Best Companies to Work for in Australia | 5-Star Employers
Best Companies to Work for in Australia |
5-Star Employers 

Chasing perfection successfully

HRD Australia celebrates the companies that are moving the needle for their employees. 

The 2024 winners hail from a range of industries but all share the commonality of being innovative and committed to creating environments in which their people are happy, supported and equipped with the tools to thrive.

Kathryn Bonning, director at Human Capital Consulting, cites communication as key. 

“It’s critically important to being a 5-Star employer. However, I don’t believe it should be documented as a policy but tightly woven into the culture. Communication must always be real, human-centric and delivered with heart and head,” she says.

Also breaking down what deserves 5-Star status is May Lee, employee experience and culture leader at financial services firm Mercer. She says, “Policies and actions that demonstrate a commitment to the growth and advancement of employees fosters a culture of continuous learning where the benefits are not just for individual employees but contribute to the organisation’s overall success.”


Malcolm Day, Mark Moran Group
“This brand is all about excellence, wellness and holistic living. This impacts and resonates with employees because they are so proud of their environment, and you don’t see anybody who doesn’t care. We actively seek those people who are kind and have empathy”
Malcolm DayMark Moran Group


Mark Moran Group

The retirement and aged-care provider is honoured for the second consecutive year and its continued success has been powered by an increased focus on its employees.

Previously, the uptake of engagement surveys was less than optimal, so senior people and culture leader Malcolm Day increased awareness by visiting each of the firm’s facilities and distributing material to highlight their importance and increasing frequency to bi-annually.

“It gives us a great benchmark for what the actual mood is. Some comments are quite scathing, some employees were comfortable enough to say what they really thought, as you’re never going to get 100% of people saying they love the place,” explains Day. “Subsequent surveys have been more and more beneficial because not only is it confidential, but we’re actually being warts and all honest about what the responses have been – and we are doing something about it.”

This is echoed by industry expert Bonning who adds, “Managers and leaders of teams need to be equipped with the skills to know how to not only decipher feedback but ensure it is acted on.”

Another internal project that was launched to quantify the firm’s demography showed:

  • 70% are female

  • 57% are Nepalese

  • in one site, 76% are Nepalese

Combining all the information gathered, Day says, “We’re redesigning to create a better experience for all residents and staff.”

Proactive attitude

Mark Moran Group has implemented policies such as:

  • providing fresh fruit snacks to employees

  • tailoring shift patterns to fit family responsibilities of childcare or those with aged parents

  • offering a $500 bonus for referring new employees or posting job advertisements on social media

  • In the Vaucluse facility, the award-winning gardens and aviary are open to staff, along with access to rooftop with seating to enjoy ocean views.

  • The Little Bay facility created breakout rooms on each floor with wild and wacky wallpapers, with a therapeutic pool and cinema planned.

  • celebration of all cultural occasions (Diwali, Chinese New Year, Christian holidays, Jewish events, etc.)

On cultural holidays, Day adds, “We encourage people to dress in their native costumes, which of course, delights the residents. We also have done naming ceremonies, laid clocks and had smoking ceremonies at each of the facilities to welcome Indigenous, First Nations people into the organisation. Our co-CEO, Yvette Morin, also identifies as [a member of the] First Nations.”

Due to the industry’s nature, employees are on duty 24 hours a day. Mark Moran pays an additional 12% for an afternoon shift and 150% of the normal rate at weekends, but these are shared among the team.

“We’re trying to give people the times and days they want but also get them to understand everybody wants the weekend penalties. They are not dedicated to one or two people.”

Another initiative is also catering and supporting for the needs of employees over 60.

Day explains, “We work on programs of reduced hours so we can encourage them to slowly transition to going from full- to part-time or being able to reduce their shifts.”

To support employees, the firm operates a Leadership Development Program. A key differentiator is how individuals are given prominence even if they are not the most obvious choice.

“Our head gardener has one staff member working for him, but he is a very positive person who gives off a whole lot of positive energy and is a delight to be around. He’s the type of person that we want his energy and philosophy to be espoused everywhere,” explains Day. “I’ve actually said to the managers, ‘I want you to identify your successor’. If we have future leaders and key influencers, we want to make sure that they’re happy, so we talk to them about their career aspirations.”

To deal with the holistic care of employees, Mark Moran Group actively monitors psychosocial risks. This is done via meetings and updates from the firm’s Workplace Health and Safety committee, who meet regularly every one to two months.

