Think You’re A Hotshot Employer? Not Compared To These B&T Awards Finalists

Think You’re A Hotshot Employer? Not Compared To These B&T Awards Finalists

In today’s edition of B&T Awards finalists showcase, we’re looking at the top gun candidates in the running to win Employer of the Year with under 100 staff, and we’ve got a peek at FIVE of them.

With the Awards just mere weeks away, and tickets literally running out the door (seriously, we can’t catch them), we’re gearing up for one hell of a night, with good food, booze, frocks, suits, music, and a gathering of our closest 800 friends.

Tomorrow is also the final day to enter the People’s Choice awards if you haven’t voted already, and it’s seriously heating up. VOTE HERE!

Now, let us bask in the fantastic employment glory that is Gemba, AOL, CarAdvice, Hardhat and Klick Communications.


When you boil it down, everyone wants the same thing. A job where you are respected, challenged, encouraged to have fun and well paid. The hard bit is delivering it.

As the authority in sport and entertainment, we take our People & Culture cues from these industries. Like writing a great song or building a winning game plan, you need structure and creativity, process and art, doing the obvious and an element of surprise.

We believe that commitment to People starts when we are hiring. Respect People’s time, be transparent with the next steps, answer every question. And if you go deep into the process, a bottle of wine and a commitment to stay in touch.

For those who join Gemba it is straight into the Dojo, our Learning & Development program. A thorough induction process to ensure you know how the business works. Customised development plans that encompass both internal and external training programs.

And for high performers, trips to sport and entertainment events to capture more knowledge for the business. Last year it was the Rugby World Cup. This year it is the Sundance Film Festival.

We won’t kid you. You will work hard at Gemba. So we try to balance your work and personal life as best as we can. Time in Lieu, flexible working hours, a weekend away with your partner paid for by Gemba. And if the company is winning, so do you. We have a generous Bonus system that encompasses the entire team.

So how do we keep ourselves honest on this stuff? Well we measure it. 90 per cent of our team say they are proud to work at Gemba and 70 per cent want to work at Gemba for a long time.

Don’t take our word for it. Ask these guys.


We believe that the greatest technology solutions are powered by a talented and dedicated team of humans. This sentiment permeates all of our people functions – from recruitment to building a healthy and dynamic environment where our AOLers can thrive.

Our strategy allows us to cast the net wider and take the pressure off the hiring process. Our approach is sustainable and respectful of our clients. In 2016, we focused on recruitment by reputation and word-of-mouth with 100 per cent of our new starters joining AOL as a result of word-of-mouth recruitment.

Cultural contribution through varied experience backgrounds is also encouraged and our non-discriminatory recruitment policy has created a team where diversity flourishes!

Spanning a range of two decades, our average age is 31 and 56 per cent of us are women. Together, we represent fourteen nationalities and speak ten languages.

A key tenant of our workplace culture is to promote workplace autonomy based on trust; we have a tacit understanding that a little play goes a long way to producing great work. Our flexible working arrangements promote work-life balance and we also engage in numerous team philanthropic activities such as our global company program Monster Help Day and our new #DeskAID initiative for sharing our office space and expertise with not-for-profit startups.

Curiosity is in our DNA, driving our thirst for knowledge, innovation and emphasis on reverse mentorship. We enjoy regular product training, career development days and take turns leading breakfast sessions to present on a topic we’re passionate about.

In a fast paced and constantly changing industry, AOL is a unique example of a consistently strong culture where its employees are its most valuable asset.


We are passionate about cars. We love to drive them, discuss them, write about them, film them and rate them. We’re here to help new car buyers find the car that’s right for them and we have fun while we do it.

This defines our approach to developing our teams, training and retention – we foster an environment that makes achieving the goals above an absolute priority.

Our retention rates are exceptional and not just because of the perks which range from inside access to test drives, news, and information about the latest cars, international events and launches, team and client off-sites, and advanced driver training.

We have a personal trainer twice a week Tuesday, run club, stand up desks, weekly pet days in the office, a mandatory monthly early mark and team lunch, and monthly peer-nominated awards.

