Z Energy

Nominee/entrant details

Z Energy

Organisation details

Size: 1,000-4,999 staff

Industry: Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Services

Organisation background

Z is the largest transport energy company in New Zealand, running an unparalleled network of retail service stations, commercial refuelling operations and bulk fuel storage terminals across the country. Z’s purpose is to solve what matters for a moving world. We do this by optimising our core business so we can transition to a low carbon future. Z Business Units (Retail, Commercial, Supply) operate quite distinct business models, requiring a genuine diversity of people and capabilities and resulting in divergent risk profiles. Z employs about 2500 people, 2000 of which in its retail network.

Executive summary

The mental health and wellbeing of its people is the foundation of an organisations right to operate and is demonstrated through Z’s commitment to enhancing the lives of our people and communities. Z is focused on both proactive (creating mentally healthy work and building resilience) and reactive work, in effect eliminating and minimising psychosocial risks, providing activities to foster the mental health and wellbeing of individuals and teams, and supporting their people by providing access to leading workplace and clinical support. The strategy they carry out allows them to create workplaces that enable safe, productive and engaging work that minimises mental health harm and enhances the wellbeing of the Z whanau, the partners they work with and the wider Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Background on situation and opportunity

In February 2020, following a review of its HSSE risk profiles and journey, Z developed further understanding of the risks and factors impacting its people mental health and wellbeing: difficult, abusive (bullying and harassment), sometimes aggressive customer interactions in Retail, time away from home, cadences and fatigue in Commercial, limited control of schedule and shift work in Supply – to name a few. Z’s leadership initiated and Z collectively crafted a new Safety & Wellbeing stand setting the path for the next steps of its journey. Two months later, Covid-19 delivered a momentous challenge to New Zealand, and to Z.


Z new Safety & Wellbeing stand, Enhancing the lives of our people and communities -He whakapakari i te orange o o tatou tangata me o tatou hapori, is a commitment to providing workplaces that enable safe, productive and engaging work that enhances the physical and mental wellbeing of our Z whanau, the partners we work with and the wider Aotearoa, New Zealand. The stand recognises that our wellbeing can only be achieved when we are physically, mentally and emotionally healthy and feel safe in the work that we are doing, as well as being safe and supported in bringing our whole selves to work. The stand is enabled by focussing on the following key capabilities: Engaged and visible leaders, Enabled safety system, Capable and courageous people. A mental health and wellbeing strategic framework was developed to bring this stand to life. The strategic framework draws on international research, local experience, and the works of Dr Hillary Bennett and the Business Leaders H&S Forum. It recognises that to achieve our stand in the mental health space, we must intervene both proactively (creating mentally healthy work and building our resilience) and reactively, in effect eliminating or minimising the risks of psychosocial harm, providing activities to foster the mental health and wellbeing of individuals and teams, and supporting our people by providing access to appropriate workplace and clinical support. The strategy also establishes the implementation of a holistic approach to mental health and wellbeing. The strategic framework has started to be declined in each of Z’s Business Unit, so the initiatives and tactics under it are tailored to the context, risks and needs of our people, their activities and environment. In the rest of this document, we will, for clarity, focus on the implementation of the strategy at the Entreprise and Retail level.


Our mental health and wellbeing strategic framework was rolled out across the business and operationalised at the Business Unit level, tailoring and prioritising tactics and initiatives to the context, risks and needs of our people, activities and environments. In Retail: Protect work was conducted to “Create mentally healthy and thriving workplaces, together”: - Formalising and engaging on our psychosocial risk assessment, - Deploying a “Mutual Kindness” toolkit to raise customer awareness on abuse in retail and equip our people with a simple 3-steps technique to de-escalate difficult situations, - Conducting design-out workshops for mental health and wellbeing hazards and hassles, - Launching training modules to better equip our people to prevent or effectively de-escalate difficult interactions, -Organising awareness and capabilities development Live Events for staff and people leaders. Foster & Reclaim work was conducted to enable our people to “Bounce back – Move forward”: - Deploying a toolkit of 25 fun and practical evidence-based activities to support the individual and team development of positive change and new habits, improve resiliency and enable good mental health and wellbeing. - Embedding mental health activities into “Redbook”, Z’s annual workbook of monthly Safety activities, by introducing 3 team development activities from the toolkit of 25 above. Each activity combines knowledge development, tips and challenges to implement, self-reflection and sharing of learnings. - Developing our Safety Champs community as Safety & Wellbeing Champs, so they can champion the transition of our culture, develop and implement initiatives and intervene as coaches. Support work was conducted to never forget “We’ve got your back”: - Making a public pledge “We’ve Got Your Back” in NZ media, - Developing a culture of collective support, - Reviving our EAP relationship to make it a partnership, recentring materials and communication to drive a more proactive utilisation. - Redesigning our PTIR program into a more user centric “Back on Your Feet” program.

