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  • The Smith&Smith Story: Taking the Guesswork Out of Leadership

    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

    the smith smith story

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    To find out how AskYourTeam can help your business take the guesswork out of leadership, book a call with one of our experts today.

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  • Beating the bullies

    New Zealand has a shameful history of workplace bullying but there’s a growing movement among workplace culture experts to stamp it out. AskYourTeam CEO Chris O’Reilly investigates. 

    Beyond Engagement

    Today’s businesses are moving on from engagement, focusing instead on their employees’ experience of work and tapping into what they think, says Jude Manuel.

    Checking the pulse

    A new breed of digital HR tools in creating a people-led business revolution and providing a content read on the HR health of an organisation.

    What is this thing called workplace empowerment?

    When a person is genuinely empowered in their job and involved in their organisation, they will become highly engaged, productive, loyal and keen to share their ideas and talk about what they do with colleagues by default. 

    Attraction and retention of millennials through learning and CSR

    Business success depends on having an effective career development strategy in place, but what role does workplace learning,and CSR play in the attraction and retention of millennial?

    Creating a culture that inspires employee loyalty

    Helping senior leaders to understand that they are an integral part in inspiring employee loyalty enables them to acknowledge the value of other people’s ideas and input.

    From talent to team: HR’s generational change

    Talent is no longer regarded as a raw material in the economic equation to be retained for the productive working life of a human, but something to tap into according to the changing needs of the organisation at any moment.

    Are you implementing a culture of empowerment in your organisation?

    Genuine cultures of empowerment can only come about when leaders realise that empowerment isn't an act of benevolence toward those lower down the pecking order than them.

    How to make Continuous Performance Management work?

    Performance appraisals are widely unpopular with both staff and managers. People are now querying whether annual performance reviews and ratings are best serving the needs of organisations and individuals.

    A time to reflect, redefine and upskill

    In an age of disruption and transformation, career transitions are the norm. Equipping people with the skills to move on will differentiate an organisation in the eyes of those who remain.

    The dictator is dead. Killed by technology.

    The industrial age command and control leadership is dead. It was killed by digital technology that allows people throughout an organisation to have their say in how it should be run.

    Anonymity key to overcoming unconscious bias

    Unconscious bias is the great unsolved problem of modern HR and one of the intractable barriers to building a truly diverse organisation. Almost all people hold subtle biases based on gender, ethnic and other differences and we are surprisingly powerless to do much about it.

    Digital tools create a people-led business revolution

    In the past decade, the operations side of business has been revolutionised by digital connectivity. Now the smart businesses in every industry are looking for the next advantage by redesigning their organisations using a new class of digital tools and analytics driven data. 

    Wisdom from Women -New Zealand women leaders on leadership

    What makes a great leader? Watch four inspirational New Zealand female leaders sharing their views and thoughts on the topic this International Women’s Day.

    Building workplace cultures where unsafe behaviour is not tolerated

    The consequences of allowing bullying to survive in a workplace culture can be profound. From mental health issues to lost productivity and talent retention problems, bullying has the potential to undermine an organisation and cause serious harm to its members

    Why the future belongs to HR

    There has been a seismic shift from management by engagement to leadership by involvement that is changing the way we think about everything from the war for talent to how we build organisational culture. 

    Strengths and Weaknesses of New Zealand Leaders

    Powerful new benchmarking insights have been made available for the first time from leadership survey AskYourTeam into the strengths and weaknesses of Kiwi leadership. 

    5 Tips for Transitioning from an Engagement Survey to AskYourTeam

    After years of using a traditional engagement survey, Smith&Smith made the transition to AskYourTeam.  Pati Bloor, Smith&Smith's People and Leadership Director, shares her top five tips for a successful transition. 

    AskYourTeam: A System Your Leaders Will Love

    Throughout my years as an organisational development specialist, I've noticed leaders are sometimes less-than-enthusiastic about 'HR' initiatives such as engagement surveys. I think that's understandable.

    Engagement: Does it Matter Any More?

    In the early days of ‘staff surveys’ we measured staff satisfaction. We then deepened our questioning to understand what made our employees feel committed to go that extra mile or ‘stay, say and strive’. It worked well for some organisations, but many have plateaued.

    Are You Measuring What Matters?

    As leaders, it’s easy to measure what we're comfortable with, instead of what will actually have the greatest impact on the success of our business. But without a systematic approach to measuring what really matters, your business is unlikely to reach its true potential.

    You Don't Have All the Answers (and that's OK)

    Leadership is no longer about the visionary guru leading the charge. That idea belongs to a time when businesses operated in a slower world. Command-and-control leadership was the norm. Times have changed.

    Why Smart Businesses are Focussing on Performance Before Engagement

    The traditional way of thinking about engagement is linear - employee engagement leads to improved business performance. But recent research is pointing to a much more circular model. 

  • 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.

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    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.

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    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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