Just for the health of it – enhancing the wellbeing of employees in the post harvest-kiwifruit industry.

Executive Summary

This report explores ways that wellbeing can be enhanced in the postharvest kiwifruit sector. The kiwifruit industry has expanded substantially over the last few years and is expected to continue with exponential growth. It is more important than ever to focus on the wellbeing of employees to ensure that the industry can fulfil its potential.

Wellbeing is linked to many positive business aspects, including engaged staff, reduced absenteeism, and higher productivity. Employees are faced with the reality of various job and life demands daily.

Additionally, the kiwifruit harvest season from March to June each year see these demands escalated with increased workloads and longer work hours. Employees may experience compromised wellbeing, becoming burnout risks if these demands aren’t balanced out with job resources and personal resources.

The main findings include:

  • Leaders of the industry interviewed believed that the seasonal demands were the biggest barrier to enhancing wellbeing, resulting in significant impacts to work life balance.
  • The conceptual framework called The Job Demands Resources Model can be used to predict and enhance wellbeing. It considers the balance between energy in and out energy out for an employee to have optimised wellbeing. If it is unbalanced a health impairment process can be expected.
  • The culture of the organisation is what drives the wellbeing of the staff.
  • Using a transformational leadership style is the most conducive style for wellbeing. More training and development of leaders and managers is required amongst the industry.
  • Succession planning is important for keeping job descriptions within a reasonable scope for individuals. Along with future proofing the business, it also fosters engagement and development opportunities for employees.
  • Utilizing flexible work options helps to create better worklife balance and is linked to happier and healthier staff.
  • Quarterly engagement surveys help to inform management about employee wellbeing. This could be of help for the kiwifruit industry where work demands vary throughout the year.
  • Wellbeing programmes can be used to educate employees around wellbeing and lifestyle habits; however staff must first be engaged for this to be of use.

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