“They take notes of things that have been environmental issues, and we do an annual promotion of our discrimination and harassment policies. We’ve just updated those to include domestic violence, and an understanding of domestic violence and family.”


Anjanette Murfet, Accolade Wines
“The focus is on fostering a dynamic performance-driven culture where we deliver accelerated and sustainable growth while celebrating our achievements and our people. We aim to create a workplace where our people are excited to come to work every day and want to be part of that future”
Anjanette Murfet Accolade Wines


Accolade Wines

The firm, founded in 1836, has a dynamic and modern mindset. This shines through in its Fast Fridays policy that allows employees to finish work at 3 pm and end their week early. The policy began as a ‘summer only’ initiative, but employee feedback turned it into a permanent fixture.

“We listen to our people, and we work with a continuous mindset,” says Anjanette Murfet, chief people and communications officer.

This is given even greater importance due to the broad demographics of Accolade Wines’ team, whose ages range from 18 to 72 and include over 20 nationalities. Benefits employees can choose to take up are:

  • work from home three days a week

  • gym subsidies

  • global office policy to work overseas

  • volunteer charity days

Employees can also enjoy development webinars where talented individuals share their insight on maintaining balance. Some of those who have been invited to these events are:

  • June Sarpong, BBC’s first director of creative diversity 

  • Boyd Varty, conversationalist and wildlife activist 

  • Star of Courage winner Craig Challen, technical driver and cave explorer who took part in the Tham Luang children’s rescue

  • speakers on International Women’s Day panel discussions and education programs

“We have a whole range of guest speakers to provide our people with content and additional support to get the balance right in their lives,” adds Murfet.

Accolade Wines has an array of bonus systems, one being where employees can award a voucher of up to $150 to a colleague who has done an outstanding piece of work. There are also quarterly Star Awards where those nominated receive $500 for going above and beyond. In addition, at the end of each year is a manager-nominated Heroes Celebration where peer-voted winners receive $5,000. 

Equality is a fundamental building block at the firm, as the following figures prove:

  • The executive team is split 40% female/60% male.

  • The senior leadership team has the same gender composition. 

  • The gender pay gap is 0.9% (relative to a 2024 nationwide 19% gap).

Murfet says, “We don’t actually set targets generally across gender. We have a commitment to ensure we bring in the best talent and ensure that where we can, the pipeline of talent we are bringing in is equally represented regardless of how they identify.”

Creating the best environment 

All employees have access to the learning platform Seed, with over 3,000 modules that can be accessed anytime. Dynamic leader training is also an asset to be launched. 

Murfet adds, “It’s to support all of our managers globally to encourage a more human-centric and flexible mindset. Someone might be going through IVF treatment and may need time off or is supporting a father who might want to go part-time. It’s helping leaders to actually manage those things that sometimes can be a bit more complicated.”

An extension of increasing awareness of different issues is the firm’s menopause guide.

“We want to create an environment where people feel comfortable to be themselves at work,” explains Murfet. “It just seemed like a natural evolution for us to support women who were going through menopause or perimenopause. We certainly support our people at that stage of life when they’re having babies, so it just felt like we needed to think about this space as well, when people are getting to another point where it can be particularly challenging  so they can have the right conversations with their leader and get the support they need.”

In 2023, Accolade rebranded its assessment process, changing its name from performance management to performance enablement and putting an increased focus on employee development. 

“I particularly don’t like the word ‘management’ on the end of ‘performance’. I feel it’s quite draconian and doesn’t really promote a great feeling about the ability or capability to perform tasks,” adds Murfet.

The process now involves monthly check-ins to track against defined quarterly goals, which are the breakdown of what the employee wants to achieve annually.

“There’s the ability with monthly check-ins to make sure that not only is the employee on track, but have those goals moved or shifted in any particular way and whether any adjustments need to be made for them to meet the development targets they have set themselves.”


Samantha Alkin, Edwards Lifesciences     
“Our culture is supporting our employees as well as supporting the organisation. Our employees spend so much time here, so we do all we can to make it feel like a home away from home”
Samantha AlkinEdwards Lifesciences      


Edwards Lifesciences

Being solely focused on a single area, cardiovascular disease, is something the firm has leveraged to benefit employees.

“They are passionate about this area as they’ve had family members, or they know people, that have had heart disease. That really brings in an emotional connection, versus us just a being company or a product to them,” explains director of human resources Samantha Alkin.

