Flight Centre: After a tough year for the travel industry, Pink Shirt Day “an opportunity to reset and celebrate”

It’s no secret - 2020 was tough. The impact of nationwide lockdowns and international border closures was felt intensely by all of us - but perhaps none more so than those in the travel and tourism industry. We spoke with Heidi Walker, General Manager of People and Culture at Flight Centre New Zealand, about why celebrating Pink Shirt Day this year is as important for them as ever.

“Pink Shirt Day is the perfect pick-me-up. It’s been a bit of a tough year for the travel industry and Pink Shirt Day gives us an opportunity to reset and celebrate with each other.”

Flight Centre originally got involved in Pink Shirt Day back in 2019. “We have an in-house foundation that’s funded by our people and our business, and a few years ago we were looking for a charity partner to support that embodies our company values. The Mental Health Foundation is a perfect fit, and the cause of Pink Shirt Day is one that’s very close to our hearts.”

This year, Flight Centre are celebrating the day by sending out Pink Shirt Day resource packs to each of their stores nationwide, and encouraging everyone, including Head Office, to rock a pink shirt for the day. “We’ll be sending out posters and info packs to all of our stores across the country to make sure our whole team is a part of Pink Shirt Day.”

“Our famous Captain and Co-Captains will be rocking pink shirts in our marketing collateral for the weeks leading in, our Flight Centre logo will be turning pink on our Facebook page, and we have a few other tricks up our sleeves to spread the word… We are looking at doing a fundraising pink bake-sale or sausage sizzle in the office too.”

Pink Shirt Day adds to the year-round calendar of workplace wellbeing initiatives and events that the organisation supports, including the “Hour of Empowerment”, which gives all employees “an hour back each week to take part in something that promotes their personal wellbeing”, such as “heading off early to spend some extra time with the kids, go for a run, get a massage, it’s totally up to the individual.” 

“We also offer in-house wellbeing support for advice on diet, exercise and overall health and a free EAP service for our people.”

For organisations that have yet to commit to getting involved in Pink Shirt Day, Heidi is keen to offer some words of encouragement: “We are so thankful to be a part of this day every year! If you’re a workplace just beginning your mental health journey, it’s a great foot in the door, and a fantastic way to unite your team and start the conversation. And who doesn’t like a day of pink in the office?!”

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Every year, one in 10 workers in Aotearoa report being bullied in the workplace. By celebrating Pink Shirt Day or fundraising for the kaupapa, your workplace becomes part of the movement to end bullying, celebrate diversity and spread aroha and kindness.

Keen to get your workplace involved in Pink Shirt Day this year? Download our Workplace Bullying Prevention Resource focused on how to create a positive workplace environment where mana-enhancing, open communication is the norm so bullying cannot thrive.

For more ideas on how to bring Pink Shirt Day to your workplace, head here, and for ideas on how your workplace can fundraise for Pink Shirt Day, head here.

Download workplace bullying prevention resource
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“Kōrero Mai, Kōrero Atu, Mauri Tū, Mauri Ora – Speak Up, Stand Together, Stop Bullying!”