The Warehouse Group

Team overview: The Warehouse Group

The Warehouse Group's purpose of Helping Kiwis live better every day guides the work of their legal team also. We chat with the team about how tribes help address early identification of risk and focus on the high-value work to solve problems.

The Warehouse Group Legal Team (pictured left to right): Erin Vercoe, Joanne Ward, Steve Garrett, Amber Disley, Roslin Sharma, Rachel Hoggard and Chanelle Lucas.

Can you give us an overview of the legal team at The Warehouse Group and how you support the work of the company?

The legal team comprises four lawyers and an administrator. Also part of the wider team are our Compliance Manager and Head of Risk and Compliance. We support the work of the company by identifying and managing legal risk, including company secretariat support, commercial contracts, property-related advice and regulatory advice.

What do you see as the key challenges facing the team and how do you plan to address these?

The Warehouse Group has moved to an agile way of working, where various subject matter experts from around the business come together as a tribe to solve customer problems and make living sustainably easy and affordable for everyone. The composition of the tribes changes according to the work that it is doing and the prioritisation of that work against the strategic goals of the company, and things move fast! This has challenged us to re-think how we can effectively engage with the business to identify potential legal risk early on, and collaborate to incorporate legal risk management in the project. Some of the things that we are considering include adopting a business partner model, physically sitting with tribes, attending tribe ceremonies, increasing self-service options for some of the more straight-forward matters that we support on, and being more proactive in lifting levels of awareness of key legal risks throughout the business.

What do you do to prioritise the work of the legal team towards high-value/high-risk work and out of lower-level work?

Like many legal teams, this is an area that we are continually working on. The team prioritises and aligns its work with the strategic goals of the company, as by nature this is where the company would be likely to be taking higher risks, for example, implementing a new system. Attending events such as tribe planning sessions helps us to identify where and when the high-value and/or high-risk work will be undertaken and enables us to provide advice and support at the right time, ultimately supporting the business to reach its goals faster. We are also working on developing good tools to support efficient and effective legal risk management, such as standard form agreements.

Kia Haepapa/Own It is one of the values of the organisation – how does this impact how the legal team communicates and acts?

Everyone in the team is empowered to act if they see something that needs to be done or to change. We do what we say we will do, when we said we would do it. And we take responsibility for the legal team culture and how we want to work; we take our work seriously but we also have a lot of fun!