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Engagement Reinforced

fletcher building

Fletcher Building

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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Staff at Leading Dairy Exporter Prepare for Change

Dealing with the uncertainty associated with a company restructure can be tough. The lack of control that staff experience often causes people to feel disorientated and powerless. This can result in strong emotions, high stress and negative feelings towards the company – from both those who are ultimately made redundant, and those who end up staying.

When staff are asked to go through a change that is potentially difficult and which may result in redundancy, most companies are, thankfully, keen to do the right thing these days. There’s a moral and professional obligation to ensure employees are well supported and remain active and engaged throughout the process. After all, the company’s reputation is on the line.

So how can organisations approach and implement change  – sensitively and sensibly?

This was the brief from one of New Zealand’s top dairy exporters. They asked Changeability to help them mentally prepare for a company restructure that would affect several staff at various levels of the organisation.

After an initial briefing from the Human Resources team, Changeability created a tailor-made readiness workshop.

The workshop – which catered for small working groups of 4 to 16 people –  gave staff the opportunity to think about the approaching change. Employees were encouraged to acknowledge and express their emotions evoked by the uncertain future. For some, this enabled them to voice their concerns – many of which had previously remained unspoken.

The programme provided staff with some simple tools and techniques to assist them in navigating the process successfully. For example, they were invited to ‘chose an attitude’ that they could use ‘as a rudder’ through the process and to focus on taking a proactive approach to managing their own experience of the change.

A Senior HR Manager at the high-profile company said of the outcomes:

“I’ve been involved in many restructures but I’ve never seen people deal with the uncertainty as well as they have this time.”

“Staff are focussing on what they can influence. They are taking proactive steps to support themselves and each other and colleagues from other departments have been commenting on how well our team is coping with the change and how people are still so focussed on business as usual”

Dick Downing, Enterprise Manager at Changeability, who facilitated the programme, said:

“The development of personal action plans for each person was central to success. The plans helped individuals prepare for the process and focus on what they could influence. They also provided people with a tool to use to help them to positively navigate the change process.”

Please visit our Contact Page to request a copy of the full case study.

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Assessing change readiness at Fletchers

Fletcher Building

The business need

Fletcher Building was in the early stages of an ambitious culture change across all divisions and all business units. The culture change was to be supported by a training programme that would teach a new approach to health and safety in the workplace.

Fletcher Building had selected and trained a group of trainers to roll-out the training to the business. However before they started to deliver the programme, change leaders wanted to know how ready the trainers were for this vital role, and what did they need from managers to make it happen?

What we did

Changeability began by spending some time getting a very clear understanding of the project and its goals. Having identified exactly what Fletcher wanted to assess amongst the group of trainers, a unique online survey was created and implemented involving 48 staff.

After an initial analysis of the survey results, a group of 15 respondents were invited to participate in a 2-hour focus group designed to drill down into issues and themes highlighted in the survey. Finally a straightforward report, designed to assist Fletcher Building in maximizing the success of their planning, was prepared and delivered to the change leaders.


The survey, focus group and subsequent report gave a clear picture of how prepared the trainers were for the job of rolling out this vital training across the business and what support managers could give them that would be helpful. The report included ideas and solutions from the group and simple recommendations on where managers needed to focus.

What the customer said

“The Changeability report shone a bright light on the needs of our trainers and identified issues we just simply hadn’t thought about. The knowledge gained from using these external facilitators has meant that we can target the issues of real importance and as a result we’re much more confident of a good result for the change process”.

Hans Buwalda, Environment, Health and Safety Manager, Infrastructure Division, Fletcher Building

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New Zealand Blood Service

New Zealand Blood Service

The business need

Since 1998 the New Zealand Blood Service (NZBS) has been helping to meet the health needs of New Zealanders by providing safe, appropriate and timely access to blood and tissue products and other related services.

A decision was made that their established IT system, used for managing the traceability of blood from donor to recipient, no longer met modern standards for resiliency and in 2010 NZBS embarked on a major project to upgrade the system.

As a fundamental business critical change it was important that everything was done to help ensure this upgrade was a success. Change often fails due to lack of engagement from key people and NZBS were keen to avoid such a costly failure.

The project team identified Lead Users as fundamental to successful implementation. Their role was to be pivotal in helping to deliver training to Users and ensuring that the move from one system to another was smooth and effective.
Change Leaders wanted to increase engagement and to identify any unforseen barriers or risks that, if left hidden, could impede or even derail the process. They wanted to assess the readiness of their Lead Users to play their part in this important change and wanted some practical recommendations on where to target their management resources to increase the likelihood of success.

