It's a common misconception that times of uncertainty or change are bad times for organisations to ask for employee feedback. Often, this is when employees most want to be heard, and seeking feedback during change, rather than after, can help organisations change for the better more successfully.

Construction firm Arrow International, are an excellent example of an organisation effectively using employee feedback throughout times of change. For Arrow's Christchurch business, the last 18 months have included several major earthquakes (and thousands of aftershocks), the loss of their physical workplace, signing a major partnership agreement to join the rebuild effort, and the subsequent hiring of over 100 new staff.

CEO Hugh Morrison knew that Arrow's strong culture had served the company well. Taking part in the Best Workplaces Survey in mid-2011 allowed Arrow's leaders to not only check that existing employees were remaining engaged, but also examine how well the many new employees integrated into the Arrow culture. The survey results also provided insight into staff felt how newly promoted leaders in Christchurch were performing.

"We have this expression in Arrow; 'Leaderful teams' - and Christchurch is really one of those. We were impressed by the depth of our people there and also pleasantly surprised when individuals we might not have expected stepped up and really took their opportunity."


Of course, it's taken more than culture and leadership to ensure new staff feel at home. For example, a consistent induction process set clear expectations of new staff, and then all staff fell into a regular two-monthly personal development feedback cycle.

In fact, Arrow staff are enjoying the company so much, Arrow was named a finalist in both the best and most improved medium-large workplace categories in the 2011 Best Workplaces Survey - invaluable recognition for an organisation still looking for great people to help fuel growth.

The Kenexa Best Workplaces Survey is run in association with the NZ Herald and is supported by KiwiBank and the Department of Labour. The survey runs from May 1 to August 31. Call (09) 378 2003, or see