Award winning partnership in leadership development and change management receives excellence award

​Transition to a global supply model

​Holcim (New Zealand) Ltd is a leading supplier of cement, aggregates and ready-mixed concrete in New Zealand. Its involvement in the New Zealand building industry dates back to 1888. It is part of the regional Holcim Australia/New Zealand business and the global LafargeHolcim Group, the world's leading supplier of cement, aggregates and construction related services represented in 90 countries on all continents. The Group has 115,000 employees around the world and combined net sales of CHF 33 billion in 2014.

​‘Holcim wanted to maintain its values and exit with a lasting positive legacy.'

​In August 2013, it was announced that Holcim New Zealand would change its cement supply model to global sourcing as its Westport plant was nearing the end of its economic life. Holcim invested in the creation of two new cement terminals built in Timaru and Auckland, once operational, Westport would discontinue operation. From the day of the announcement, a timeframe of 2-3 years was given and in June 2014 employees were advised that the closure of the plant would take place during the second half of 2016.

​Placing importance on positively impacting local communities and staff, Holcim wanted to ensure that the closure of its plant in Westport was seamless, non-disruptive and left its people with the right skills and capability to not only find the next role but excel within it.

​The project scope included a customised, world-class personal and leadership development training programme that would equip leaders with practical development to help manage the extended transition and to differentiate themselves in a competitive work environment.

​During the transition to closure, a Transition Project Team provided support and offered internal and externally sourced training and coaching for employees so that they were up-skilled to prepare and transition to the next stage of their working life. CDL Insight was an integral part of the Holcim journey and together with the project team aided in seamlessly transitioning the closure of its Westport cement manufacturing plant. To make the change initiative successful, Holcim was committed to providing best practice personal and leadership capability while also in the later stages of the transition, catering to the individual needs of its staff by providing targeted outplacement and transition management support.

​Leadership Development & Transition

​As the plant was one of the largest employers in the area, Janine Lipsys the HR Manager at Holcim notes that ‘Holcim wanted to maintain its values and exit with a lasting positive legacy.'

​The three-year extended shutdown period of the plant highlighted the critical need to enhance the leadership capability of its People Managers so that a ‘business as usual' approach could be taken. This demanded the right team and structure that would see the project through to its final stages and would take responsibility for maintaining a safe environment, keeping employees engaged and proud to represent the Holcim brand, delivering quality production and equipping its people with the relevant skills and tools for their next career phase.

​To support this commitment, Holcim together with CDL Insight split this into two distinct solutions to:

  • Deliver to middle managers, a customised personal development and people management programme.​
  • Identify and target outplacement and transition needs across all levels of seniority

Before focusing their attention on the people management responsibilities for impacted staff, Holcim was keen to ensure that team leaders were given the opportunity for self - reflection and personal growth. This was followed by a leadership development programme which provided coaching in areas such as leadership impact, team building, employee development planning and performance management.

​Lipsys comments that ‘CDL Insight's modular based programmes enabled Holcim to build and customise a programme based on staff needs and circumstances.' Given the diverse blend of employee needs and ages across the plant in Westport, blended with various experience levels, a tailored solution was needed and CDL more than delivered!

​‘Now the atmosphere at meetings and in the canteen is incredible, so much that some staff stood up and thanked the company and management.'

​Janine Lipsys points out that ‘when we started, we had just completed a restructure exercise and when the announcement came that the plant would be closing, morale was already at a low point.' Holcim needed to find another way to retain key staff and engage leaders over the project transition. ‘CDL was quick to establish fantastic credibility and develop rapport across multiple levels'. Together with the strategic approach that Holcim took, the company was able to sustain positive morale at a highly vulnerable time and leave its lasting legacy in a geographically remote community.

​While CDL worked with the management team, Holcim worked alongside the production workers to recognise and reward engagement. Holcim used the analogy of a toolbox as the theme to equip staff with the right skills and tools for the future. ‘We started by providing everyone with a red metal toolbox and called it ‘tools for the future, which in a way was like a keepsake that represented achieved targets and milestones that aligned with our success criteria.' For every goal achieved around production, quality or safety, it would be another tool in the toolbox. As a result, the atmosphere at meetings and in the canteen was incredible, so much so that at the plant closure, several staff stood up and thanked the company and management .'

​As time for plant closure grew nearer, the need for outplacement services became apparent. Individual bands of seniority, (such as blue-collar waged workers, salaried white-collar employees, managers and senior leaders) needed specific assistance. With a focus on skill and experience transferability, CV development, Interview skills, confidence build, and job searching skills CDL embarked on providing the skills and techniques required to land the next job as quickly as possible. For some people their job search focus was exclusively West Coast centred, for others opportunities both within NZ and offshore were explored.

​Leaving a positive impact on community

​Since the beginning of the transition to closure journey, Holcim witnessed a significant change in its culture at the Westport plant. ‘An independent employee survey end of 2013 (after the restructure and before the change project) showed employee engagement at the Westport plant at around 28% when the survey was repeated a little over a year later; engagement increased to above 52% despite the closure of the plant.

