Choice Hotels Asia Pacific has been named as one of Australia’s Best Places to work in the 2022 AFR BOSS Best Places to Work list for the second year in a row.
Choice Hotel’s Asia Pac CEO Trent Fraser says it is an honour to represent the accommodation industry in the list two years running and credited the entire team for making Choice Hotel’s a truly great place to work. The prestigious annual list, published by The Australian Financial Review and Boss Magazine, is based on a rigorous assessment process managed by Australia’s leading behavioural science consultancy, Inventium.
“We are honoured to rank #8 on the Retail Hospitality and Entertainment category list, from over 750 nominated organisations across Australia and New Zealand.”
The assessment is made up of a staff survey and a written submission, with questions relating to policies, practices and programs that exist within each organisation to support and get the best out of employees.
“Choice Hotels is proud to be recognised for our achievements and practices our Volunteer Leave program this year.
“This program allows staff to take two additional leave days per year to volunteer in their community. This program has evolved over the last few years and began as a companywide community volunteering program,” says Mr Fraser.
For several years Choice Hotels worked with the Kids Under Cover program, a not-for-profit dedicated to preventing youth homelessness, contributing funds and labour to build studio accommodation in the backyards of in-need families.
“We would have 3 or 4 staff each day over a week helping on site by providing labour across the week of each build. We did everything from putting the structure in place and hammering in nails, to painting and landscaping.
“More recently we have partnered with The Reach Foundation, a 100% youth-led organisation running workshops for young people in schools and the community, supporting them with fundraising initiatives across the group. Our annual fundraising week donates $2 from every room night in a Choice Hotel toward our nominated cause.
Mr Fraser says the Volunteer Day gives the Choice team an opportunity to actively participate in their local communities, giving their time and contributing their skills and talents in ways that are personally meaningful.
“These volunteer days allow each individual staff members to decide how they can best contribute to their community. A lot of them are helping in their children’s classrooms – acting as a teacher aide or going in regularly to do story time, or volunteering at school sporting events. Some of our people help in their local community centres and churches.
“It’s about giving back and allowing our staff to be active and involved in their local communities. There is a mental health component to it as well, and we’ve learnt in the past two years that building and maintaining connections in your local community is really important for mental health.”
“We encourage staff to work together in their volunteer activities and, as we emerge from two years of working from home, we are starting to see groups forming to work together on these days. “
The program is incredibly popular and well received by the Choice staff, with approximately 80 percent of staff taking advantage of the community volunteer days over the past 12 months.
“A lot of staff are using these days to participate in their children’s school activities. It can be a difficult thing for parents working traditional business hours to participate at school.
“We have found that several people have split their volunteer days into half days, allowing them to be more involved in their chosen activity and have some consistency in their volunteering efforts.”
Examples of staff activities
Senior Director, Strategy, Sales & Marketing Kari Hunter (pictured with her son) has used her volunteer days to help at her son’s school, including as a parent helper for their recent colour run.
Sales Coordinator – Corporate, Conference & Meetings – Simone Bahler has used her days to participate in “pack and send” activity for women facing Domestic Violence through Impact for Women.
Simone’s Anglican church St Hilary’s in Kew also runs the Hope Food Drive each year, distributing 15,000-18,000 food items we collect from nine local supermarkets to charities including Doncare, Camcare, Mission House and Salvation Army.
“My husband and I are responsible for the logistic in the sorting centre. It is fun to go to the supermarket, bring all donation to the sorting centre, repack the items, and deliver our donations to the local agencies who look after people in need and fill their food banks with an annual provision of non-perishable food.”
Choice Hotels Revenue Manager Monique Jeffery is president of her school’s parent teacher association. She recently organised an Easter raffle at the school, which raised over $3000 for Caritas – Project Compassion.
Inventium founder Dr Amantha Imber said Inventium has undertaken extensive research into what truly makes a brilliant workplace and it was thrilled to recognise many organisations who are leading the way with innovative practices that drive key elements such as flexibility, wellbeing and equality.
View the full list at https://afrbestplacestowork.com/