Sometimes you meet people spreading so much positivity it’s infectious. Israel Whitely is exactly one of those people. Director of Auckland Labour Hire, he runs a company providing laborers for construction throughout the country.
Izzy has been a member of Asuwere since January, and right off the bat he not only got a membership for himself, but for one of his employees as a thank you. I noticed this generosity again a couple of months later, where I stumbled across a LinkedIn post of Izzy handing out some Beats by Dre headphones to one of his laborers, followed by a site coffee drop later that week. It instantly made me smile and think, I want to know more about what this guy does.
His mantra is ‘Focussed on creating an incredibly positive and welcoming environment within the New Zealand construction industry by creating a place in which our team can grow.’ It’s safe to say he is going about this the right way.
- Cheers for meeting with us Izzy, tell us about what lead you to start Auckland Labour Hire?
A desire to create a positive working environment within an industry I felt most needed one. I did 3 years of my building apprenticeship, and whilst my boss at the time was great, it was very clear the majority of on-site subbys were not being looked after or appreciated for the work they were doing. My late Father was a builder by trade which helped me decide to get into it but again, I indirectly saw the lack of appreciation for his commitment and sacrifice to his job.
- The success you’ve had with ALH is a great testament to your efforts and the awesome labourers you work with. How do you go about finding the right people for the job?
I always have and will find it hard to take individual praise because it really is a team effort. The people we have internally at ALH align with our values and the positive environment we push for, so having found the people we have has made our growth much easier. I am a big believer in that the harder you work, the luckier you get so let's put some of the paths I've crossed as somewhat some good luck. Having similar drive and motivation as all internal staff makes life easier in attracting the right on-site team. We are consistent in the standards we expect to be met and standing firm to this has been pivotal for our growth.
The ALH Team
- What inspires your positivity and overall approach to how you treat your employees? Is this something you have learned through experience?
Not necessarily through a personal experience but in the first question I relayed it's more of an indirect experience. I think in any environment though, positivity is so crucial and the feeling of appreciation is too easily overlooked, especially in my eyes in NZ. I have also spent some time around a team sports and it was clear, even since I was a young fella that I enjoyed being around that environment when it was positive and the chemistry was good, so that is what I try remind myself with our ALH environment day in day out.
Izzy wears Navy Daily Tee, Tan Lounger Pants and Black Oxford Shirt
- Do you have any role models in your life that inspire you to be a better person?
Role models... there are many, I think they often come and go but my brother Banjo would be one of the two who have been consistent. He's a big inspiration. Especially in the way of family and how committed he is to ensuring he spends time with his young boys, whilst also making sure I have a good relationship with them (being that they are back home in Gizzy). Number two would have to be Rob Fyfe, I've been lucky enough to spend a fair amount of time with him, Sara, Tobi & Dolly (Sara's Daughter) over the last 3 years or so. I'd consider myself really blessed to have been able to be around them all really. Rob will probably complain that I pick his brains too much about work haha but to be a sponge around him and constantly have the opportunity to learn and grow under his knowledge is something I pinch myself about every so often. Also, just as importantly I also try and learn some of his techniques he uses to try and detach from business and my spare time.
- ALH just celebrated it’s third year in business. What has been the biggest challenge for you during this period of growth?
You are making me pick one? I could give you one for each of the last 36 months haha. I think learning that if we want to achieve a common goal at ALH, we need to have a common ground on what we all expect from each other, in every role. Understanding what strengths each individual has internally and allowing them to find out how they best perform under pressure over time. Initially it can be somewhat daunting or foreign to have other people doing things how I necessarily wouldn't do them. However, being agile and having the ability to stand back and give the freedom the team needs has been great and we've reaped the rewards of that. So I guess realising there are plenty of people out there better than I am at many aspects within my own business, and giving them the freedom to operate independently.
- What’s on the horizon for the future?
Growth, aggressive growth haha. We want to be the biggest labour hire company in New Zealand within the next 6-8 years. We will have a big recruitment push internally so making sure we get the right bumps on the right seats will be crucial. It can be hard finding people who share the same passion and drive to growth but I have no doubt we will. We currently operate roughly 100-110 on-site staff, day in day out so by 2023 we want that to be 336 on average.
- How do you unwind from running your own business?
You'd be better off asking Bailie, my girlfriend. I think we are still trying to answer that question haha. I like jumping in on an rpm or Grit class at the gym. It's short and sharp and gives me my workout for the day, which rebalances my energy levels especially when I'm under stress. I've got a dodgie ticker so I need to take it easy on the exercise so my next best bet would be watching a series on Netflix or the odd social football game.
Izzy wears Grey Cotton Cashmere Sweater
- How does Asuwere suit your lifestyle?
Perfectly. I'd consider myself to be on the go all the time so having a complete, simple and sharp looking Asuwere wardrobe saves me any fashion nightmares cause all the kit works really well together. Along with looking great, it's also incredibly comfortable and it saves me having to head out and go shopping. It's an awesome concept and a few other boys in the office have since jumped on board too.
- What’s your favourite Asuwere piece to date?
The Lounger Pant. Game changer! So comfy and looks really smart as well.