KU Children’s Services

KU Children’s Services has been selected as an Employer of Choice in The Australian Business Awards 2023. The Australian Business Award for Employer of Choice [EOC] recognises organisations that develop workplaces that maximise the full potential of their workforce through established policies and practices which demonstrate effective employee recruitment, engagement and retention.

Established in 1895, KU Children’s Services was the first provider of early childhood education in Australia and has operated continuously throughout its history. Today, KU is one of Australia’s largest not-for-profit early childhood education providers. 

KU Children’s Services (KU) believes staff are the organisation’s heart. Everything the organisation does aligns with this belief, from the core Strategic Plan objective to have a ‘Thriving Professional Workforce’ to placing staff at the centre of organisational responses to COVID. KU’s best-in-sector employment value proposition is multidimensional and continuously evolving to reflect the needs and desires of a diverse workforce. 

As a not-for-profit organisation, KU is proud to invest more than 80% of revenue in salaries and wages – offering sector-leading pay and benefits. KU also works hard to ensure the workplace culture allows people to thrive, innovate and develop lifelong careers. KU warmly welcomes new staff into the KU family, invests in their future, and supports them as people. 

KU’s values are embedded into their culture and influence not only the organisation’s work but also the way staff work with each other and the broader community. There are six values in all: Childhood; Integrity and relationships; Leadership; Innovation; Sustainability; and Diversity and inclusion. The degree to which KU staff connect with these cultural values is measured through annual employee engagement surveys. A recent staff survey revealed 94% of employees agree that “we live our KU values”. The 2022 survey reported an overall engagement rate of 88%. Furthermore, 95% of staff agreed that KU is a diverse and inclusive workplace where people feel valued and safe to bring their whole selves to work. 

The best and brightest talent is proud to work for KU and is deeply connected to the organisation’s purpose. KU has developed a unique Professional Learning and Development Framework to build their staff skills, behaviour and expertise now and well into the future. In 2022 KU pioneered the introduction of its program to support its teachers to achieve “Highly Accomplished Lead Teacher (HALT) status. KU is proud of its business-wide high-performance culture, supported by individual and organisational learning and development that always aligns with its values. 

A three-year plan focused on holistic wellness is being rolled out to ensure KU’s employment offer continues to lead in the early education sector. Addressing post-COVID burnout and fatigue in their people has been central to focusing on mental and physical health and wellbeing, building resilience, implementing psychosocial job design, building employee financial security, and using kindness to deepen the connection. KU has also introduced ten days of paid domestic violence leave in 2022 and gifted staff an additional five days of personal leave in 2023 to manage their wellness. 

Performance management at KU is a continuous process of appraisal, review and professional development, and collaboration process designed to help identify employees’ strengths and determine clear career pathways supporting staff retention and effective talent and succession planning. As a not-for-profit organisation, KU works hard to ensure the workforce knows their commitment is appreciated. In addition to their wellbeing program KUPLUS, other recognitions include Individual and Team ‘Making the KU Difference Awards’, salary packaging, a referrals program and KU salary packaging. 

KU’s employment conditions include the highest pay rates in the sector for staff employed under two Enterprise Agreements – the KU Children’s Services Teachers Agreement and the KU Children’s Services Administrative Employees Agreement. 

For information about KU, visit ku.com.au

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