At Spark, we want every employee to feel valued, respected and confident to bring their whole self to work. We want to develop a culture that has diversity and inclusion at its heart.
This is reflected in Spark’s purpose: To help all of New Zealand win big in a digital world.
Āwhinatia ngā tāngata katoa o Aotearoa kia matomato te tipu i te ao matihiko
To help all of New Zealand grow, stand strong and thrive in a digital world. It’s also reflected in Spark’s adoption of Agile ways of working, which relies on creating diverse teams that can use their different backgrounds, perspectives, experiences and skills to solve complex customer problems. Collaboration by diverse teams is what creates magic.
Spark’s Blue Heart programme was launched to inspire everyone at Spark to be more inclusive in everything that they do, to celebrate the diversity within the organisation, to ensure that everyone has a voice, and to lead diversity and inclusion ‘from the heart’. This programme operates as an umbrella across a number of focused initiatives at Spark, including:
The Blue Heart Pledge
Spark’s symbol for its diversity and inclusion programme is a blue heart, chosen as a symbol to represent that Spark has a ‘heart-led’ approach to diversity and inclusion. We want to build a ‘blue culture’, where achievement, self-awareness, encouragement and collaboration are tools we use every day. In the world of emojis (the language of mobile), a blue heart means trust, harmony, peace and loyalty.
At last count, about 3,000 Spark people, including all members of the Board and the Leadership Squad, have made a pledge to uphold the values of diversity and inclusion with their own personal commitment.
Celebration of cultural events
Celebrations of significant cultural events are created and led by passionate Spark people. The company provides funding and support for our people to celebrate and share their own culture with the rest of the organisation. Celebrations have been organised by our people, for our people, and now include:
Champions for Change
Spark's CEO, Jolie Hodson and Board Chair, Justine Smyth are members of Champions for Change, a group of New Zealand leaders from across the public and private sectors who are committed to raising awareness about the business value of diversity and inclusion within their organisations, and advocating for progress across all New Zealand workplaces. Champions come together to share challenges, solutions and achievements. As well as spearheading collective initiatives, our two Spark Champions for Change lead specific workstreams that impact significant change within our organisation and across Aotearoa.
EmpowerED and women in leadership
At Spark, diversity in leadership is encouraged at all levels of the organisation. Spark’s Board leads by example by having strong representation of women, and continues to promote women in leadership at Spark. In 2018, Spark launched revised flexible working and parental leave policies to help support women at Spark, and also developed a new remuneration structure to better support pay parity.
Visibility of women in senior roles is encouraged through initiatives like EmpowerED, a platform to unleash the potential of aspirational women at Spark. The series is made up of TED-style talks and panel discussions where women and men at Spark can ask leaders the hard questions, as well as provide opportunities for mentorship and networking.
Spark celebrated International Women’s Day in 2018 by inviting inspirational New Zealand women to share their stories and insights at offices in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch.
In 2017, Spark was the first company in New Zealand’s telecommunications sector to achieve the Rainbow Tick certification, which it has maintained. It also made a commitment to be an active and supportive member, and an ally of the Rainbow Community both internally and externally.
The 2018 #thankstoyou campaign was an opportunity to demonstrate that commitment, both to Spark employees and to the rest of New Zealand. It acknowledged the historic efforts of individuals and organisations within the Rainbow Community, which mean younger generations can now grow up in a country that is more accepting, loving and respectful. It included the creation of a video, which went viral across New Zealand, and the announcement of a three-year strategic partnership with OUTLine. OUTLine is a confidential telephone support and face-to-face counselling service available to the LGBTQI+ community and their families and friends.
Implementing Tikanga and kawa in the workplace
Spark’s vision for our Māori strategy is kanohi kitea – for our people to be seen, connected and empowered. Our mission is to become trusted advisors, enabling intergenerational digital solutions through amazing technology.
Our purpose is Āwhinatia ngā tāngata katoa o Aotearoa kia matomato te tipu i te ao matihiko: To help all of New Zealand grow, stand strong and thrive in a digital world.
Spark is building a relationship with the Māori community to effect change and become a driver for cultural, economic and social growth through meaningful partnerships and digital platforms – and we’re proud of the progress made so far.