We support a number of charities and all staff are entitled to one bonus day for their own chosen charity work.

Non-negotiable is a clearly articulated diversity policy, and a family first policy – 18 weeks’ paid maternity leave on top of any paid government leave, and 2 weeks’ fully paid paternity leave, with flexible work hours to support family requirements.

Then there’s an individual’s professional development and opportunity: Jin’s longevity in the business and passion for digital and connecting business units fashioned a new senior datadriven marketing role. Mandy’s passion is radio, so we successfully created a world-class radio product.

An employee satisfaction survey recently showed (5 = strongly agree, 1 = strongly disagree):

  • Doing my job well gives me a strong sense of personal satisfaction [4.8]
  • I am passionate about CarAdvice [4.7]

Overall, a combination of the above – retention, training, opportunities and culture – ensure a team of people who are here for the journey, not just the ride.


When asked why Hardhat is a great place to work, it would be easy to talk about perks like the two gorgeous dogs or the fully-stocked Whisky Bar. We could talk about the basketball court we use to relieve stress and host numerous functions and events. Or the fully-stocked kitchen.

It would also be easy to talk about the people, and the culture that the leaders have carefully crafted over the years. We could talk about how welcoming and talented these people are, and that coming to work just feels like coming to hang out with your mates.

But really, the best bit about Hardhat is the work itself. We work with some phenomenal clients, on some exciting projects and produce world-class results. The work challenges you, pushes you to the limit. It’s fast-paced and exhilarating, and hard work is rewarded.

The process is designed to facilitate doing the best work of your career, utilising methodologies like AgencyAgile to ensure the entire project team are involved from the start of each project.

We hold fortnightly public speaking classes with industry legend David Staugthon. Tony Yacono teaches the Wilson Learning Model (personality styles) to help reduce conflict and foster a better level of understanding. Staff attend external conferences and courses based on their area of interest and specialisation.

Our values, Hustle, Humility and Heart underpin our culture and influence the way we recruit, the way we work and the way we interact.  Alignment with the Hardhat values and untapped potential is every bit as important to us as pre-existing experience and skill sets.

All 40 of us sit around a single desk to foster collaboration and reinforce the flat structure. Our people constantly tell us that they have never felt so appreciated, supported and invested in, as they do at Hardhat.

Klick Communications


We recruit people not titles and only fill a role when we find the right person. Potential candidates meet with junior and senior staff for a chemistry interview, followed by a skills interview and finally an interview with colleagues from various levels of the team.

What results is a workplace where everyone can look around and be proud of who they work with. We also boast three offices; want to work in Hawaii? We can make that happen for our Sydney team and LA team, and vice versa.


A healthy culture is based on a shared purpose. To build ours, we’ve had to accept / risk not being a place for everyone. Klick is for the “do-ers”; the ones who seek change and harness the unexpected. We enjoy a culture where we all go to work because we are inspired by the challenges of change.

We harness the power of change in the ideas we bring to life for our clients. The result is campaigns that create real impact and results.


Klick dedicates five per cent of its revenue to team development, with a people plan that really delivers. We outline Klick Achievement Plans that see a tailored coaching and development schedule that covers both personal and professional goals with the assistance of performance coach Matt Griggs amongst other support structures to ensure continued growth.

We also make a habit of rewarding our team with inspirational conferences such as SxSW in Texas and La Web in Paris.


We retain the best by delivering on the promises made during recruitment. Our leadership team looks beyond professional development; we pursue and measure personal development.

Our team is treated to yoga and pilates, a Fitbit to improve sleep and exercise, and we enjoy weekly Klick Kanteens, where one Klickster cooks for everyone. We work around university schedules and boast best-in-class maternity leave with new parents given 2.5-day week options.

Most importantly, we know the difference between perks and culture. Culture is good people doing great work; it’s why we invest in people more than anything.

Thanks as per usuuuaalll to our wicked sponsors who are bringing the night of nights to life!


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