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  • Here at Milford, we’ve moved from being focused on employee engagement, to how we can get everyone involved in continuously improving our business. We aren’t concerned with just “how do you feel” - we’re actually getting to the underlying information that helps to strategically steer the organisation.

    “When you make it everyone's job to drive the business forward, you get more a more involved and fulfilled team. That’s what we’ve realised since using AskYourTeam.”

    Across the energy sector, there’s been a cultural shift over the last decade. At Contact Energy, that meant an overhaul of processes and leadership around health and safety. The result? A huge change in organisational culture.

    “Our people are more empowered to make their own decisions, and assess risk - without the fear of blame or judgement if things go wrong.”

    “AskYourTeam allowed Oil Intel to easily distinguish what areas employees felt needed to be improved.

    AskYourTeam enabled us to pinpoint those areas that were most important to our people”

    Read how Smith&Smith achieved better productivity and business performance by taking the guesswork out of leadership.

    “As a leader I don’t guess anymore. I know exactly what to focus on to get the biggest improvements out of my team.”

    Read how Swanndri built a more collaborative workplace and accelerated their growth curve with AskYourTeam.

    “It allows for everyone to have an equal voice, not just management or the vocal few.”

    Learn how the Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce built a culture of continuous improvement with AskYourTeam.

    “It reinforces that continuous improvement is a really important part of any business.”

    Find out how Pipfruit NZ built a more confident and connected membership with AskYourTeam.

    “I haven’t found any other system that offers a more comprehensive methodology to survey our members.”

  • Why the future belongs to HR

    Friday, 10 November 2017

    There’s been seismic shift in the dynamics driving today’s most successful organisations that is being led by HR practitioners using the technology of our highly networked age. It’s the shift from management by engagement to leadership by involvement, a move that is changing the way we think about everything from the war for talent, to how we build organisational culture.

    Management by engagement is all about creating a culture where your staff are happy to be instructed what to do. In this old way of working, managers are solely responsible for issuing the orders that improve organisational performance.

    Leadership by involvement is about creating cultures where team members work out what’s the best thing to do next without needing to be told. In organisational cultures like this, leaders create an environment where every worker feels empowered to make the decisions that will improve performance. These are the types of organisation that today’s best talent seeks out.

    The risk of not creating an empowering culture of involvement is a living staff retention nightmare. The best people in today’s workplace will leave if they are not allowed to develop a sense of ownership around their job, to have some level of autonomy over their own actions and a genuine say in the running of the business.

    The greatest symptom of the shift from engagement to involvement is the increasing replacement of annual employee engagement surveys with a new technology-enabled approaches to involving employees in running an organisation.

    One of these is a New Zealand developed system AskYourTeam, which calls itself Continuous Involvement System. It aims to provide leaders with a continuous stream of insights into how to improve performance from the team members on the frontline doing the work.

    In the AskYourTeam survey, employees rate the organisation's performance in 64 specific areas. Employee responses are anonymous, which encourages honesty and produces responses that workers would be reluctant to deliver to their bosses face-to-face. The result is a rich source of insights for an organisation's leadership team that tells them not only how engaged their teams are, but also where leaders need to put their energy most urgently, and what they need to do to lift the organisation's performance.

    Using the insights generated by AskYourTeam, leaders can formulate specific action plans that pinpoint action most effectively to improve performance of the organisation. The system captures ideas from people all over the organisation and ensures all ideas are treated on merit because they are anonymous. This contributes genuine diversity of thought to decision making in the organisation and removes as far as possible, any unconscious bias.

    AskYourTeam CEO, Chris O’Reilly, says that the contrast to a traditional engagement survey is stark. He uses medical analogies to make his point.

    “An engagement survey is like a thermometer. It takes an organisation’s temperature, it tells you if everything’s OK or if something’s wrong. But it doesn’t help with telling you why it’s wrong.

    “Continuous Involvement systems like AskYourTeam are more like an MRI scan that give a constant read on the performance of the organisation and show where an organisation's leaders should direct their energy to have the greatest impact on performance,” he says.

    O’Reilly says the Continuous Involvement philosophy evolved out of employee engagement systems, and reflects broader shifts in workplace relationships that has seen empowerment become a primary purpose of workplace leadership over the past decade.

    “It’s evolving from asking people how they feel to asking them what they think,” he says.

    Yet many organisations continue to use the annual engagement survey. In some cases this is due to senior management contracts that include engagement survey KPIs. In others it’s because conventional wisdom holds that engagement drives performance - a workforce that scores higher on the engagement survey will outperform a lower performing workforce.

