCanberra. We also support the Netier National Capital Rally and local rally driver Harry Bates. Community events create a sense of connectedness within our team. It provides a positive and sense of collaboration that we are all working together in something meaningful with purpose. We believe this is essential in maintaining a positive mental health and wellbeing within the workplace.

When we started this journey we never had people openly coming to us to take mental health days for themselves or look after their family. Now this is a regular occurrence which demonstrates not only a policy change but a culture change. This hasn’t increased the number of sick days but it’s helped us known when our staff are stressed or dealing with a lot in their personal life. We have over 90% staff retention since 2009, even through rapid growth over the last two years, and we truly believe this is due to our culture. Happy staff are always more productive and this provides our clients with a better outcome as well.

At netier we are continually striving to create a happy and healthy workplace that people want to be a part of. Some of our recruitment marketing slogans have been around Imaging a positive and passionate workplace or Imagine a place where you can see your future beginning. At netier we want to provide our team with what they always imagined and wanted a work place to be – supportive, connected and passionate.