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Best Practice Award for People Roading New Zealand Excellence Awards 2013 Awarded to Downer NZ – The Road to Leadership Excellence CHRIS MEADE EXECUTIVE GENERAL MANAGER HR “Things move on, we raise the bar, so we need to make sure our programmes are still relevant to our business. Apart from our internal programmes, many of our people are studying for PhDs, MBAs and post-graduate diplomas at university. We bring in industry experts for thought-leadership, and had Graham Henry visit every single part of our business to share his experience in developing a world-class team. We like to bring in fairly topical people to help stimulate thinking at work.” All of this investment in learning and development, and taking a genuine interest in each employee, is paying off for Downer. Employee retention has improved, with turnover reduced from 27 per cent in 2008 to 14 per cent last year. “There are a lot of factors contributing to employee retention” says Meade. “We make sure that everyone has plenty of elbow room to develop and grow, to be accountable and to take responsibility for their actions. We treat people well, have regular conversations with them, foster new ideas and offer an enormous range of work and career paths.” There is a lot to building a good culture, explains Meade, and THE ‘LEADERSHIP WITHOUT RANK’ PHILOSOPHY WITHIN DOWNER PROMOTES AN ENVIRONMENT WHERE EVERYONE HAS A SAY. “We have found that by investing in people’s development there has been a real, big change in their attitude at work. People see that we have invested in them and, in return, they stick with us – we have built loyalty.” DOWNER / IN BLACK & WHITE / 19


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