Over the past two years, Australian businesses have challenged the status quo to ensure their employees thrive in unprecedented times.
Offering flexible remote work options and strategies to improve employee wellbeing have been key to helping businesses succeed.
More recently, employees have now also faced the increased cost of living and challenges brought on by COVID19 and natural disaster events.
Premium Timber flooring brand Havwoods, is one business that has reinforced its employee support initiatives by announcing a cost-of-living bonus through the business. The company offered a substantial bonus to every member of its national team at the end of the 2021/22 financial year.
Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures household inflation, rose by 2.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2022 and 5.1 per cent annually.
According to SBS Australia, the quarterly and annual increases are the largest since the introduction of the GST more than 20 years ago. Increasing costs put more pressure on families and individuals to manage the necessary costs of living, such as petrol, mortgages or rent, and groceries.
Whilst individuals are finding their way to tackle this issue on their own, some Hunter companies are shifting their approach to provide additional support to employees during their time of need.
The bonus Havwoods team provided was in addition to the business’ existing remuneration strategies and wasn’t planned or budgeted for, but proritised as a means of demonstrating the business’ support to employees facing the broader economic challenges.
Managing Director of Havwoods APAC, Megan Pyziakos said their staff are an essential pillar to enable their business and supporting them has always been a fundamental priority.
“It’s important we acknowledge the current economic climate impacts,” Megan said.
“Havwoods relies upon our people, as do all businesses, and it’s imperative we support our team to navigate through these head winds.”
Havwoods Australia is a family-owned business that was founded in the Hunter region as Select Timbers. In 2010 they joined forces with Havwoods International, a well-known and established brand in the UK and have since expanded their team of employees into Sydney, Melbourne and soon to be Brisbane.
“The culture of Havwoods is an extension of the engrained family values that have been nurtured by the management team since inception,” Megan said.
“It’s imperative that wellbeing in the workplace ensures our people feel valued, appreciated and acknowledged.”
Staff were overwhelmed by the generosity of their management team, including Residential Sector Leader, Hayden, who recently welcomed a new baby to his family.
“The cost-of-living bonus was certainly unexpected and very welcomed. It gave me further assurance of the great company I work for, and certainly portrayed their attitude of care towards all the staff,” Hayden said.
“With increased costs of everyday items including food, fuel, electricity and general consumables, it certainly has had a significant impact on us.”
Megan said it wasn’t a difficult decision to offer the bonus, as it was the least they could do for their staff who were continuing to go above and beyond to deliver the same quality of service during the difficult period.
“Our team works hard to deliver a superior level of service for our clients and hold themselves and their work to a high standard,” Megan said.
“We wanted to recognise the value our team deliver to the business and the integral part of our culture each and everyone plays.
“This bonus is reflective of our gratitude to the team, and we hope it can relieve some pressures and go towards something special for them all.”
Havwoods Australia’s story is one of evolving employee reward practices born out of a crisis that demonstrates businesses need to adjust and continue to prosper.
IMAGE | Team members from Havwoods Newcastle. Photography by Atelier Photography.
Havwoods Australia is a family-owned business that specialises in engineered wood flooring, cladding, joinery, and composite decking. In Australia, the Hickson family started the then Select Timbers company 45 years ago from their home in the Hunter.
In 2010, they joined forces with Havwoods International, a well-known and established brand in the UK. Together the families from the UK and Australia have built a global brand across the UK, AUS and North America, with multiple export partners worldwide.