High Performance Engagement

While employee participation initiatives are not new in New Zealand the High Performance Engagement initiative at Air New Zealand is unique in it size and scope.

"Air New Zealand’s 11,000 or so staff are highly unionised and the high performance engagement initiative has involved a number of unions including the EPMU, the Aviation & Marine Engineers Association, the New Zealand Airline Pilots Association (NZALPA), the Federation of Air New Zealand Pilots, and the Flight Attendants and Related Services Association (FARSA)."  

Read more from the Business Desk at Scoop Media:

"Air New Zealand has spent the past 18 months working with its staff and unions on high performance engagement designed to lift productivity by allowing worker participation in decision-making."

Behind Air New Zealand's High Performance Engagement initiative is a significant culture shift.  

Read more from the NZ Herald:

"What's it really like to work at Air NZ?"

"The new strategy is a big cultural shift, which has been "confronting" for unions and managers."

Bruce Parton, Chief Operations Officer, Air New Zealand

"You can't buy engagement - it comes from treating people with respect and dignity and listening."

Lorraine Murphy, Chief People Officer, Air New Zealand

High Performance Engagement is an outcome.  It is an outcome of a High Performance Culture.

High Performance Cultures are built on three foundations:
  1. Involving the people closest to the business problems in the problem solving. To do this successfully requires a collaboration between those impacted by the problem directly as well as subject matter experts and management.
  2. Constructive inter-personal behaviour between the people involved in the problem solving.  There are particular behaviour styles that are effective in problem solving and particular ones that are destructive.
  3. Systems thinking.  This is a form of rational thinking that has a whole system focus (as opposed to a localised or silo focus).  At Air New Zeland they use Interest Based Problem Solving.
The combination of these three things when practiced consistently has a profound impact on the way people think and behave, how they make decisions and in turn creates a set of culture norms that is highly engaging.  It is well established that culture is a driving force of performance for all organisations.
But High Performance Engagement is not just about creating healthy Employer/Union relationships.

Every commercial business has to get three things right to be sustainable:
  1. It must satisfy it's shareholders by making more money now and in the future (Commercial).
  2. It must satisfy it's customers by improving it's service and products (Customer).
  3. It must provide security and satisfaction for it's employees (Culture).
Each of these are dependent on each other.  

To satisfy shareholders commercial expectations it is necessary to satisfy customers and have secure and satisfied employees (the capitalist view).

To satisfy customer expectations it is necessary to have secure and satisfies employees and commercial satisfaction.

To satisfy security and satisfaction for employees it is necessary to have commercial satisfaction and customer satisfaction (the socialist view).

Encouraging employees to derive security and satisfaction from improving customer service for a positive commercial outcome is smart business.  It is the only way to leverage all three conditions at the same time.

Here are Lion Nathan's results from adopting a High Performance Culture:
High Performance Culture
Read more from Human Synergistics:

Financial Returns From Organizational Culture Improvement: Translating “Soft” Changes into “Hard” Dollars

Experienced High Performance Engagement Facilitator

KP 75x75

Karl Perry

Learn more about Karl
Public Profilehttps://nz.linkedin.com/in/karlgperry