Harrison Grierson is an engineering business that has been around for over 130 years.
It felt it had exciting and diverse projects, a range of skilled people to learn from, structured career development and a friendly, open and supportive internal culture focused on personal wellbeing.
With an increasing population and infrastructure challenges, the engineering industry in New Zealand is growing exponentially, and with that comes higher competition over talent across all disciplines in the sector.
Although Harrison Grierson already had a strong brand and positive internal culture, the current climate and industry-wide shortage of talent meant it wasn’t attracting enough of the right talent to fulfil what it needed.
It had the makings of a great employer but without the ability to voice it, particularly when competing with louder, larger voices in market.
It needed to ensure these potential employees (who had so many companies like Harrison Grierson vying for their attention) knew within a matter of moments that Harrison Grierson was where they wanted to be.
Just as important as recruiting, it also needed to ensure it was retaining the excellent sta it already had. Turnover has always been an issue in the engineering industry, particularly movement between competing firms.
All of these factors led to the need to create a strong and engaging internal employer brand that told people what was in it for them and what its staff could be proud of, and so HG+ME was born.
Research told Harrison Grierson what people were looking for and where it sat in relation to the ideal ‘employer’. From the research it chose three values to underpin its new brand: opportunity, inspiration and teamwork.
These sat alongside the HG+ME lock up and brand assets, which were colourful and fun while still being a recognisable subset of the master brand.
Harrison Grierson photographed its own people to be the faces of HG+ME internally and to the wider world. This meant the brand was both built on insights provided by its people, and visually heroed them as its champions.
A fun and energetic brand like HG+ME hadn't been seen before and certainly wasn't expected in the engineering sector.
It used its company-wide ‘Wellness Fortnight’ to launch HG+ME. Its people were offered mentoring and training programmes ranging from personal wellbeing and health to financial advice. Its offices across seven different New Zealand locations were also adorned with collateral, showcasing its new internal brand.
HG+ME was well recieved. Harrison Grierson exceeded expectations (and the previous year's participation and engagement scores) with a 95 percent participation rate for its 2018 IBM Best Workplaces Survey. Around its ‘Living Well’ questions, it had increased across the board from its 2016 survey, for example “This organisation cares about the well-being of its people” was up from 78.4 to 83.1 percent.
In the comments section of the survey a range of people mentioned HG+ME and its associated wellbeing programme as being one of the best things it had done over the previous 12 months.
Crucially, since launching HG+ME, it saw turnover decrease across the organisation by around 8 percent over the previous 12 month period. Overall its recruitment numbers were more consistent across a monthly basis as well, taking a lot of the strain off its HR team.
It now runs regular wellbeing initiatives using the HG+ME brand, and has a passionate group of sta across the organisation that make this happen.
The success of HG+ME goes to show that investing in sta and work culture in fun and non-corporate ways can improve the overall wellbeing of sta as well as providing economic benefits.