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If you want to work with any organisation linked to the Government, you’ll need to show that your organisation is about more than doing its job

Why aligning with the Government’s wellbeing agenda will help you win more work – By George Hulbert

Although Covid-19 may well go down in history as the most significant thing to happen to New Zealand this century, for me an even more momentous event occurred on Wednesday 31 January 2018.

This was the day that Jacinda Ardern announced: “We want New Zealand to be the first place in the world where our Budget is not presented simply under the umbrella of pure economic measures, but one that demonstrates the overall wellbeing of our country and its people.”

At the time I thought these words sounded pretty fluffy, but after the subsequent launch of the Wellbeing Budget, Construction Accord, Broader Outcomes, Transformation Plan and the Rebuilding Together Budget, I am now paying full attention, particularly as a person who helps companies to win work through procured channels.

One thread runs through all of the Government’s communication: it is absolutely focused on leveraging wellbeing through its procurement activities throughout Aotearoa.

The Government’s aim is to improve the wellbeing of New Zealanders in ‘everything we do’, seeking ‘partnerships with business’ to improve training and job opportunities for Kiwis, and particularly those who are struggling. Lovely rhetoric, but what does it all mean?

It means this: you need to show that your organisation is about more than doing its job. You need to be a net contributor to NZ Inc in four areas – social, economic, environmental and cultural – if you want to score highly at tender time. We see precise questions on this asked every day in requests for proposals (RFPs) from government ministries, agencies, councils, council bodies, DHBs and more.

In short, being a technical specialist is no longer good enough. How you do your work needs to be considered alongside what you do, and you need to prove, in detail, how your organisation is driving New Zealand forwards socially, culturally, environmentally and economically.

Four tests

The Government is setting specific tests for companies to show that they are more than just good at their job. If you want to work with any organisation linked to the Government, you must be able to demonstrate very specifically – and region by region – what you are doing across these four areas:

1. Socially

Connecting with your people and communities meaningfully, and treating the communities in which you operate as potential future employees who can be upskilled. Providing opportunities for people to understand your world and succeed as part of it.

2. Economically

Working to lift skills and providing opportunities to people who might not normally be able to access them, particularly across Maori and Pasifika communities – you need to show how you are providing and documenting this training.

3. Culturally

Opening up your business to more diversity (cultural, gender, etc). How you are engaging with iwi. Creating ‘cadetship’ programmes to support reskilling and career development opportunities for Maori.

4. Environmentally

Reducing your carbon footprint, emissions, and your waste – within your own operations and in the work you do.

Are you ready to adapt?

The approach is still being rolled out, and the ripples will be felt for a while yet. However, you need to act now. Building and delivering on a legacy of social, economic, cultural and environmental benefit is something you now need to do and show at all times, not just when it’s time to put in an RFP submission. Why? Because RFPs now ask specifically what you are already doing, in every region you are bidding for. Woolly statements of organisational intent do not cut it.

Good news though – you’ll find it’s actually not as difficult as you’d think. At Clarity, we often find that companies are actually doing a lot of it already. So you probably are too.

We can help you find out where you sit on our wellbeing matrix, then help you to evolve and create a simple plan of action. Then you too can take advantage of the opportunities on offer.

George Hulbert is the director of The Clarity Business, experts in creating clear, clever and commercial communication strategies  theclaritybusiness.co.nz

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