Engagement and communication

Every initiative through Z’s Safety & Wellbeing Stand, Mental Health & Wellbeing framework, and associated activities are being crafted by consulting and engaging the Z whanau: our staff, their representatives and the representatives of our partner PCBUs (e.g. retailers). Our people are at the center of every step of our mental health journey. This is evidenced by: - Z introducing a new set of mental health and wellbeing questions to its employee engagement platform, Peakon in July 2020, to gather insights on the state of people’s mental health and wellbeing as well as hazards, hassles, design of work, relationships at work, specific initiatives and support activities. Employees anonymously take part in the monthly survey (95% participation rate), insights gained are used to target communications, prioritise initiatives, improve systems, capabilities and practices. - Z whanau being empowered to develop fit for purpose solutions and initiatives using the mental health and wellbeing framework, and in doing so supported by their Safety & Wellbeing Business Partner. This has included the development and integration of mental health fostering activities in “Redbook”, a work heavily led by Safety & Wellbeing Champs. - Z whanau being engaged in the measurement of the implementation and effectiveness of solutions. Example is the development of the Mutual Kindness toolkit. After design iterations by the Z whanau, a trial was conducted at multiple sites and a survey conducted at those sites in January 2021 to understand how it could be further improved or embedded into the work and the environment. The blind survey (89% participation rate) revealed that: - 81% perceived that the level of verbal abuse at their site had decreased, - 93% felt more confident and safer having a visual guidance readily available to them, - 67% had utilised the de-escalation process during a difficult customer interaction, - 83% of them reported the toolkit greatly helped them.


At an Entreprise level, through this very challenging year we have, together, minimised our psychosocial risks and the impacts to our people mental health and wellbeing. We have, as well, collectively improved our resilience, strengthened our culture and our business. - Z’s staff Health & Wellbeing sentiment and engagement, as measured by our engagement service provider, Peakon, from a 95% aggregated response rate, has kept increasing month-on-month since its first measurement in July 2020. - At the end of June 2021, Z’s staff Health & Wellbeing sentiment and engagement was at an all-time high, and we are proud to be the top 5% of organisations globally. Z is also in the top 5% globally for all the drivers of health and wellbeing: Mental wellbeing, Physical wellbeing, Social wellbeing, Organisational support. Drivers measure how satisfied employees are with an organization’s efforts to help them cope with stress and stay mentally, socially, and physically healthy. From a retail perspective, when a number of key retail actors are reporting significant increases (3 to 5-fold) in customer abuse situations since the beginning of the pandemic, Z has observed a slight decline of customer abuse situations to its people (from 143 incidents per week to 127 incidents per week). We are also pleased to observe that the reported impact ratings of these abuse incidents are progressively declining. We, however, observe that the issue continues to impact about 127 incidents at our sites every week, and probably tens of thousands in the retail environment every week. We remain highly committed to resolve this issue for and with our whanau. We are also now initiating some pieces of work with the NZ Police, Retail NZ, Shopcare and other industry actors so we solve this issue, not only for Z but for Aotearoa, New Zealand.


Our purpose is to Solve what matters for a moving world. We reckon providing a safe, mentally healthy and inclusive place for our people and customers matters.  Z remains committed to building a genuinely diverse organisation where the success of the company is built upon the diversity of people, thinking, perspectives and backgrounds. To achieve this outcome, we must get the best from all our people. This starts with every member of the Z whanau feeling included and comfortable bringing their best self to work, every day. A recent S&W survey showed that 62% of our retail staff feel like verbal abuse (including racial, religious, or sexual references) on site is treated seriously “to a great extent”, and 22% “to a moderate extent”.  While this is great news, and shows what a great job Retailers are doing in this space, that still leaves 16% (the equivalent of hundreds of our people) who don’t. We can and must be better. Post the Christchurch Mosque attacks of March 2019, we have the chance to establish a sustained, enduring, and inclusive response that is meaningful for all our Z whanau. A good proportion of our Z whanau are new New Zealanders, and it’s imperative that they are enabled to feel safe, secure and valued in showing up as the face of Z to our retail customers, every day.  We are focusing on enabling a company that accurately reflects the composition and diversity of Aotearoa and the communities we serve, with an inclusive culture so that diversity can be fully expressed. Here is a video that shows how empowering an inclusive culture shows up on a Z site and what a difference you can make by making people feel welcome in this home that they have chosen, and safe and included at work.   https://youtu.be/cFMH1lHsPu4

Innovation and creativity

We mined and reviewed our mental health and wellbeing incident data, using our newly introduced S&W digital platform (ZORMD – Z’s Operational Risk Management Digitised), and following this, revised how we collect mental health and wellbeing incident data – adjusting the Risk App our people use, so we can better understand the triggers of the events impacting our whanau. This re-organisation of our mental health and wellbeing data collection enables us to reinforce the focus on the causes and the prevention of the impacts to our people, without minimising the provision of workplace (team and managerial) and clinical support when our people need it. Practically, this creative and innovative approach enables the closure of a serie of feedback loops by involving those that have an impact on the design of the work or the work environment. It: - allows Z products and service owners to understand the hassles introduced by or associated to their products or services - allows Z to prioritise and inform the design out of hazards and hassles in work and environments, - allows Z to prioritise and inform our good work design activities. An example of this innovative approach in action in our retail environment: About 2 to 4 of our staff were being abused every week by customers upset that their bank was temporarily holding a sum (as a security) off their bank account when using the Pay at Pump capacity of the pumps on our forecourts. Or at least that is one of the data points that we realised after the redevelopment of our data mental health and wellbeing collection and mining process. This was provided to our Pay at Pump service owner, allowing a re-design of the user interface and customer experience, and reducing the frequency of these issues occurring.

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Referee details

Andrew Shand, Head of Safety, Wellbeing & Risk (Z Energy)

0274925239 • [email protected]

Key contact

Julien Cano, Safety, Wellbeing & Risk Business Partner (Z Energy)

0210376880 • [email protected]

3 Months
Since posted
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