28 Feb, 2022

Celebrated across New Zealand and Australia, Retail Employer of the Year recognises businesses that embrace, promote, and have outstanding employment brands. 

Businesses campaign and generate votes by asking the general public, past and current employees a simple question: “If you could pick one brand or business to work for, who it would be?” The businesses with the most votes – submitted at, across each of the three categories are recognised and announced as Retail Employer of the Year Finalists and Winners. 

Almost a month into this year’s Retail Employer of the Year campaign, we’re excited to be sharing insights from last years REOTY Winners. 

Our first Q&A in New Zealand was completed by Wendy Hammonds, GM of People and Capability at Foodstuffs North Island, 2019 Retail Employer of the Year Finalist and Large Category Winner. Wendy has been at Foodstuffs North Island for 3 years where she comments, “there’s a strong family vibe that comes with being deeply connected to local communities, and relationships are really important here.” Wendy has shared insights including 3 tips for businesses starting their employment brand positioning journey. 

Tell us what it’s like to work at Foodstuffs North Island:

Foodies is a really unique place. We’re a 100% New Zealand owned and operated co-operative and our purpose is to make sure New Zealanders get more out of life. There’s a strong family vibe that comes with being deeply connected to our customers and local communities, and relationships are really important here. We sell groceries, but before that, we’re a people business.

What does your business do to foster the culture that you aspire to have?

We put a lot of focus on encouraging open conversation and feedback at Foodies and really value the voice of our people and our customers. We’re also very clear on the behaviours we expect of all our team members through our company values: we think customer, we’re in it together, we’re courageous, and we play above the line. Having everybody on the same page about what behaviours we value – and empowering everyone to hold each other to account for these – has been a really powerful driver of culture at Foodies.

What do you think positions the Foodstuffs North Island employment brand to stand out or apart from your competitors?

We have been part of New Zealand communities for nearly 100 years – nearly everyone knows someone who’s worked at one or more of our brands, and for many people, we’re the first employer they have. There’s a responsibility that comes with that, which we take very seriously. We work hard every day to continue this proud history of helping New Zealanders work and learn, and as a major employer that only operates in New Zealand, we’re committed to always putting New Zealanders first.

What do you believe is the biggest benefit to your business in relation to your employment brand?

People that say good things about a workplace stay longer and strive for better outcomes. Having an employment experience that our people are proud to be part of is so crucial in encouraging them to bring their best selves to work every day and helping them feel supported in the work they do.

If you were advising a business starting their employment brand positioning journey, what 3 tips would you give them to get started?

Make sure the brand you’re trying to build is truly relevant to who you are at the heart of your company. Keep it simple and meaningful, so that anyone in any area of your business can take ownership of it. Develop strong values that represent how you want to do things and make sure they’re something people can really connect with – avoid corporate language!

Voting and campaigning for Retail Employer of the Year closes on Thursday, 31st October. Finalists and Winners will be announced in late November. For more information, contact your local Retailworld office or, visit

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