In just three years, Chris Smith has had two promotions at Christchurch’s New Brighton Z service station.
Chris has progressed from customer service representative to assistant site leader to site leader, and is now responsible for all day-to-day running of the site.
The New Brighton site and 15 other Z service stations in the Christchurch area are run by Hattrick Services. Hattrick operations manager Anton Hutton says Chris was initially reluctant to take on a leadership role.
“His biggest barrier is self belief. He turned down the assistant site leader job the first time I offered it to him. I told him I didn’t accept that,” says Anton.
“He is incredibly passionate about the business and about service. He is never flustered, he gets great feedback from customers and colleagues love working for him.”
Growing into new roles
Chris says he’s glad Anton persuaded him to take the job.
“I always think, ‘Is there too much to learn?’ or ‘Can I handle the role?’ But Anton swayed me to give it a try and see how I liked it.
“The work is quite flexible. I have been able to build up my confidence and grow into new roles.”
Chris was born with a heart defect which required surgery when he was six weeks’ old and again when he was aged four. At five he suffered a stroke that left him with limited strength in his right arm and leg.
Workbridge helped Chris find his first job, with a graphic design firm. After two years, Chris found himself looking for work again when the Christchurch earthquakes led to a dip in business.
Workbridge contacted Hattrick on Chris’ behalf, and suggested he drop off a CV.
Great people looking for an opportunity
Anton says he and the Hattrick team already knew Chris because their head office was in the same building as Chris’ former employer.
“We recognised Chris because we used to say ‘gidday’ every morning when we passed him in the hall waiting for his boss to arrive and unlock the office,” says Anton.
“I thought, ‘I have a guy here who is early to work every single day – that has to be a good thing.”
Anton says he can’t remember a time when Hattrick wasn’t involved with Workbridge. The company has recruited more than 60 people through Workbridge, and Anton says he knows any candidate recommended by Workbridge is worth interviewing.
“I recommend Workbridge to every employer I can at every opportunity. We want amazing people with ‘the Z factor’ to work for us – we start with the personality and we are looking for drive. We have found so many people like that through Workbridge; great people just looking for that opportunity,” he says.
“We don’t think of people as ‘disabled staff’; they are just members of our team.”