This case study looks at how the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) developed its hybrid working approach.

About ACC

ACC is the Crown entity set up under the Accident Compensation Act 2001 to deliver New Zealand’s accident insurance scheme. The purpose of the ACC Scheme is to deliver injury prevention initiatives and no-fault personal injury cover for everyone in New Zealand. ACC employs almost 4,000 permanent and temporary staff across 30-plus locations.

Our context and the opportunity

In the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic ACC rapidly adapted to support its people to work remotely and enable service delivery to continue. This began with a survey to understand its people’s needs in conjunction with a rapid rollout of mobile devices and other supports to enable effective remote working. Additionally, a wellbeing programme and check-in conversations were put in place to support employees.

At the beginning of 2022, ACC followed up these initial measures by asking employees about their experiences of working from home and sought to adapt the approach to make it more effective, engaging and enduring. It was clear that expectations about work had changed, and that ACC’s people wanted certainty about how flexibility and hybrid working would be approached into the future.

Starting the mahi: Hybrid working Phase 1

In early 2022, a working group developed the new approach, taking forward many of the measures adopted during COVID-19 and introducing additional resources and support.

Laying the foundation

After an initial consultation, ACC established four core role groupings based on the type of work performed. Role groupings were relationship or service delivery based, and either internally or externally focused. A fifth front-of-house role grouping was established due to those roles having unique face-to-face requirements. These role groupings provided a foundation from which further refinements to the approach could be made.

Rather than a prescriptive approach, the framework enabled leaders to find ‘best fit’ for their people, teams, and customers. As a starting point, ACC has offered up to three days of remote working for all employees (except those in front-of-house roles). ACC also offered flexibility in terms of hours worked. Under Phase 1, relationship roles work a minimum of 50% of the time during core hours, while for service delivery and front of house roles these numbers are 75% and 100% respectively. 

The Locations Settings image shows a half-circle dashboard split into 3 even parts: Office, Hybrid and Fully remote. This shows that the range of location settings goes from ‘Front of house’, which is set near the bottom of ‘Office’ through to ‘Rest of ACC’ which is set near the end of ‘Hybrid’. The Hours settings (core hours) image shows a half-circle dashboard set into 3 even parts: 50%, 75% 100%. This shows that the range for hours sets ‘Relationship roles’ at the bottom of ‘50%’. ‘Service Delivery’ is set in the middle of ‘75%’ and ‘Front of house’ is set at the end of ‘100%’.

Enabling the hybrid approach

ACC did not offer location and hours flexibility as entitlements. All decisions were made contingent on team, business, and customer requirements. Central to decision making was leaders bringing their teams together to discuss and agree hybrid working settings. ACC invested in tools and resources to enable leaders to have the right conversations with their teams, and for teams to confirm their commitments. ACC also deployed an online ‘Remote working declaration’, which confirmed health, safety, and privacy requirements for working remotely and provided data about take-up of hybrid working options at ACC.

Culture and connection

ACC asked its leaders to plan for connection with their teams to enable positive working relationships and get the most out of hybrid working. ACC’s approach acknowledged the importance of bringing people together both face to face and virtually through key connection points called ‘Moments that Matter’. ACC encouraged all employees to focus on behaviours important in a hybrid working culture, such as caring, collaboration and empowerment.

What is next for ACC

ACC’s most recent employee survey shows that employees appreciate the changes made and are looking forward to further refinements. The next opportunity is to look beyond the ‘when and where’ of work and start thinking about how work can be designed to improve what ACC offers to New Zealanders. Watch this space…