Founded over 100 years ago, Weleda is a company with a passionate commitment to its values. Holistic health, sustainability, responsibility and trust – these are what drives the global Weleda brand, including Weleda New Zealand. Based in Hawkes Bay, Weleda makes its remedies from scratch. They farm the ingredients biodynamically, formulate and process them, package them up, and distribute them around New Zealand and internationally.
Around 13 years ago, the Weleda leadership team wanted to do more to support the health and wellbeing of the company’s 50 employees. They came up with plenty of ideas, but none of them felt right, until they considered one employee who had been struggling with a painful health condition. That employee was on a waitlist for surgery, but in the meantime was in considerable physical and mental distress.
"That was the origin for choosing to offer health insurance," says Fred Dryburgh, CEO. "We all felt bad for this employee, and we thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great for anyone to be able to get help when they need it?’"
The senior team at Weleda looked around at the various providers and decided to go with Southern Cross Health Insurance.
"What appealed to us was not only that it was well-established and well-known, but also that it is a non-profit organisation. That was big for us – operating in an ethical way is an important value for us, so Southern Cross was a good fit."
Innovations have proved valuable for the Weleda team
After a relationship spanning more than a decade, there has been plenty of positive feedback about Southern Cross Health Insurance from the Weleda team. Employees comment on what a relief it is to get treatment for a condition rapidly, and the peace of mind it gives them to have quick access to advice and care.
"I’ve had staff talk to me about their condition and the speed of their treatment and say, ‘It’s great to know it’s all in hand’," Fred explains. "Southern Cross Health Insurance gives them that level of reassurance."
Many have also extended their cover to include their children and partners, including Fred, who found one new service particularly helpful in the Christmas holidays. A member of his family was feeling unwell and none of the local GPs were available for a consultation. He was able to use CareHQ, an online GP consultation service which members can access through the My Southern Cross app at a discounted rate. If GP consultations are included in their plan, they can also make a claim for the cost of the consultation.
"The innovations they’ve made over the last couple of years have been really quite helpful. They make it a lot easier to interact for our people to use the services. For example, we’ve actively used the mental wellbeing resources on the BeingWell Plus Hub and they’ve been excellent, particularly during the pandemic when some staff were working remotely. Southern Cross was putting out really useful information, and we were able to leverage off that and use it to support our staff to stay positive and practice good mental health habits."
A resounding ‘yes’ from the team
For Weleda, the cost of Southern Cross Health Insurance is an investment in their people. A few years ago, the leadership team was reviewing its various outgoings and decided to check in with staff to get their feedback on some, including whether they felt that continuing their Southern Cross Health Insurance cover was worthwhile.
"My feeling was yes, it was worthwhile, but I wanted to check with everyone else," says Fred. "The resounding response was ‘Yes, let’s stick with it.’ The feedback is that they really value having that insurance there. Each year we get a report from Southern Cross of what’s happened overall for our business, so that also helps us see the value that the staff get from it."
Including health insurance as part of Weleda’s employment package has also been a selling point when the company has been recruiting. "When we mention Southern Cross Health Insurance, I can see people’s eyes light up, and they say, ‘Wow, that’s great, that would be wonderful’," says Fred.
"It’s one extra element for us, in addition to Weleda being a great place to work. We really push that work-life balance; we don’t just say it, we mean it. Flexibility and caring for each other are embedded in the way we operate. When you put it all together, it does help explain why we have quite low turnover – and even previous staff members coming back to work for us again, which is nice!"
Overall, says Fred, it’s important for everyone at Weleda to enjoy a good quality of life and take care of themselves and their families. Southern Cross Health Insurance is one of the ways Weleda takes care of its people and protects their wellbeing, and Fred believes the outcomes make the investment worthwhile.
"We really appreciate the partnership with Southern Cross and we believe that it fits with our values."