Retention is a strong point for Ravensdown

Tracey Paterson, General Manager of HR

Ravensdown is the largest supplier of fertiliser in New Zealand. The company prides itself on helping things to thrive, including employee loyalty and productivity.

'Positively thriving' is Ravensdown's recruitment and career brand. From this platform, the company demonstrates a commitment to staff welfare that goes further than most. Employee benefits at Ravensdown include a clothing allowance, discounted computer software and mobile phone services, superannuation and 50kg of free fertiliser every year. But many employees think the most significant 'value add' for them is fully subsidised Southern Cross health insurance.

"Our people don't have to sit at work for months worrying while they wait for the public system to treat them," says Tracey Paterson, General Manager of Human Resources at Ravensdown.

Tracey also reports that while Southern Cross is regarded as nice by candidates when the company is recruiting new people, it has much more power as a retention tool.

"Our people are used to being looked after. For full-time employees, cover extends to partners and children - that's a benefit you don't give up lightly."

Quick treatment when it really matters

For several Ravensdown people, having quick access to treatment through Southern Cross has been potentially life saving. For example, when one employee needed radiation treatment for cancer he didn't have to wait.

"For him it just made the situation so much easier," explains Tracey. "And our Southern Cross account manager stayed in touch with him. Ravensdown's contact with Southern Cross isn't just transactional - we have a real relationship."

Wellness is catching on

With more than 600 employees throughout New Zealand, Queensland and Western Australia, Ravensdown's management finds it challenging to run a wellness programme that treats everybody equally.

"Trying to find something that works for everyone isn't easy," says Tracey. "We watch the Southern Cross wellness initiatives with interest, looking for ideas that could be used here."

Wellness initiatives deployed at Ravensdown so far include flu jabs for all employees, water coolers in all buildings and 'Fruit Fridays', on which people tuck into a delicious selection of fresh fruit for free.

Ravensdown also has health and safety committees throughout the business. Currently two sites are running their version of 'The Biggest Loser', to help employees get into better shape.

Another wellness benefit that works for everyone is the regular Southern Cross member mailing, which includes health information and discount vouchers. Tracey remarked that a recent voucher for a pedometer was popular with Ravensdown's people.

Simplicity works for Ravensdown

Ravensdown has had a Southern Cross work scheme for many years, so they've got administration down to a fine art. When a new person joins the company, he or she gets a sign-up visit from a Southern Cross consultant. Benefits are explained and the newly signed member gets essential information about what's covered and how to claim.

With subsidised health insurance looking after full-time employees and their families, as well as part-timers who work more than 20 hours a week, Ravensdown is well equipped to live up to their 'positively thriving' brand.

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