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  • The Swanndri Story: Building a More Collaborative and Productive Workplace

    A path of recovery for an iconic Kiwi business

    Swanndri was established in 1913 by William Broome, a tailor who developed the first ‘bush shirt’ for Kiwi farmers. It soon became an iconic brand that’s synonymous with rural New Zealand. Since 2010, the business has worked hard to stay relevant and grow market share in an increasingly urbanised world. Their redefined brand strategy enabled Swanndri to stay loyal to their rural backbone, while expanding into overseas markets and New Zealand’s cities through smart product development and distribution partnerships. Nowadays, you’re almost as likely to find a ‘Swanny’ hanging in an urban wardrobe as you are a rural one. 

    Searching for a way to take stock

    Breathing new life into the Swanndri brand hasn’t been without its challenges. Mark Nevin, Swanndri’s CEO says, “We’re a small, flexible, fast organisation that’s been working really hard to change the business. Sometimes when you do that you forget some of the little things you need to pay attention to.” Mark recognised it was time to take stock. “Like a lot of organisations, we have our backs against the wall. You complete one task or one season and you move on to the next, without actually taking a moment to reflect on what you did well and what you didn’t.” Swanndri wanted a system that would allow them to measure how they were doing in all of the areas that impact business success. It would need to be flexible, real-time and easy-to-use. AskYourTeam was the only system available that ticked all these boxes.

    Involving the whole team in Swanndri’s success

    Since AskYourTeam drills down into the areas that research has shown have the greatest impact on business success, Mark was initially a little hesitant about what the system might uncover. “Once I overcame any anxieties that I had about the level of scrutiny I might be under as  a leader, I was really enthusiastic about what the system could do for us.

    It was almost cathartic in many ways, because it was like a weight being taken off my shoulders and shared around the group.

    Mark was delighted with the way the Swanndri team embraced the AskYourTeam system. “Even in the first meeting there was a whole lot of positivity around the room. The benefit of the whole group being involved is that it allows for everyone to have an equal voice, not just management or the vocal few.”

    Bringing gold to the surface

    The results from Swanndri’s first company-wide baseline survey showed the business was performing strongly. However it did pinpoint a number of areas for improvement. One of these was enabling the team to have a better understanding of what their colleagues’ jobs entailed.

    Mark explains, “Everyone knew what each person’s job title was, but they didn’t actually know what they did on a day-to-day basis, and how their jobs might influence others within the business.” The team decided to run a series of presentations where each staff member talked about what they do in their jobs, and what challenges they faced. Mark was surprised at how immediately effective this process was. The result has been been a more collaborative and productive workforce.

    AskYourTeam works with Swanndri to build a stronger business

    Mark is enthusiastic about the support Swanndri received from AskYourTeam throughout the entire process. “Before our first survey AskYourTeam clearly explained how the system works and what I needed to do prior to commencement, and provided support and reminders during the survey. They helped me to interpret the results and understand where to prioritise my attention, and also how to deliver the results to enable the team to collectively come up with solutions.”

    The future is bright for one of New Zealand’s most-loved brands

    To date, Swanndri has conducted two business-wide baseline surveys, and one customised re-test. Mark reports, “We made significant improvement across the whole business, but a couple of areas where we’d been performing pretty poorly showed the biggest improvement of all. It was just fantastic. It was a credit to the team.”

    And it’s not just management who are thrilled with the results. Mark says using AskYourTeam has had a positive flow-on effect at all levels of the business. “Economically we’re doing really well, and so there’s a whole synergy that comes into play, because people are feeling really good about their roles, the business is performing well, and it all starts layering up on each other.”

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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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