Case Studies

Flexible Working– Case Studies

In March 2014, Telstra announced their new initiative to include allowance for flexibility on all of their advertised roles. The motivation of the radical move was to encourage more women back to the workplace and to offer a way of working that took into account the requirements of family life.

Key components:

  • New roles to allow flexibility
  • Shorter working hours during the day
  • Ability to work from home

Benefits from trial

  • Women applicants rose from 28% to 37%

Taryna Dunning, GM of Retail Comms and Public Affairs quoted that the initiative helped her to feel as though she hadn’t ‘missed anything important’ from her children’s lives, whilst still thriving on the challenge of the role.

In the pressurised, dynamic environment of a legal practice, flexibility would traditionally be of low importance, and there would be a strong expectation within the role to work long, demanding hours, with little chance to take time off if required for family reasons. However, Allens has, in recent years, offered impressive flexibility for its employees, especially in comparison to other legal firms.

Key components:

  • 18% of staff in 2012 working flexibly
  • 75% to 85% of all staff working flexibly on an ad hoc basis

Benefits

  • Increase from 80% to 92% of staff returning to work after having children
  • Focus and engagement of staff
  • Staff can manage competing priorities in their lives

According to Michel Rose, Chief Executive Partner within the firm, to achieve a high level of “focus and engagement, you need people who feel they can manage all the competing priorities in their lives. For some people, that requires flexibility”.

Gender Equality– Case Studies

It is particularly interesting to see a typically ‘male dominated’ industry offering flexible working, which is generally perceived as greater benefit to female than male employees. However, BP Australia recognised the need to offer greater flexibility within the workplace and now job sharing is something that the company has implemented in a number of roles within the organisation. Example: Offer Assurance Manager, shared successfully since 2007, benefits:

  • Cost reduction driven productivity increase is 20-25%
  • Savings of recruitment costs due to staff retention

The University of Western Australia has proven that job share is effective. Key components:

  • A mutual agreement between the two candidates
  • Establish work hours to suit both employees and employer
  • Strong communication and regular meetings to discuss the role

Benefits for employee and employer:

  • Flexibility to fit a career around childcare
  • Staff retention, engagement and satisfaction
  • Exposed to different viewpoints and ways of working
  • 2 skill sets working within the role instead of one
  • Consistent performance throughout the week, rather than the more typical ‘lulls in performance’ experienced by full-time employees.

In recognising the advantages of offering a job share role, it was felt that both parties benefitted highly from the working arrangement.

Probuild firmly believes ‘hard work can be done flexibly’! The natural ‘deadline driven’ nature of many of the roles meant that staff ran the risk of not achieving a good work / life balance and, in turn, ran the added risk of becoming dissatisfied with their role. With many staff are often called upon to work 6 days a week, Probuild implemented job share options to their employees, to create a better balance between career and raising a family. Benefits:

  • Increased staff morale and loyalty
  • Staff retention
  • Job satisfaction
  • Improved productivity and better outcomes for the business

The company’s director, Ted Yenchen, states that “the development of our work/life balance policy, principles and programs are the fundamental steps to creating a workplace culture which will be more supportive of work and life balance and which will deliver better outcomes for business’.

Job Share– Case Studies

In 2012 only 22% staff were female, only 20% were in senior roles. Rio Tinto recognised the issues that the under-representation of females in the organisation presented. It acknowledged that the current company infrastructure was not sympathetic to women with young families and that attitudes within the company itself were acting as a deterrent for female applicants.

They recognised:

They were missing out on a significant talent pool and were not addressing changing demographics and expectations of their clients.

New Target – 50% female middle Management by 2015:

Rio Tinto set itself the aim of having 50% female representation at middle management level by 2015, with the expectation that many of these females would move on to senior roles.

Joanne Farrell, Vice President of Organisation Resources, says, “Not only do we need women from all diverse backgrounds, but we will need to deploy their talents at all levels of our business’.

AGL has demonstrated a strong commitment to gender equality. By 2012, the total workforce of AGL comprised of 46% female.36% in senior roles. Key focus to enable gender equality have been:

  • Equal Pay
  • Flexibility within the roles to allow career and family balance.
  • Increased parental leave from 12 weeks to 14

It is a gradual process within the company but marks a significant shift in the attitudes of ‘male dominated’ industries, as they recognise the significant advantages of having a wide talent pool to select from during recruitment, and greater diversity of skills in the workplace. The very fact that companies such as AGL are choosing to make gender equality such a focus speaks volumes about the importance of creating a better balance of men and women within the workplace.