Our Tangata Whenua, Our People

He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata! He tangata! He tangata!

What is the most important thing in the world? It is people, it is people, it is people.

To be true to our purpose of inspiring and equipping the adventurer in all of us, it’s important that we recognise the wealth of diversity that exists in our communities, our customers and our teams.

We are committed to being a next-level inclusive employer and are passionate about creating workplaces that welcome, celebrate and leverage our differences. Doing so ensures that our unique cultures, experiences, beliefs and identities are woven into the fabric of Kathmandu.

Measuring the diversity in our diversity.

Our Team

We conducted a team diversity survey to get a better picture of what our workforce looks like. As expected, we found a diversity of nationalities, ethnicities, faiths, cultures and abilities and were able to form a picture of our team. There is a lot of diversity in our diversity. Our teams encompass the cultures, faith, values and personal characteristics of the world we live in. We discovered that 11% of respondents identified themselves as having a health issue (including mental health) or disability that prevents them from doing activities that others do. This broad definition of 'disability' gives us a new perspective on supporting our teams. We learned that about 25% of our team speak more than one language and that after English, Spanish and French are the most common languages spoken by our team members. The data collected will help us to make sure that everyone in our workplace has representation and a voice and that our diversity activities are aligned with our people. The third-party anonymous survey had a high response rate with 42% of team members completing the survey, well above the industry benchmark standard of 30%.”

Kathmandu achieves the Rainbow Tick!

The Rainbow Tick is a certification that helps organisations ensure they are safe and welcoming workplaces for rainbow team members. To achieve the Rainbow Tick, Kathmandu was found to have fully achieved success in five areas: strategy and policy, employee engagement and organisational support, external engagement, organisational development, and monitoring. The Rainbow Tick is a New Zealand based certification. We believe this certification reflects our business across all locations, while we work towards achieving a ranking in the Australian Workplace Equality Index.

Supporting Women In Our Business

In 2020 we looked for new ways to support and develop women in our business to thrive in their roles and as leaders. Women from across the business attended conferences and forums to network with and learn from other successful women. Our teams can also now look to even more internal role models as more women joined the executive leadership team, bringing the number of female senior leaders to five this year. The next step is the development of a formal policy and framework to support women in their career development at Kathmandu.

Gearing Up On Capability

We took a more strategic approach to capability this year launching our Gear Up Curriculum to support the development of the core skills and competencies that allow our teams to be successful. The curriculum was designed to support our Next Level business strategy, providing key competencies to drive our business success, including critical thinking, influence skills and change leadership. Individuals work with their managers to identify development objectives and create an individual develop plan from the curriculum and annual training calendar. Gear Up means learning and development can be planned strategically and resources used more effectively to the benefit of our teams and the business.

Creating diverse opportunities

Kathmandu's ACEs (Adventure Challenges Everyone) programme has been developed to make our workplaces more inclusive. As part of this programme, we are adapting both our workplaces and the positions we offer our employees. 

Adapting our workplaces

We are creating more accessible workplaces so that existing positions can be more attainable to candidates with mobility challenges. We are also continuing to modify aspects of store design, including point of sale counters, specifically designed for team members utilising wheelchairs.

Adapting our positions

There are now accessible positions at Kathmandu that can be filled by candidates with differing intellectual abilities and challenges. Salesfloor assistant positions exist for those who love to talk to people and so would relish the chance to greet and assist customers in our stores. Positions within our support offices are adapting to promote greater inclusion, while we are continuing to explore new opportunities throughout all our workplaces.

IDEA Services New Zealand have become a strong partner of Kathmandu in helping to deliver a successful ACEs program. 

“The Kathmandu programme is an inspiring move towards total inclusion,” says Ian Whittle of IDEA Services. "Having a paid job gives people a feeling of importance, value and worth. And obviously when you're generating your own income, that creates a real feeling of empowerment. It makes you feel like you're not so different." 

Kathmandu Group Learning and Development Manager Kelly Hopkins says, “Our ACEs have different challenges, but they have even more in common with our teams – they share our values including a love of travel and adventure and passion for the environment, and they have all been hired because of what they can bring to Kathmandu.”

Taking on the outdoors

Kathmandu team memberKathmandu team member

For anyone with a disability, don’t assume that we can’t do things. Instead, assume that people with disabilities can do anything – unless we tell you we can’t or we need help with it.

Tyler Belcher

Christchurch team member Tyler Belcher loves getting outdoors. “Any day of the week, I’d rather be out there doing it than sitting in front of the TV,” he says.

Tyler was born with spina bifida, a condition that develops in the womb and affects the spine. “Until I was 3 years old, I used a walking frame to get around and then I got my first wheelchair. I can walk short distances with crutches.”

This doesn’t stop Tyler from getting into the outdoors. “I’ve always been an outdoor person. I’m really keen on nature walks and shorter hikes – or in my case, rolls. I love to head out on adventures in my 4WD and can load and unload my wheelchair from the car.”

Employment has been challenging for Tyler. “I’m a qualified personal trainer but I feel like my condition has been seen as a boundary when I’ve applied for roles in gyms. I used to live in Dunedin – it’s an older city where few of the buildings are wheelchair accessible. Christchurch is much more accessible, and that’s only improved since the earthquake with rebuilding.”

As a Kathmandu customer, Tyler says he always felt aligned to the brand. “Every time I’ve gone into a store, the team have been awesome. You could see people were happy to be there, and they were always welcoming.”

Find out more about our initiatives to make Kathmandu a force for good at our Sustainability Hub below...