What we did

Changeability provided the perfect solution for NZ Blood. Their experience in using a solid evidence and research based approach to supporting successful change was invaluable. All Lead Users attended a Moving Through Change workshop which provided an engaging mix of practical input, group activities and facilitator led discussion. The workshop included the Changeability Readiness Assessment and resulted in each Lead User completing their own action plan on how to play their part in delivering the change successfully.

Data captured during the workshops was collated and analysed by Changeability’s psychologist in order to make practical recommendations to strengthen the change process and deliver the outcomes of the project for NZ Blood.
A report was delivered to Change Leaders containing the recommendations and simple justifications, together with a snapshot of the key themes and messages gathered from Lead Users during the workshops.


The workshops and subsequent recommendations were an essential part of the risk management process and helped NZ Blood to deliver the change on time and to specification. Lead Users were engaged and motivated to play their crucial part in the implementation process while Change Leaders were able to apply a number of practical recommendations, based on an accurate analysis of what was needed, to ensure the change process would be successful.

What the customer said

“The Changeability report provided an accurate view of issues and barriers that could compromise the acceptance of the new system. After analysing the data they were able to give us some clear and concise recommendations. These enabled us to focus management time in the right areas and helped us to deliver the project outcomes and avoid any costly delays. I particularly liked the fact that it was not just a bunch of findings but the report told us exactly what we had to do to make sure the change was a success – it even prioritised the actions for us.”

John Cox, Project Manager, NZ Blood

“The workshop significantly increased the level of engagement shown by Lead Users at a crucial stage of the change. They came out of the workshop positively glowing and highly motivated to play their part. Delivering the project on time was vital and the Changeability workshop was very important in helping us to achieve such a positive result.”

Allison Eldon, Change Manager, NZ Blood

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Westpac Workforce Resilience

Westpac Bank

The business need

As an integral part of the Christchurch communities Westpac New Zealand understood that it was their responsibility to come to the immediate aid of staff during such a traumatic time, providing support and counsel to employees and their families. Despite the most courageous attempts by employees to be resilient, many struggled to cope with the trauma of the quakes and the associated uncertainty. Overwhelmed by a flood of powerful emotions these employees found it difficult to adjust to a life that had been changed forever. While counselling provided short-term relief, Westpac understood that their employees needed the support of a long-term program to help them get through. They also believed that retaining their workforce was critical to preserving their invaluable customer base. This meant empowering staff with a set of tools to ensure they had the resilience to overcome adversity and remain emotionally stable during difficult times. As a result Westpac sought to engage an organisation capable of helping staff work through the trauma of the past earthquakes, as well as provide employees with the skills to overcome future challenges.

What we did

Changeability provided the perfect solution for Westpac. Their experience in trauma recovery and supporting communities through adversity ensured they could lay the foundations for the long-term wellbeing of Westpac staff. Furthermore Changeability was a not-for-profit social enterprise, meaning Westpac could be certain that any proceeds would be filtered back for community benefit. Working closely with employees, Changeability sought to instil a culture of sustainable resiliency at Westpac. Personal resiliency workshops gave staff the opportunity to come together and share their experiences. They also provided the chance for staff to take the time to assess their own levels of resilience. These exercises provided insight into the strengths and weaknesses of each individual, and allowed personal long-term resiliency action plans to be developed. The second phase of workshops held by Changeability focused on distress management in the workplace. By working staff through different scenarios Changeability and Westpac were able to collaboratively develop a distress management framework which provided employees with a set of tools to effectively manage customers during difficult circumstances, preventing situations from escalating and preserving valuable relationships.


The workshops run by Changeability returned the self-belief to Westpac staff. As one employee explained, “it was just such a relief to understand my own emotions and to know that others felt the same way”. This relief provided peace of mind for employees moving forward, and together with the distress management framework gave employees renewed confidence that they could continue to provide a great service whatever the future would throw at them. “I’m just so much more confident in myself and my ability to deal with stressful situations in the future” explained one employee, while others stressed the practical nature of the solutions that Changeability provided. “The framework Changeability gave us was just so practical – not only will I be able to take away the resiliency ideas and practice them, but I will be able to implement the distress management guidelines immediately.” In choosing to work with Changeability, Westpac understood that they couldn’t predict the future, but they sure could plan for it.

What the customer said

“Focusing on the emotional wellbeing of our employees has helped us to safeguard the future of our business.  Now Westpac can now look ahead with confidence and excitement to work with the communities of Christchurch and build a stronger, more prosperous city.”

Joanne Nicol, Head of Organisational Development, Westpac

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