​‘The atmosphere at the plant changed for the better, to a level where we have received unsolicited thanks from our staff and community.' This has been recognised by Holcim New Zealand winning the Human Resource Institute of New Zealand ‘Award for Organisational Change and Development' in 2016, as well as Holcim's annual Australia and New Zealand internal award for people excellence. The project was hugely successful, and by gaining external recognition for everyone's efforts, the quarry and plant were successfully closed, and a lasting positive legacy was created.


“Fairfax Media established its operations in New Zealand in 2003 and today employs more than 1800 people.

The company has established itself as an innovative, integrated multi media business with strong brands across multiple platforms. Fairfax Media has more than 21 different business units based across New Zealand in locations that include Auckland, Hamilton, Palmerston North, New Plymouth, Nelson, Christchurch, Timaru, Wesport, Dunedin and Invercargill.

Due to the decrease in advertising and to bring about greater cost efficiencies, in 2013 Fairfax implemented a wide ranging restructure across several departments. In all more than 300 employees throughoutthe country were affected.

With a genuine intent to provide practical job search advice to every employee impacted by redundancy, Fairfax was keen to source an outplacement provider that could cater to all levels of seniority and ensure a seamless and consistent service across all of the company’s geographical locations.

I didn’t hesitate to appoint CDL Insight Consulting on an exclusive basis. I had extensively utilised their specialist outplacement services in both NewZealand and Australia in two previous companies and had experienced first hand the high quality of their people and the outplacement solutions they provide.

For Fairfax, CDL provided a combination of one on one Career Transition Coaching for senior staff with Job Search Workshops and follow up coaching for those in less senior positions. CDL was even able to assist our more mature employees who sought retirement advice as a relevant alternative to job search.

CDL worked with four Fairfax HR Managers across the country and wasin constant contact with each manager throughout the assignment which spanned several months. Each employee also completed a CDL Evaluation Report of the assistance they had received from CDL and the feedback we received was universally excellent.

The national outplacement services that were provided by CDL were pivotal to protecting the Fairfax brand through a difficult and sensitive change process.

Many of our employees had worked in the business for 15 years or more and were understandably concerned about their future opportunities. CDL acted with complete empathy in addressing the needs of our people while providing just the right level of practical advice that has enabled many of our employees to quickly and successfully re-establish their careers and land their next job.”

Michael Peters
Group Manager, Human Resources​


"BDO is the fifth largest full service audit, tax and advisory firm in the world, employing more than 48,000 people in 1,118 offices across 135 countries.

​As a Partner with BDO, I referred an employee to CDL for Leadership Development Coaching in preparation for her promotion to Manager within the firm.

​While technically very capable, the employee for some time had presented with an underconfident and reticent style, especially in her interaction with direct reports.

​Two key coaching objectives as identified by BDO were to enhance the employee’s communication strengths with both clients and colleagues while also developing her leadership capability in line with the potential promotion.

​BDO had tried various options in the past when helping to grow leadership capability within the firm, including external workshop based management training and in-house mentoring, both having had limited long term effect.

​The decision to appoint CDL for one on one Leadership Coaching was a new approach for BDO, however the outcomes far exceeded our expectations.

​Incorporated into the coaching, which was provided over several months, were psychometric assessments that included personality profiling and emotional intelligence 360 degree feedback.

​As a direct result of the coaching provided by CDL, we have witnessed the employee making several significant changes to her thinking, approach, working style and behaviour.

​As the employee’s direct report, I have also received feedback from CDL on the suggested current and future actions that can be adopted to complement the changes already in place and to assist the employee in achieving her goals which CDL has aligned with the major competencies valued by BDO for their management team.

​I would have no hesitation in recommending CDL for Leadership Development coaching. The outcomes they have achieved through the tailored and confidential approach they take in balancing the professional needs of the individual with achieving a return on our investment as a business, has more than validated our decision to engage CDL."

​Julie Millar
BDO Limited


One of CDL’s highly valued and long term clients is a Fast Moving Consumable Goods (FMCG) company that employs over 1000 people across five production facilities across the country.

​The company enjoys an enviable record in enhancing employee well-being and consistently explores new initiatives that will harness high levels of engagement across the business.

​Recently the company decided to support female employees who were returning to work following parental leave and approached CDL to assist.

​One of CDL’s key areas of expertise is in the design and customisation of coaching solutions that address specific business and people needs. The development team within CDL set about the design of Return to Work Transition Coaching, complete with supporting coaching material. Format and content was endorsed by HR within the company and the coaching programme was then provided on a trial basis for a highly career focussed senior manager who was returning to work a year after taking parental leave.

​The coaching was facilitated over several weeks, starting while the employee was still at home and finishing well beyond the individual’s return to work. In this way coaching could focus both on required preparation as well as receiving practical and objective advice and support to address any issues that arose once the return to work had taken place.

​Throughout the coaching that was provided, CDL sought continued feedback from the client as to content, style and relevance. As a result, very minor amendments were made to the coaching framework and the outcomes for the individual were both positive and rewarding.

​At the same time, the organisation visibly reinforced its genuine intent to ‘walk the talk’ of work-life balance, progressed the professional development of the employee and retained a highly valued member of its senior management team.

​Return to Work Coaching is now an integral part of CDL’s Career Management portfolio.

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