To further strengthen this bond, in January 2024, Edwards Lifesciences added three new employee relation groups:

  • Rainbow Alliance – for their LGBTQ+ community, to drive awareness and education programs 

  • Enable – promoting the issue of disability in the workplace and supporting those who face challenges due to their disabilities

  • Multicultural – creating an understanding around the struggles of people from different ethnicities and backgrounds in the workforce


All employees can rely on the firm to be sympathetic to their needs, as Edwards Lifesciences eschews a one-size-fits-all approach.

“Our culture is supporting our employees as well as supporting the organisation. We’ve had so many instances where people have personal things going on and need to take a few weeks off or a couple of months off to deal with it, and that’s fine. There are no issues there,” says Alkin. “We find a way of covering for them and supporting what needs to happen from a business perspective. They talk to their manager and then we move forward.”

This strikes a chord with industry expert Lee who adds, “In the current environment, leading organisations have a differentiated employee experience – one that’s curated, sustainable and aligned to the new shape of work.“

The willingness to cater to what matters to each individual is highlighted by the unusual request for a SodaStream machine, which Edwards Lifesciences  purchased.

Alkin comments, “There’s probably only one person that ever uses it, but they’re using it, right? So, it’s no skin off our nose.”

Forward looking

Edwards Lifesciences also drives its team’s ability and professional development by reinvesting 18% of company profits into innovation.

“Our products are premium products and innovation comes with learning. You can’t be innovative if you’re not learning and growing,” adds Alkin.

Edwards Lifesciences also has a six-week leadership program that enables staff to discover leadership motivations and the responsibilities that a manager might have. This means if someone is promoted, they are not surprised by demands or expectations, and ensures they take the opportunity with full transparency.

“Once they go through that, if they’re still interested in management, then they’ve got an outline and understand our career framework as well,” says Alkin. “It enables them to really identify the areas they need to be working on to get ready for that leadership position when it becomes available.”

Other initiatives that boost employee engagement include:

  • outdoor table tennis and hang-out space, along with BBQ area and community garden

  •  social committee events (e.g., Mardi Gras, Pride, Mother’s Day) and an employee plus partner Big Morning Tea

  • annual engagement survey along with regular pulse surveys

  • webinars around issues such as cost-of-living and psychological safety

  • eight chosen charities including Meals on Wheels and Ronald McDonald House with yearly donations totalling $250,000

  • Heart Awards of monetary value to those going above and beyond as nominated by colleagues

  • quarterly open access to the managing director, with the boardroom open over lunchtime for employees to give feedback


“All the fun activities that we do, such as the community garden, are going on to build the connectivity with our employees and we will continue to foster it,” explains Alkin. “Our attrition rate – 11% in the past 12 months – I would say, is below market average especially within our industry. We know our programs work and these investments work. For us, it’s creating that sense of belonging and I get feedback all the time from employees on how much they love it.”


Best Companies to Work for in Australia | 5-Star Employers

More than 500 employees
  • Accor
  • Baker McKenzie
  • Claro Aged Care and Disability Services
  • Data#3
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Marriott Australia
  • Publicis Groupe ANZ
  • Startek Australia
101–500 employees
  • Coleman Greig Lawyers
  • Criterion Industries
  • Enero Group
  • GrowthOps
  • hipages Group
  • Liberty Financial
  • Rockwell Automation
  • SW Accountants & Advisors
  • TIMG
  • TurksLegal
10–100 employees
  • AS Harrison & Co.
  • Atelier Wealth Mortgage Brokers
  • Australian Physiotherapy Association
  • Camp Quality
  • EFFISION Australia
  • Expr3ss! Predictive Hiring Technology
  • Fluent Commerce
  • Harrison Manufacturing Company
  • Langports Language College
  • Mortgage Ezy
  • Nick Auditore Represents
  • Not A Trace
  • Start Beyond
  • Sympli
  • Vetafarm Australia



As part of our editorial process, Key Media’s researchers interviewed the subject matter experts below for an independent analysis of this report and its findings.



The entry process for HRD Australia’s 2024 5-Star Employer of Choice comprised two steps: an employer submission followed by an employee survey. First, organisations had to complete an in-depth submission to explain their various offerings and practices. Next, employees from nominated organisations were asked to fill out an anonymous form evaluating their workplace on a number of metrics, including benefits, compensation, culture, employee development, and commitment to diversity and inclusion.
To be considered, each organisation had to reach a minimum number of employee responses based on overall size. Organisations that achieved a 75% or greater average satisfaction rating from employees were named 5-Star Employers of Choice for 2024.