HR at Z Energy: Fuelling productivity from the top

Z Energy New Zealand’s recently appointed general manager of people and culture chats with HRM about Z’s HR techniques and her career achievements before the move.

HR at Z Energy: Fuelling productivity from the top
Sharlene Taylor has been in her role as GM of people and culture at Z Energy New Zealand for three months, having made the move following a tenure in HR at Fletcher Building.

“I was in a place where I was starting to think about wanting to make a change, and after talking to the executives, Z felt like good fit as the company’s values aligned with mine,” she told HRM. “I really found the prospect of moving into both the role and Z exciting, as well as being able to move into an organisation that lived and breathed its values.”

Taylor also shed some light on what drove her into her first HR role.

“I’ve always been really passionate about people,” she explained. “Without people feeling that their contributions are making a difference, an organisation can’t really move forward. Being able to put different, simple things into place that get employees happy and feeling engaged means that HR’s work is adding value to bottom line.”

Taylor actually began her career in support services, and was inspired to move into HR by her colleagues.

“I watched what was happening in the HR space – how that was evolving and what a difference you could make if you get the simple things right,” she said.

“We do a lot of things at Z which are very different,” Taylor said. “We want to be seen as a world class Kiwi company, so we’re focused on linking breakthrough workforce performance to positive business outcomes and continuing our great work in the leadership space. This means that we see everyone as a leader at Z – and we believe it takes extraordinary leadership to achieve extraordinary results.”

Z’s HR strategy centres around putting the right people into the right roles, building a strong capacity to push the organisation where it needs to go.

“Our talent pipeline is fantastic,” she continued. “Internal placements are a key focus, but we’re also highly focused on attracting the best external talent with our brand and EVP.”

Z’s EVP is focused on key areas around leadership and development, with an emphasis on the fact that all staff members have a key role to play in relation to leadership; employees are “developed with that in mind”.

Before taking on her role at Z, Taylor held the position of change and HR manager at Fletcher Building.

“During my roles at Fletcher Building working at manufacturing sites, the workforce was predominantly made up of production workers – it was a key priority for us to lift engagement in this area of the business,” Taylor told HRM. “Alongside the GM, I put a robust and basic engagement strategy into place, which lifted engagement over a short time.”

The strategy was a plan that looked at core issues and the bigger picture in terms of what mattered to employees outside of work.

“The employees’ families and health were what they valued, so part of the plan focused on that,” Taylor said. “There were linkages with how the guys were dealing with their own health – which is particularly important in their line of work – and we encouraged them to take it seriously, leading to an improvement in their general wellbeing.”

“The environment made it difficult for employees to talk about things with management,” she told HRM. “We made sure we were visible out there on the frontline, getting to know the workers, which had a huge impact.”

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