Building a balanced culture

We want our people to feel they belong

In a year that tested our people, engagement held up very well. However, we’re not making the progress we’d like on gender diversity.

It’s a sign of our commitment to our team that, on the eve of lockdown, Neal Barclay told all staff that no-one would lose their job because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Neal’s commitment recognised the impacts on people and the business of what was happening and the need to help people to get through. That commitment played out in how our teams took it upon themselves to support the business and customers.

Strong engagement across the Group

Engagement scores across Meridian, Powershop and our Australian companies increased to 85%, which was a fantastic result and above the Global Top 25% of 78% and the New Zealand Top 25% of 77%.

Employee Engagement *

Employee engagement chart
NZ Top 25% Global Top 25% Meridian Australia *** Powershop NZ Meridian NZ **
Employee engagement chart
Meridian NZ ** Powershop NZ Meridian Australia *** Global Top 25%

* Engagement measures enthusiasm, commitment and the connection employees have with the organization. Up until 2017 Meridian used the IBMKenexa engagement survey. From 2018 Meridian has been using the Culture Amp engagement survey – which has slightly different questions. Flux is not included in FY20 as different methodology was used and the data is not comparable.
** From FY19 onwards Powershop NZ is reported as part of Meridian NZ.
*** Includes Meridian Australia, Powershop AU and the Powershop call centre in Masterton is reported as part of our Australian engagement numbers.
**** FY16 measured engagement for Meridian NZ and Powershop Australia only.

Commitment to belonging and flexibility

In FY20 the Meridian parent company evolved our diversity and inclusion approach to introduce and promulgate the sense of ‘belonging’. We want our people to feel they belong here, that they’re empowered, included and accepted. To foster this, we established a Belonging steering group to advance and mature these ideas. Importantly the group is made up of people from across the business; they’ve developed a strategy and are leading work on five priorities (inclusion & respect, gender balance, workplace flexibility, improving accessibility and ethnic diversity). They’re supported by our CEO Neal Barclay and our General Manager Generation & Natural Resources Guy Waipara. The success of this group will be measured through an uplift in our engagement survey with a particular focus on the “I feel comfortable when I bring my whole self to work” response.

While we’ve been building greater flexibility into our working style across the whole business for some time, the COVID-19 pandemic has added new urgency to supporting our people to work in diverse environments and ensuring they had the support they needed to excel. So, for example, we incorporated new ways of learning into our professional development programmes to enable people to do this better from home.

Our Flexperiment project has encouraged people to think about our values of being gutsy, good humans and in the waka, and asked them to examine a range of common flexible working scenarios to see which ones they might like to experiment with. We are hoping through this project to lock in some of the best aspects of being in lockdown – not needing to travel to work, having more connection to our families, reducing our carbon footprints – while continuing to build our culture and sense of human connection to each other and with our suppliers. We're also hopeful that this increased flexibility will mean that we are able to retain expertise for longer.

Supporting inclusion and mental health in many forms

It’s important to us to make sure we have the right skill mix, incorporating different viewpoints, backgrounds and languages into our culture, and ensuring that our make-up reflects a healthy gender balance, and the changing ethnic make-up of our countries and the markets in which we compete. In New Zealand we continue to train our people in tikanga and the proper pronunciation of te reo, because protocols and language are highly important ways of connecting with our stakeholders and form key expressions of respect. We also encourage our people to explore the many other cultures that are part of our workforce.

Society's ideas around gender are evolving. Understanding and incorporating these ideas enables us to be an employer of choice. One way we’re doing this is to respect the identities and pronouns of our staff, contractors and customers. Much of the information surrounding gender identity and expression is new to many people and we believe that treating people with respect and compassion, regardless of how they choose to identify, is core to Meridian’s values.

We acknowledge that men in New Zealand suffer high rates of depression and suicide and we’re committed to combatting this through communication and community. We want everyone to feel that they can bring their whole selves to work in an environment that respects them and reach out if they need help. Our Healthy Minds programme is about to launch its second evolution.

Talent comes in all different shapes and sizes and we believe in success because of, not in spite of, that diversity.

The Board believes that for this reporting period Meridian has made progress towards achieving its inclusiveness and diversity objectives as reported in this integrated Report. Initiatives under its new Belonging Policy will guide further inclusivity.

Gender balance remains a work in progress

Diversity by gender (headcount)

Diversity by gender chart Diversity by gender chart
Male Female

* Includes Dam Safety Intelligence
** Includes Flux-UK staff
*** Includes AU CEO

Women remain underrepresented in the engineering parts of our business, and in leadership and senior-level roles throughout the business. Currently 34.3% of our staff in people leadership and senior specialist positions below Executive Team level are women, against a target of 40% by year-end 2020.

Female representation FY17 FY18 FY19 FY20
Female share of total workforce (%) 41.8% 45.3% 46.2%
Females on the Board 25.0% 28.6% 50.0%
Females in management positions (as % of total management workforce) 33.6% 37.2% 37.4%
Females in junior management positions, i.e. first level of management (as % of total junior management positions) 36.3% 40.8% 40.0%
Females in top management positions, i.e. maximum two levels away from the CEO or comparable positions (as a % total top management positions) 30.7% 33.6% 34.38
Females in management positions in revenue-generating functions (e.g. sales), as a % of all such managers (i.e. excluding support functions such as HR, IT, Legal, etc.) 29.4% 33.7% 34.0%
Percentage of women in senior roles at 30 June* 33.5% 32.8% 35.2% 34.3%

* Parent company only, women in people leadership and senior specialist roles, excluding the Executive Team. FY17 and FY18 figures has been restated to the correct values of 33.5% and 32.8% respectively.

Pay equity is also important to us. We’re committed to achieving pay equity for all employees in similarly sized roles and with similar skills, experience and accountabilities. In FY20 the average level of gender pay equity was similar to that in FY19 (96.3 compared with 96.8). A small deterioration in pay equity at the higher-pay-band groupings is due to turnover and promotions at this level and the recent acquisition of key technical expertise for one of our subsidiaries.

The average salary for men across the organisation remains higher than the average salary for women, as there are still more men than women at senior levels. However, pleasingly in FY20 there was a good increase in the proportion of females at mid-senior levels.

Group % Ratio Female salary to Male salary

by Salary Band* FY18 FY19** FY20
K-L 93.0% 91.5% 89.9%
I-J 97.4% 98.1% 95.8%
G-H 99.1% 95.4% 96.1%
E-F 96.1% 99.2% 98.3%
C-D 103.9% 96.9% 97.9%
A-B 100.0% 99.7% 99.0%
Average of averages 98.3% 96.8% 96.3%

* K & L are our highest salary bands and A & B are our lowest
** FY19 data restated for Salary Band A-B and C-D

Percentage of women by salary band

by Salary Band* FY18 FY19** FY20
K-L 16.7% 18.5% 24.1%
I-J 28.6% 27.0% 32.0%
G-H 31.2% 30.8% 32.9%
E-F 43.7% 43.2% 43.3%
C-D 54.7% 59.7% 55.4%
A-B 65.4% 61.6% 70.8%
Average of averages 40.1% 40.1% 43.1%

* K & L are our highest salary bands and A & B are our lowest
** FY19 data restated for Salary Band A-B and C-D