Ballance introduces new Diversity and Inclusion policies

Ballance introduces new Diversity and Inclusion policies, building on its previous leadership in safety and wellbeing.

As a farmer and grower co-operative, Ballance Agri-Nutrients has been instrumental in contributing to New Zealand's position as a leading global producer of premium sustainable food and fibre. The company has consistently demonstrated a commitment to caring for its people.

Ballance is committed to fostering a human centred (humanistic) culture that supports its people to achieve their best and make meaningful contributions to their customers and communities. The team is spread throughout New Zealand with the corporate office in Mount Maunganui, working in various roles ranging from nutrient specialists and loader drivers to IT project managers and scientists. As Ballance serves a diverse customer base, the company recognises the importance of understanding its employees' motivations and challenges to attract and retain talented individuals.

Four years Ballance was awarded the Employee Experience Initiative of the Year Award at the Humankind Employee Experience (EX) Awards for its bespoke leading Health, Safety, and Wellbeing program that recognises the importance of wellbeing. This program now forms the backbone of Ballance's culture, with all team members completing the two-day program to foster inclusivity and an open, supportive environment. 

“We believe you can lead from any seat at Ballance, and we encourage our team members to do just that,” says Mark Wynne, Ballance CEO.  

Every two years, the Co-operative invites all 800 staff to input into the organisational strategy - a strategy that is built from the ground up. More than 85% of the team attended one of 30 events this year, run from Invercargill to Whangarei.

"Ensuring our people share and understand our ambition, are connected to our strategy and feel and see their importance and role to play is key to being a purpose-led organisation," says Mark. 

"At Ballance, we strive to live up to the standards of purpose-led and humanistic organisations. We recognise that parental leave decisions are deeply personal and should be left to the family unit. We are committed to continually improving our support for returning parents to ensure positive outcomes for both the individual and the company.”

That is why we are pleased to announce three updates to our Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Policy framework, effective from June 1, 2023.  

Our updated policies reflect our commitment to cultivating a diverse and inclusive work environment, promoting well-being and work-life balance, and supporting our employees in their personal and professional lives.

Ballance’s Parental Leave Policy has been revamped to provide gender neutral leave benefits well above standard legislative requirements for expecting parents, enabling families to make the best choices for them. Ballance employees taking parental leave will receive a full salary top-up for the entire primary carer leave period of 26 weeks.

Other benefits of the Ballance Parental Leave Policy include two weeks of paid leave for secondary carers, a 3% Kiwisaver contribution for the first 26 weeks, ongoing full employee insurance benefits, an "ease back to work" approach with 30 hours at full-time pay for the first month, and annual leave accrued to full value upon returning to work.

“We know just how important parental leave is in each parent's life, which is why we've made these changes that we hope more appropriately support our Ballance family members."

The D&I and Flexible Working Policies have also been updated, emphasising Ballance’s commitment to its 'Great People' vision. The Flexible Working Policy updates encourage ways of working that promote employee wellbeing and family-friendly needs.

“We continue to put in the mahi to ensure that we truly embrace inclusivity and understanding of many perspectives. These new policies are our way to be part of the change we wish to see in the world” says Mark.