“As a leader I don’t guess anymore. I know exactly what to focus on to get the biggest improvements out of my team.”
An employer of choice for a large and diverse workforce
Smith&Smith is New Zealand’s leading vehicle glass repairer, with a sizeable fleet of mobile technicians, and over 60 branches and dealerships the length of the country. With a large and diverse workforce of technicians, customer service and support staff, building a cohesive and engaged workplace has long been a priority for the business. Over the last five years, the leadership team has implemented a number of people and culture initiatives, including a traditional engagement survey, that together contributed to high employee engagement levels.
Looking beyond engagement surveys to drive business success
Although their people and culture initiatives led to Smith&Smith being recognised as an employer of choice, their high engagement scores weren't clearly translating into improved business performance. As People and Leadership Director Pati Bloor puts it, “Historically we’d been focussing on engagement - that’s really about how people feel in the workplace. We wanted to move to something much more tangible. We’re very outcome-driven, and we needed something that fell in line with that.”
Pati and her team began the search for a system that would deliver actionable solutions to business challenges, and that would enable everyone in the organisation to contribute to Smith&Smith’s success. “We didn’t want to have to be the gatekeeper, which HR can typically be with these things. It needed to be easy for our leaders to use and it had to speak their language. AskYourTeam delivered all of those things.”
Opening communication channels leads to powerful new insights
AskYourTeam has given the Smith&Smith leadership instant and continuous access to insights from everyone in the business. Operations Director Andre May says:
It allows us to communicate really easily with our people, from Invercargill to Whangarei, so we have a better handle on what the challenges and opportunities are in the business. From my perspective, it’s a no-brainer.
Kent Krammer, Smith&Smith’s Regional Operations Manager, says using a confidential survey system has allowed his team members to give frank and honest feedback. “I’ll never forget reading a comment from someone in my team that began, ‘I’ve always wanted to tell you that you should…’ It was a great idea and one that we could implement really easily, but he didn’t feel comfortable raising it in a public forum. Without AskYourTeam we never would have had those kinds of insights.”
Building stronger leaders by focussing on what matters
Pati says one of the things she values most about AskYourTeam is how it's helped their leaders become even more effective. “It’s supported our whole philosophy, which is about leaders just getting on and being leaders. AskYourTeam enables our people to ask the right questions, focus on the things that really matter to them and make progress towards those goals.”
AskYourTeam is designed to assess performance in each of the areas that research shows have the biggest impact on business success. This means that leaders can be confident they're asking the right questions. Kent says having a data-backed understanding of which areas to focus on has been transformative:
As a leader I don’t guess anymore. I know exactly what to focus on to get the biggest improvements out of my team.
Crowd-sourced solutions from the whole team
AskYourTeam has allowed Smith&Smith’s leaders to uncover previously hidden challenges and opportunities within the business, and enlist the entire team in developing solutions.
Says Kent: “We had one branch manager who was quite new to the business and he had an inherited team. By using AskYourTeam we realized we had quite a cultural issue that was larger than had previously been perceived. AskYourTeam allowed the team to speak up; they felt genuinely listened to. As a result, the actions that we’ve taken have been taken by the entire team, not just the leader, and that’s got much better input and engagement.”
After the team collectively developed and implemented an action plan, they were able to quickly measure its success. “We retested three weeks later. We were able to organise that test within a day and see the results immediately, and the teams got to see that they’d made a huge difference to their working environment. So AskYourTeam really turned into a positive something that started out as a negative.”
Wrap-around support at every step
While AskYourTeam is user-friendly and designed to be customer-driven, support is given at all stages; from laying the groundwork for a seamless adoption of the system, through to help with extracting insights from the results, formulating action plans, and retesting to measure progress. Pati says this support has been key to their success. “It's been a really easy system to implement. AskYourTeam have worked with us right from the pre-planning through to our going live, making sure that we were a success. It’s felt like a real partnership.”
The result: Better productivity, happier teams and a more successful business
Broadening their focus from employee engagement to encompass all measures of business performance has resulted in demonstrably more productive teams at Smith&Smith. Says Pati, “As long as you’ve got an environment which continuously changes, you need to be consciously thinking about how can we be better, and what role do I play in that. Our people know exactly what we’re aiming for and how they line up to that, and they can work personally towards a successful business.”
Kent says the impact on performance has been marked:
Success seems to be breeding success. People feel more invested in what they’re trying to achieve, they feel like they’re contributing to the results, and they want to help those next to them succeed. We’re seeing better productivity, and better results.
To read more about how Smith&Smith achieved better results with AskYourTeam, including their top five tips for making the transition from a traditional engagement survey, download our free ebook
To find out how AskYourTeam can help your business take the guesswork out of leadership, book a call with one of our experts today.