26 Mar 2021

Our approach to engaging our people throughout 2020

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Despite the pressures of 2020, our people remained focused on delivering against Our Plan.  

We responded early and decisively to address the impacts of COVID-19 and promote the health and wellbeing of our people whilst maintaining business continuity.  

Each state and territory in Australia and New Zealand operated within different restrictions or alert levels throughout the year. Our teams demonstrated agility to adjust and re-adjust their resourcing levels and operations to meet these changing requirements.  

We supported our people’s experiences through lockdowns, stand by and remote working with an engagement plan.  

We leveraged our intranet, regular email communications from leaders, in particular our CEO, and adopted Microsoft Teams as a collaboration tool. Engagement tactics were designed to educate, connect and motivate our people, fulfilling the objective of supporting health, safety and wellbeing whilst providing business continuity.  


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Our approach included:

  • CEO updates to help interpret the rapidly changing operational requirements from government  
  • CEO updates about the business and industry initiatives as well as regular people focused ‘check ins’  
  • A comprehensive and updated Q&A document to help leaders and our people make sense of the restrictions and requirements and have informed conversations  
  • Tips and guidance for maintaining physical / mental health and wellbeing during the pandemic  
  • Increased support through our Employee Assistance Program on topics including domestic and family violence and mental health  
  • Training and guidance on ways to work with remote teams and new technology  
  • Friday lunch time broadcasts by professional musicians that were enjoyed by our people and their families whilst working remotely.

In addition to this strategy, we continued to engage our people to participate in employee representation groups. Our diversity and inclusion approach across seven working groups, our Allies who foster a culture of inclusion for members of our LGBTI+ community, and our People Champions, continued to be engaged throughout the year and support our people. Totalling 335 people, their participation represented 14 per cent of our total workforce. 
 

Large scale meetings were hosted virtually in 2020. Our CEO’s bi-annual “Team Talk”, an all-of-company update and team recognition session was held on Teams for the first time. The format showed that high levels of engagement could still be achieved remotely. This is a permanent change.  

In May 2020, our team at the Sydney Support Office commenced a safe and gradual return to the workplace. Our Westfield Living Centres continued to trade in line with local restrictions.  

Our COVID-Safe Workplace status enabled our people to return to work with confidence. For our combined success we know that as a business we work better when we are together, relying like any organisation on the energy that comes from spontaneous interactions.  

Our COVID-Safe work practices remain in place. 

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