CSR case study

CSR's commitment

Founded in 1855, CSR Limited is one of Australia and New Zealand’s most iconic and well-established businesses. The company is the name behind some of the market's most trusted and recognised building product brands, including Gyprock™ plasterboard, Bradford™ insulation, PGH™ bricks and pavers, Monier™ rooftiles and Viridian™ glass.

CSR focuses on providing high-quality, cost-effective and innovative solutions that meet the needs of builders and the community. Underpinning this dedication to customers and community, Luke Murphy, Executive General Manager Human Resources, supports an ongoing commitment to developing people as the business’ most valuable resource.

“We employ 3500 staff across Australia and New Zealand,” says Luke. “People really are fundamental to our success. As a business, we understand that it’s critical to invest in our people as well as our other assets in our company.”

Our partnership

2010 marked the beginning of a more focussed and coordinated approach for CSR’s  investment in people. The company had recently sold its sugar business and senior executives identified the opportunity to strategically develop CSR’s people and capabilities over the long term.

“We wanted to create an environment where people understood the direction of the business and knew their contribution was counting towards something significant,” Luke says.

In 2010/11, Luke and the CSR Executive team undertook a benchmarking exercise across a number of leading Australian and international business schools...

Luke-Murphy.jpg“We wanted a long-term partnership with an organisation that could provide more than an ‘off the rack’ program. In MBS-Mt Eliza, we found a partner who could not only provide cutting-edge thought leadership, but also customise programs to support our changing circumstances.”

Luke Murphy
Executive GM | Human Resources | CSR Limited

CSR's solutions

In 2011, the CSR Leaders Program commenced with a cohort of 16 participants from across CSR’s senior managers. The program focuses on developing an agreed set of competencies that the CSR executive team believe are critical for personal and business success in senior management roles. More specifically, it targeted leadership capabilities, innovation, fostering deeper relationships across the business and involving the entire organisation in CSR’s growth strategy.

“Design methodology was an important capability of MBS-Mt Eliza,” says Luke. “The team constantly stretched our thinking about the outcomes we wanted, and then we worked backwards to establish what we needed to put into the program to reach our goals.”

Michael Curtin, Principal Consultant for MBS-Mt Eliza, has worked in partnership with CSR from 2011. “CSR is a large organisation that’s constantly evolving,” says Michael. “Our task was to combine MBS-Mt Eliza’s learning expertise with CSR’s organisational expertise to understand the actual business challenges—and then produce the right solution to meet those needs.”

Throughout the discovery, design and delivery processes, Luke, Michael and their team worked with each level of CSR’s executive team to ensure engagement, secure their active championing and carefully align the CSR Leaders Program to each area’s relevant needs.

“The entire process has revolved around creating a CSR solution,” Luke says. “It allowed us to think more broadly and collaboratively across the business than we have before.”

Impact - CSR Leaders Program

Between 2011 and January 2014, more than 40 participants have undertaken the CSR Leaders Program, which targets core general management competencies for CSR executive General Managers.

Through individual and peer/manager assessment, Michael and Luke’s team have been measuring behaviour before and after the four-month program, which includes two one-week residential components. CSR has already recorded an embedded shift of nine per cent toward more constructive leadership behaviours.

“We’re seeing a significant shift in terms of people being able to connect at different levels of our organisation—and also connecting with each other,” says Luke. More than 25 per cent of the cohort have already seen promotions or expansions in their leadership roles while a further 20 per cent of the participants have moved into a new business unit.

“Despite seeing some early results, real culture change is not something you can measure in just two years; it’s a long-term commitment,” says Luke. “We will continue to invest in people; it’s a significant part of achieving the organisation we want to be.”

An enduring partnership

In January 2014, CSR’s customised solutions have expanded to include ongoing programs, projects and seminars across the business. To date, almost 300 CSR leaders from across the business have participated in the initiatives, which target leadership, strategy, customers and innovation.

“We’ve built a strong level of mutual trust between our organisations,” says Luke. “At times we’ve needed to solve problems on the run and be mutually flexible to accommodate program needs. That’s made possible by the level of trust and connection between MBS-Mt Eliza and CSR.”

Since early 2012, MBS-Mt Eliza and CSR have expanded on the success of the CSR Leaders Program to partner on:
  • The Constructive Leaders Program, developing emerging leaders as they move into leadership roles to build their capabilities in line with CSR’s strategy and support them in their new roles;
  • Ongoing executive team engagement, focusing on enhancing the leadership capabilities of the executive team and challenging the company’s growth strategies and business  models;
  • The CSR Way conference (2012, 2013), an internal conference centred on promoting innovation, customer focus, cost-effectiveness and the CSR strategy with senior operations staff; and
  • The CSR Finance Forum, which supports CSR’s finance leaders in developing the financial capabilities and broader leadership skills essential to their roles.

The result has been improved business models and processes, and—most importantly—a consistent approach to developing people, in line with the CSR strategy.

An additional initiative emerging directly from the CSR Leaders Program is the Red Box project, which aims to bring strategy to life within the business.

“This project works on connecting our people and inviting everyone to contribute to our strategy,” says Luke. “When you actually listen, you get some really important insights coming up through the organisation.”

Thanks to the Red Box project, the CSR team has moved from a ‘boardroom-focused strategy’ to a more people-focused, customer-orientated strategy developed and validated by more than 500 CSR employees.

“The result is a more agile, focused and innovative business,” says Luke. “It creates better outcomes for our customers and community, and increased opportunities for our people.”