Early in 2014 Jane McLaren, Fletcher Steel Manufacturing Manager was given the challenging task of leading a major steel plant to closure, while maintaining a high production capability and safety standards! As could be expected, the impact on plant staff was significant.
After 50 years producing steel, Fletcher Building was reshaping its business and decided to sell the Pacific Steel Group. The deal required Fletchers to continue producing steel until BlueScope, the new owner, built a new plant.
Many workers had long service, were on high pay rates and faced the prospect of very limited steel manufacturing job opportunities elsewhere. The key challenge was to maintain a motivated and high performing manufacturing staff right through to closure.
Jane knew she needed help to achieve this and partnered with Changeability because of their proven ability to positively engage people through change.
With the plant closure confirmed the business need was to steady the ship and focus on maintaining performance.
The immediate priority was the plant leadership team. These managers and shift leaders were the frontline regarding motivation and performance and ensuring staff were engaged, supported and operating safely.
What was needed was a cohesive team who were fully engaged and committed to the objectives and who were able to proactively lead their staff through to the date of closure.
Following the closure announcement there was an urgent need to create a change plan and Jane was clear on the importance of her team creating the plan together.
Changeability ran targeted workshops with the plant leadership team, including gaining insight into how the leadership team were experiencing the change. The resulting feedback, evaluated by their psychologist, enabled Changeability to make robust recommendations to improve, focus and strengthen the change plan.
Changeability worked with managers and staff to build their change leadership capability and to provide practical tools to help them navigate this challenging period of change.
Using Changeability helped managers and shift leaders positively adjust to the news of closure.
Providing external support for both managers and staff helped them deal with the initial uncertainty and enabled Jane McLaren to ensure strong and consistent leadership throughout.
The result was that the business was able to meet its challenging KPI’s and to deliver high production output during one of the most difficult periods imaginable.
Jane McLaren, Manufacturing Manager, Fletcher Steel Ltd said:
“Changeability has helped us to continue to perform at a high level through very challenging circumstances. With their help we have delivered a change process that enabled people to feel respected, engaged and supported.”
“Since we have been working with Changeability the plant performance has been really good. This is a reflection of the engagement they have helped us to create.”
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