This article appeared in HRDaily.com.au on 8 October 2020.
A strong focus on wellbeing has provided a safe space for employees to share personal stories at Specialised Therapeutics Australia (STA), which has today been named an employer of choice in the Australian Business Awards.
STA launched a light-hearted, monthly wellbeing newsletter prior to COVID-19, but made it a weekly event during the pandemic, after human resources manager Kate De Carolis "kickstarted" the inclusion of personal stories.
"It's been outstanding, the amount that people are willing to share in those personal stories, and I think COVID has really enabled that to happen," she says.
"People are constantly looking for that connection."
De Carolis says employees now feel comfortable to contribute to the newsletter with their own stories – sometimes deeply personal and vulnerable – creating a virtual support network for employees.
While the newsletter is a standout feature that De Carolis says has made a difference during COVID-19, she notes that STA offers employees a range of benefits that boost its employer value proposition, including a full health insurance allowance for employees and their immediate family members; company days off between Christmas and New Year in addition to annual leave; birthday leave; and a new program called "WEAK" (Weekend Afternoon Kickstart), allowing employees to finish work early on one Friday each month.
"All those little things we provide... really builds up to an environment where people enjoy coming to work," De Carolis says.