    But even this one ironclad rule is being questioned today. Thinkers such as KPMG’s London-based partner Robert Bolton are producing studies that flip conventional wisdom on its head, suggesting that it may well be the ability to perform within an organisational culture that drives high levels of employee engagement. A chicken or egg argument like this is probably never able to be definitively resolved. What it does suggest though, is that perhaps we’re asking the wrong questions.

    Most leading international thinkers agree, discussions about engagement should be replaced with discussions about organisational culture. Deloitte USA’s HR futurologist Josh Bersin says the language of the engagement survey industry has held back HR professionals for too long.

    “I would suggest that using the word ‘engagement’ often limits our thinking. It's assumes that our job is to reach out and ‘engage’ people, rather than to build an organisation that is exciting, fulfilling, meaningful, and fun,” he says.

    KPMG’s Bolton goes even further - suggesting that it’s time we shifted the focus of HR away from individuals and dispensed with the prevailing notion that high performing organisations are built around “rock star employees”. According to Bolton, individuals will mean increasingly less than culture in the future.

    “There is no such thing as ‘talented’ individuals in the workforce of the future. It’s actually about talented organisations and talent ecosystems.”

    It’s a thought perhaps most persuasively articulated by Harvard Business School leadership guru Linda Hill. She says business leadership is no longer about the visionary guru leading the charge. Hill describes the greatest business leaders of today as “social architects”. They don’t dictate orders, they build organisations that are collaborative places, where everyone feels empowered to participate in running the business. As Linda Hill puts it, today’s great leader sees their primary role as “building the stage, not necessarily performing on it”.

    When the leader is able to unleash the power of the many, he or she creates what Hill calls “collective genius” – and that’s when organisations become truly innovative and can achieve their peak performance.

    In many ways, leadership by involvement is a direct reflection of the era in which we live. We are undeniably highly networked and social media has created the expectation among most of us that we have to right to like, dislike and provide a rating on just about everything we encounter in our lives. The most involving work cultures learn from this and use technology like Ask Your Team to create rich cultures of deep involvement.

    Linda Hill says leadership in the future will be about building a stage. That’s something every HR practitioner should take note of. In an era when workplace cultures will be increasingly dictated by HR technology like Ask Your Team, perhaps it’s time for HR to take on the starring role?

    *Original article: Employment Today, issue 214.
    For more leadership thinking and insights, visit our resource hub, follow us on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn.

  • Deloitte: Global Human Capital Trends 2019 Report

    An intensifying combination of economic, social, and political issues is forcing HR and business leaders to learn to lead the social enterprise - and reinvent their organizations around a human focus.

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    Diversity & Inclusion: Anonymity key to overcoming unconscious bias

    Diversity and inclusion are priorities for every HR pro today, but too often we shy away from conversations about the biggest barrier to creating more inclusive organisations - unconscious bias.

    Download Discussion Paper

    Deloitte: Global Human Capital Trends 2017 Report

    Deloitte’s 2017 Human Capital Trends survey of leaders from around the world identifies the critical trends shaping the HR agenda.

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    Becoming Irresistible: A New Model for Employee Engagement 

    Josh Bersin, Principal with Deloitte Consulting, on why the traditional employee engagement survey - devoid of modern, actionable solutions - has passed its used-by date. 

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    AskYourTeam for Business

    We analysed the world’s top leadership models to understand what the most successful businesses have in common. Then we built an independently-verified system to help you get to the heart of how your business is doing in each of these make-or-break areas. Find out how AskYourTeam generates breakthroughs in business performance.

    Download eBook

    AskYourTeam for the Public Sector

    We’ve created a system especially for public sector organisations that assesses performance against the Performance Improvement Framework (PIF) and Leadership Success Profile (LSP) models. Find out how you can take your organisation from good to great with AskYourTeam for the Public Sector. 

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    AskYourTeam for Membership Organisations 

    No matter the industry or the size, all membership organisations face similar challenges around growth, retention, and nurturing active involvement from their members. Find out how you can create a voice for your members with AskYourTeam for Membership Organisations. 


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    AskYourTeam for Local Government

    In consultation with EquiP, we've developed a system especially for New Zealand’s Local Government sector. AskYourTeam for Local Government optimises the underpinning processes of the Local Government Excellence Programme. Download the ebook to find out how AskYourTeam can transform your council.

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