Home Our Firm Our Culture Transformation
2 July 2020

We are committed to a culture where all our people can thrive.
Two years after Dame Margaret Bazley's report was released, we have taken the opportunity to review our progress, reflect on what has changed and what we've learned.
Over the last two years we have undertaken a significant programme of work and addressed over 90% of the recommendations made by Dame Margaret. We believe we are a different organisation from the Russell McVeagh of two years ago. 

Hear our leaders talk about our culture journey to date:



Our people have played a huge role in our transformation. Many of our initiatives have been led by staff and we have focused on consulting and engaging with our people along the way. Together we have implemented new policies, established a range of 'speak up' channels, reset our expectations, redefined our values, introduced changes to our governance model and developed our leadership skills.

We believe our people are our most important stakeholders and our transformation is measured on their feedback. We recently involved everyone in a review of our progress to date and ran a staff engagement pulse survey. We heard that our people have seen positive change over the last two years, that they believe Russell McVeagh is a great place to work and that they are proud to work here.

"I feel supported and valued at the firm. I appreciate the consultation on policies, the transparency on strategies, and the time and resource the firm is putting into recognising the issues in Dame Margaret’s report, and responding. I feel as though the firm has made real progress on cultural issues, and this hasn’t come at the expense of really exciting work. The firm has taken a lot more responsibility for the behaviour of individuals within it, and this has allowed for material, firm-wide change.” – Russell McVeagh staff member, Pulse Survey May 2020

We are pleased with the progress we are making, but know that we still have more to do. Alongside the positive feedback, there are areas our people want us to continue to focus on. Culture transformation requires meaningful, sustainable change – it is not a 'tick box' exercise. We know that it will take time to fully embed the changes we are making and that there will always be areas for improvement.

Russell McVeagh Transformation - Our Story
Russell McVeagh Transformation Timeline

Progress highlights:

  • Our Board and partners made a public commitment to transformational culture change;

  • We established a People & Transformation Committee - a peer-nominated group of staff who have played a key role in our culture transformation and People Action Groups – groups of staff who have implemented and provided advice on various projects;

  • We made a commitment to zero tolerance of bullying and harassment and implemented clear policies, processes and a number of "speak up" channels;

  • We collaboratively defined our values through a series of workshops involving all our people;

  • We reviewed and redesigned our governance and management structure to ensure there are clear roles and accountabilities and that we have the capability to deliver culture transformation;

  • We ensured that the Wellington office has a dedicated partner Board member based in and responsible for Wellington, a Wellington-based HR Manager and regular presence from the new CEO;

  • We embedded culture change in our business strategy – it's not a separate or finite initiative but an integral part of our long-term strategy; 

  • We defined the attributes of a great leader at Russell McVeagh and incorporated our values, leadership attributes and strategic priorities into partner performance expectations (known as our High Performance Framework);

  • We are ensuring leadership capability is a key consideration in all promotion decisions and we have developed our own leadership assessment methods;

  • We established a Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) programme led by two partners, with five workstreams led by staff; and

  • We have taken a number of steps to actively manage and recognise hours of work and recently commenced a trial of a new policy to further support the wellbeing of our people and provide consistent recognition.

What have we heard from our people?

Our recent Pulse Survey, for which feedback is provided anonymously, showed that our people think Russell McVeagh is a great place to work and that they are proud to work here.
Russell McVeagh Pulse Survey Results
We also recently engaged our people in a review of our transformation to date. This involved a series of workshops facilitated by partners and senior managers, discussions within each team and a range of other options for providing feedback. People had the opportunity to provide feedback on our assessment of the recommendations that have been addressed to date and to share their views about both the positive changes they have seen, as well as the areas that require ongoing focus.
Our people feel that Russell McVeagh has a much more open, collaborative culture, that communication has significantly improved, and that people at all levels can have their voices heard. They feel the culture transformation programme is making a real difference and that our commitment to change is genuine.
We also heard about the areas our people would like us to continue to focus on, and we have committed to the following as next steps in our culture journey:

  • Continuing to champion an inclusive, respectful culture where we speak up and listen up;  
  • Completing the hours of work policy trial and considering feedback at the end of the trial;
  • Supporting flexible working; 
  • Implementing our D&I programme;
  • Continuing to roll out leadership and development at all levels; and
  • Continuing to support change in the wider profession.

We know there is still more to do, and we remain committed to our culture transformation. We will be continuing to work with our people to ensure we evolve and embed a culture where everyone can thrive.

For more information on our culture transformation click here.