Case Study

peter reidy

Building a high performance, high engagement business

Peter Reidy, former CEO, KiwiRail

The issue

I first came across the concept of High Performance, High Engagement (HPHE) from talking to Christopher Luxon, CEO of Air NZ. He’d been using it for a couple of years and was getting great results in terms of engaging frontline workers and their union to improve productivity. I was attracted to the concept because I thought it could help us build trust and respect, improve safety and lift performance.


What we did about it

HPHE is built on the idea that you motivate people by empowering them to make improvements to their workplace.  These improvements will ultimately drive up the organisation’s performance. I view HPHE as a leadership approach. It’s about recognising that leaders don’t have all the answers so shouldn’t be afraid of letting go and letting workers come up with the solutions.

The outcome

HPHE has had a hugely positively impact on performance, culture and health and safety at KiwiRail. Our employee net promoter score was minus 21 in 2016, it’s now up to +1. EBITDA per employee has risen by 33% since 2016. We’ve also seen a 45% drop in injuries since 2016. Negotiating our last collective agreement with the RMTU took four hours – compared with four weeks in 2016. That’s because the negotiations are just about rates, and all the other issues are dealt with through HPHE processes.