How a Culture of Engagement Supports Synlait's Success

Don't worry; you're not the only leader who's feeling the pressures to attract, retain and develop talent.
In today's workplace, scoring top-shelf talent is more important -- and difficult -- than ever.
Leaders at Synlait, a specialist dairy manufacturing company in New Zealand, are no stranger to this challenge.
Every day, Synlait leaders strive to create an exceptional place to work -- the kind of workplace that attracts talent and inspires employees to excel.
To this end, Synlait had completed annual engagement surveys with other vendors. Unfortunately, these efforts had not led to meaningful, sustainable change.
Synlait leaders knew they needed to equip managers and leaders to reach performance goals and create a talent-magnet work culture.
Looking for practical solutions and proven analytics, they turned to Gallup.
Synlait leaders knew they needed to equip managers and leaders to reach performance goals and create a talent-magnet work culture.
Gallup's research proves that organizations with flourishing cultures focus on managers. These world-class companies invest in transformative manager development and hold managers accountable for metrics that matter.

Get Hired Today

With this in mind, Synlait leaders and managers completed Gallup's Leading High-Performance Teams course. The course equipped managers and leaders with proven techniques for engaging employees -- such as how to lead effective coaching conversations that energize employees and fuel excellence.
Course participants also discover how to use their unique talents to lead more effectively and make the most of their natural strengths.
Gallup research proves that organizations with flourishing cultures focus on managers. These world-class companies invest in transformative manager development and hold managers accountable for metrics that matter.
Tony Aitken, Synlait's Organisation Development Manager, describes the course as the beginning of a pivotal change at Synlait:
"Very quickly, we had managers coming to us demanding to know the strengths of their team members, wanting to better understand who they are as individuals so they could meet their needs and motivate them to be the best they can be. The demand for CliftonStrengths was being driven by the managers in the business."
Consequently, Synlait leaders chose to unify their employees by offering CliftonStrengths 34 to all employees. Leaders also appointed and developed internal CliftonStrengths champions -- certified coaches who help individuals at all levels understand, apply and grow their strengths.
Synlait managers take ownership of their team engagement and performance with the help of Gallup Access -- a platform that empowers managers to track employee analytics and discover what the world's greatest managers do differently. With Gallup Access, Synlait managers are free to use a wide range of Gallup tools and tailor their engagement strategies to the needs of their people.
For example, many Synlait managers use employee survey data to start a dialogue with employees about what they need and how to better support their success.
Over time, Synlait leaders have embedded Gallup's proven management strategies in organizational processes, such as their performance management practices.
Many Synlait managers use employee survey data to start a dialogue with employees about what they need and how to better support their success.
To support these efforts, Gallup connected Synlait leaders with companies that have used Gallup's workplace solutions to achieve world-class performance. Synlait leaders source knowledge from these exceptional workplaces -- learning practical strategies and discovering more about what the best do differently.
Over three years, Synlait has cultivated a thriving culture of engagement.
In turn, business outcomes are also booming.
Over 12 months, Synlait's profitability rose by 88% (public) and share price increased 100%. Quality and safety outcomes have also improved dramatically -- including a 67% decrease in quality complaints, a 30% decrease in injury severity and a 60% decrease in injury rates for the manufacturing workgroup.
In addition, Synlait has seen meaningful improvements in turnover, stop time, plant output and other performance measures.
Part of Synlait's success can be attributed to leaders viewing employee engagement as just one driver of success that complements their holistic workplace culture efforts.
Over 12 months, Synlait's profitability rose by 88% (public) and share price increased 100%. Quality and safety outcomes have also improved dramatically -- including a 67% decrease in quality complaints, a 30% decrease in injury severity and a 60% decrease in injury rates for the manufacturing workgroup.
Here's how Aitken explains it:
"Engagement isn't the only reason for these great business results, but you can't get these improvements if employees are not engaged in what we are doing."
For employees, being part of a company that invests in its people contributes to a rich, rewarding employee experience.
So it's no surprise that Synlait employees are more positive, unified and driven. They are passionate about helping their company succeed because they know that their leaders and managers truly care. This makes them authentic, compelling brand ambassadors.
But investing in employees has done far more than strengthen Synlait's employer brand and lure talented candidates.
By using proven tactics for supporting performance, Synlait supports its overarching goal: creating a healthier world by producing exceptional milk products.
In other words, Synlait's efforts are a win-win-win -- for its employees, the organization and its customers.