Connecting wellbeing with business performance for NZ’s largest provider of telecommunications infrastructure

On paper, Chorus is New Zealand’s largest telecommunications infrastructure company. Their 2500-strong workforce manages, maintains, and builds a network of local telephone exchanges, cabinets, and copper and fibre cables. But underneath that is a story of connection. Connecting people with business opportunities so they can be armchair entrepreneurs. Connecting children to great educational tools that give them a chance to learn. And connecting colleagues from any boardroom in the world in a matter of seconds. Chorus recognised that to create those connections for their customers, they first needed to create strong connections with their people. And that started with prioritising the health and wellbeing of their employees.
“We fundamentally believe commitment to health and wellbeing is one of the key enablers for our business performance.” Shaun Philp, Chief People Officer

Challenge: getting buy-in for a wellbeing transformation

Chorus embarked on a three-year cultural transformation program that aimed to raise awareness about mental health and wellbeing to improve engagement and business performance. However, Shaun and his team knew if they wanted to create a wellbeing program that was going to truly transform their organisation, they needed support and buy-in from their leadership team. And to do that, they needed to measure impact. “Boards and executive teams want to know return on investment, they want to know the difference that it’s making,” said Shaun. “We needed a tool that was best in class, relevant to the New Zealand market, but also enabled us to be globally benchmarked.”

Solution: Intelligent Listening to link wellbeing and business performance

The Chorus team sought the help of employee engagement platform, Peakon, a Workday company. Chorus implemented the full suite of Peakon’s tools, including:
  • Peakon Engage: captures real-time feedback across the organisation using Intelligent Listening technology and then delivers insights that correlate employee engagement and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) metrics to business KPIs so organisations can make informed decisions.
  • Peakon Include: provides real-time insights with a holistic view of DE&I data that reflects employees’ unique experiences.
  • Peakon Grow: a collaborative feedback platform that drives ongoing employee growth and development at all levels through continuous performance feedback.
In the two years since implementing the solution, the Chorus team have witnessed fundamental changes in the way wellbeing is perceived and managed within the organisation. And this has had a dramatic impact on their team and business. “Peakon has brought cultural engagement to the forefront of all our people, leaders, jobs, and responsibilities,” Shaun explained. “It allows leaders to track engagement from a team level, but most importantly, it allows the board and executive team to track overall engagement because it’s engagement that drives culture, and it’s culture that drives business performance.”

Raising more than engagement: business performance skyrockets

Shaun says that these changes have not only had a positive impact on their people – it’s also had a direct impact on their business performance.  
“Business performance is critical to the overall success of the organisation and introducing Peakon to have a real-time live dynamic insight into the engagement and culture of the organisation has been hugely successful in driving business performance for our shareholders and our customers.” Shaun Philp, Chief People Officer

« Not just a tool for HR »

One of the key features Shaun calls out is the user-friendly interface and intuitive nature of Peakon’s tools. This, he says, has helped drive adoption and enthusiasm across the business. “The fundamental difference with Peakon is that it’s not just a tool for HR,” Shaun explained. “Our whole organisation has embraced it as a way to drive engagement and culture change.” “It’s intuitive, it’s simple, and it’s really easy to use. It’s a really well-loved tool,” Shaun said.

Effortless reporting saves time and boosts confidence

When it comes to creating board papers, Peakon has helped save a significant amount of time Shaun would have spent creating customised reports. It also gives him the confidence that his leadership team is accessing the most relevant, up-to-date information. “It’s simplified my board paper process because I now just showcase the dashboard in real time,” he said. “Immediately after the results have closed out, we’re able to showcase to the Board a whole raft of rich information about how engagement is tracking at Chorus.”

Award-winning results

For Shaun and his team, there’s no doubt that their increased focus on wellbeing has paid off. All the same, some external validation is always welcome. Chorus’ wellbeing program was awarded “Best Health and Wellbeing Program” at the 2020 HRD Awards New Zealand. They’ve also ranked in the top 5% in Peakon’s global benchmark, which uses data points from over 160 million unique surveys to measure progress and performance.
“Peakon is one part of the secret sauce that has allowed us to get fundamental cut-through with mental health and wellbeing at Chorus. We’ve been able to track the change that we’ve seen in our culture. And ultimately we’ve been able to link it to the overall improvement in business performance.” Shaun Philp, Chief People Officer