Three of Kiwibank’s key team leaders in Hastings jumped at the opportunity to relocate from Wellington when the bank set up a contact and banking centre in Hastings.
Motivating factors were the lure of Hawke’s Bay’s good weather and lifestyle, along with the chance to be part of something new. A fourth member had already been lured to Hawke’s Bay from Wellington and re-joined Kiwibank. They are united in their praise for the city. More importantly, they jointly compliment their new Kiwibank recruits for their work ethic. “New staff are passionate and we’ve had great support from customers,” says Lynette O’Riley, Kiwibank’s Hawke’s Bay Regional Office Site Manager. “They’re grateful and thankful for a decent job and they really want to work hard for customers, it makes for an amazing working environment,” says Amy Hazlitt, Team Leader Customer Service Experience. Amy was initially responsible for training and up-skilling the contact centre new recruits, designing and delivering new learning programmes and embedding the Kiwibank culture, however she now leads a team in the contact centre. “They have a good level of life experience which makes it easier for them to have empathy with customers. That’s a huge plus. It blew me away how appreciative they are working at Kiwibank. They’re a great bunch.” Team Leader Natalie Hurley, was looking to build a team of people who could get on and work well with others and have a pleasant, positive personality. They needed to be able to understand what our customers are experiencing, from changing addresses to organising one-off transfers for house deposits. She found no problem recruiting great employees to supplement the experience of those who relocated from Wellington. Each of these four Kiwibank employees had different personal reasons for relocating to Hawke’s Bay but a common thread was the quest for an improved lifestyle. Lynette has been heading up contact centres for nine years, eight of them for Kiwibank. In Wellington, she was used to working with up to 300 staff around her. “I was keen on the opportunity to relocate and set up a new team. But it was a big move and the decision wasn’t taken lightly.” She had children, grandchildren and friends in Wellington but the pull to Hastings won out. “It is a great opportunity to build something new from scratch but it was also the weather. It’s the closest you can get to Australia’s Gold Coast and the golden sands of the beaches. And it’s warm when you go outside at lunchtime.” One daughter and three grandchildren have now also shifted to Hastings. The kids are loving their new school, St Mary’s, which is a small catholic school of around 270 children. Lynette and husband Steve have bought a new home near Napier. It takes about 20 minutes to drive to work. “I love the drive in. I see cows and sheep, not cars side by side and there’s no road rage.”
Natalie Hurley was working in Niue, on secondment from Kiwibank, when she heard Kiwibank was setting up in Hastings. She immediately put up her hand. When she arrived in Hastings, she house sat while looking for a suitable rental property. “There is plenty of rental variety and you get time to look through a property before deciding if it suits – unlike Wellington where it’s competitive and you’ve got to make a decision on the spot.” I liked all the houses I looked at and you get fair value for your money.” Kiwibank got flooded with applicants. “That was the unknown,” says Amy. “We needed people with life-skills and different ages and we’ve got a great team of people who are keen to learn and to develop.” The proof, they say, is in the pudding. The Hastings Kiwibank team is definitely proof that the city is ideal for contact and business processing centres:
- Many are mums returning to work.
- Some had followed a partner to Hawke’s Bay and were looking for work.
- Some who relocated from Wellington did so because this was their hometown.
- They take pride in what they do and have a great customer service culture.
- The quality of candidates was high. The tight job market meant Kiwibank could be selective.
Service Excellence Manager Richard Wiley, emphasises that other companies following Kiwibank’s lead need to create an interview and recruitment process that is tailored to the Hawke’s Bay workforce recognising that:
- Many of the applicants may be new mothers returning to work or seeking a job because their children have started school or left home.
- There are small town differences, a different dynamic, to major centres.
- Work standards are the same but Hawke’s Bay people are more relaxed and have a relaxed attitude.
- They’re not typical part-timers. Their jobs are important to them so there is going to be a much lower churn rate. They’re loyal.
- They want solid jobs to support their families.