Taylors Laundry putting people first
Taylors has been laundering and servicing New Zealand since 1919, helping a huge range of Kiwi businesses from small owner-operators to large corporates, save time, money and resources through their full range of commercial laundry and distribution services. The longevity and success of the company is largely in part to how they treat their staff and the community and during a global pandemic this became more important than ever.
In this article we speak to David Phyn, Director and GM of Taylors Laundries about their history and an innovative wellness programme they have implemented for staff.
- Could you please tell us when you started at Taylors and a bit about your role?
I started with Taylors in 2007 managing the Auckland Operations, in 2013 I was promoted into the Taylors General Manager NZ role. Like most GM’s I have a dynamic role where each day is different from the next covering strategic planning, Union negotiations to customer relationships while managing all aspects of the business. At Taylors, caring for our people is engrained into our culture, we have a number of long serving loyal staff with minimal turnover of employees, as a result of this, there is a strong sense of family and belonging which we are all proud to be part of.
- What are the keys to clocking up 100 years as a kiwi business?
In 2019 Taylors hit a milestone of 100 years of continuous business, but Mr John Taylor first started the company in Napier in 1875 (146 years ago). His son, Charles Taylors moved the business to Dunedin in 1896 which was then handed down to his son Charles Jnr (grandson of John Taylor). Taylors stopped the business in 1915 because Charles Jnr went to the 1st world war. When Charles Jnr returned, he opened the Taylors Laundry in Christchurch in 1919. At the time of reopening, there were 5 staff – his wife Elizabeth, their son and daughter and Mr McPherson who was an old employee from the previous Dunedin Laundry. The key to Taylors long standing success is driven from hard work and dedication from the Taylors Family. Then in 1973, Taylors was listed onto the Stock Exchange and continued to grow through acquisitions and investment backing. In the 1980’s Taylors had grown to 16 factories and around 30 Dry Cleaning outlets throughout New Zealand. Today Taylors has consolidated into 3 Major Laundry Operations in New Zealand servicing some of New Zealand most iconic brands and household names across Healthcare, Agecare, Accommodation and Airlines.
- What are some of the major impacts COVID had on your company, community and staff?
COVID has been hard for a number of businesses including Taylors, we had seen a loss of around 90% of our business in Airlines and 50% loss in the Hotels we service, but our Healthcare and Agecare business has been steady, which meant we had a slight impact on our staff numbers. But we were very lucky, a number of long serving staff decided to retire when COVID first hit in March 2020, so we didn’t need to make anyone redundant to adjust to lower volumes through our operations.
- I understand you established a wellness programme for your employees. Can you tell us more about that?
At Taylors we have become very focused around supporting our people, last year we had over 40 Taylors employees working through a 3-month training course on how to improve your work and home life with tools around managing relationships, budgeting at home, leadership and Health and Safety/ wellbeing. We have also worked in partnership with FONO promoting healthy eating and on stopping smoking, which has been a real success. At our Auckland Operations we have implemented communal gardens where the staff have planted fruit trees and herbs gardens for everyone to eat. Our aim is to promote sustainable healthy living delivering a happy work force.
- What sort of response has the programme had?
Our people are very engaged, I’m so proud to listen to the positive stories and impacts it’s had on their daily lives. An example is the support we gave around stopping smoking and budgeting at home. One staff member was so proud telling us how her children are so happy she has stopped smoking and there is more food on the table and the bills are paid. It’s stories like this that makes these programme worthwhile as it also builds loyalty to our business and ultimately improves our customer experience.
- How important is community contribution to Taylors?
Taylors has always supported different community charities as most companies do. But we realised some years ago we weren’t aligned to these charities so now we have aligned to the following community charities and donate on a regular basis – mainly blankets, toweling & sheets; City Mission, local Maraes’, SPCA, FONO, Mote Cecilia & Woman’s Refuge Association.
- What advice would you give to other companies considering implementing a wellness programme?
Understand the culture of your business and how you can make positive impacts on the wellbeing of your people which will support your company ethos, values and business direction giving employee satisfaction and improved customer outcomes. If you decide to support community charities, does it align to your values and can it benefit your people positively? As an example, we aligned with FONO which we donate too, but we also use FONO to support stopping smoking and healthy eating. FONO also offers public health based services for the entire family, so these relationships we see as very important.
- What’s next for Taylors?
At Taylors we are focused on company growth and expansion, continued focus on our people delivering social outcomes, environmentally sustainable, quality and cost-effective solutions for our customers.