Home' HR Monthly : September 2016 Contents 18
PROFILE: SCENTRE GROUP
to build a brand and culture from the ground up – and is one
reason she was attracted to the role.
“We wanted to retain what was best about Westfield, but we
also recognised that we needed to form our own identity, to not
be seen as the leftover rump of the organisation.”
Nevertheless, a few key Westfield values were carved out as
‘must haves’. One was building a self-sustaining organisation.
“We focus on sustainability across the business – people, social,
environmental – and our strategies are aligned to those. I want to
future-proof the organisation from a talent perspective.”
First and foremost, that means looking inside the organisation.
“We really pride ourselves on being able to fill roles from
within and create our pipeline of talent,” Frew says. “ We’ve been
able to do that simply through the experiences we provide our
employees. Everyone has a development plan.”
Twice a year, Frew leads people planning forums to identify
high-potential employees for bespoke development programs.
The company has invested heavily in leadership training and
advancing and mentoring employees through the ranks. Frew is
hesitant to call Scentre Group a ‘training organisation’, though.
“It’s no longer a career ladder – it’s a career matrix in terms of
adding capability and breadth to an employee’s skill set,” Frew
says. “The fast-moving nature of business means roles are always
changing, and we can’t focus on one job role or title anymore.”
The strategy has paid off. The average tenure for an executive
is 15 years, and the average length of service for all other roles is
seven. This contributes to an extremely low turnover rate – below
10 per cent, says Frew.
But the biggest encouragement for this approach comes from
an employee engagement score that hovers around 80 per cent,
nearly triple the average Australian organisation.
Frew isn’t content with this however, and has launched the
company’s first in-depth survey to measure everything from
engagement to inclusion and diversity, alignment to core values,
ability to absorb and respond to change and more.
“Ou r vision is that by 2018, we are seen as the place where
talent can thrive,” she says.
WHOLE SELF, BEST SELF
One key point of focus for Scentre Group is inclusion and
diversity. “ We knew we wanted to create a culture that is
representative of the communities we serve,” Frew says.
“Previously, inclusion and diversity was focused on things like
gender from a compliance perspective.” But now the company
has added an all-roles-flex policy – something that Westfield
didn’t pay much attention to, says Frew. The intention is that this
will translate into better work-life balance for all staff and be an
enabler to unlock the full potential of employees.
The implementation of this policy, coupled with a progressive
parental leave policy, were two symbolic statements in the
company’s formative months, signalling to employees that Scentre
Group was embarking on a serious cultural jou rney.
To help identify other areas of change, the HR team conducted
surveys across the corporate office and in retail centres to see
what mattered to their people. Three themes emerged: mental
health, LGBTIQ community issues and domestic violence.
“Inclusion and diversity is a strategic initiative that has to
be championed by an organisaton’s leaders and supported by
employee groups,” says Frew. They seem to be making headway:
Scentre Group CEO Peter Allen was an AHRI Awards finalist
for CEO of the Year in 2015 on the back of these initiatives.
This year, the company has submitted a candidate for an AHRI
Inclusion and Diversity Award as well.
Along with executive sponsors for each initiative, the company
invites employees to identify corporate or social issues they would
like to solve. The Scentre Group LGBTIQ ally program is led by
COO Greg Miles, and an employee domestic violence council has
developed a statement of intent and policy.
“Those forums are very powerful,” Frew says. “They
practically do the job for us ... We try to make it easy for people
who are committed to something to get involved.”
Part of company strategy, she adds, is to get employees to
question why things are done the way they are and whether they
could be improved. CEO challenges help to crowdsource ideas,
teams have toolkits for managers to initiate discussions
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COST THE AVERAGE
“WE NEEDED TO
FORM OUR OWN
IDENTITY TO NOT
BE SEEN AS THE
LEFTOVER RUMP OF
18/08/2016 4:29 pm
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