Scentre Group Design and Construction owns and operates a large shopping centre portfolio in Australia and New Zealand.
In consultation with staff, Scentre Group Design and Construction developed a health and wellbeing program called 'People protecting people' to improve general health, work-life balance and to drive behaviour change in the organisation.
One of the initiatives included introducing a five-day working week for employees, down from a traditional six days a week. This was identified as a positive step towards assisting workers with a healthy work/life balance and maintaining a healthy and sustainable working week.
Scentre Group Design and Construction measures health and safety performance through various leading and lagging performance indicators, engagement surveys, including WHS cultural alignment survey results, training hours, lost time injuries and near-miss incidents. Positive outcomes from this program have aligned with HR systems, WHS and is supported by management.
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Scentre Group is the owner and operator of Westfield in Australia and New Zealand. In 2015, a work, health and safety steering committee and a working group was formed to introduce a trial health and wellbeing program on the North Lakes project. That included a quit smoking program, skin checks, and MATES in Construction. We're really proud now that has evolved into general health checks and also a five-day working week. During the initial stages of this project, the Coomera project, the project team reviewed where we could improve. Our staff needed a better work-life balance, and when reviewing our past performances and where we could improve, we decided to implement a five-day work week. The staff love it. In this industry, it is common for workers to work six days a week. What that does is allow them to have quality time with their family, so when they come back to work, they're happier, healthier and safer.
It's really made us stand out, I believe, as an employer of choice. I could challenge anybody, go and have a chat to one of our staff. They're happy where they're at. They feel cared for. They feel valued and that they have a voice. There's no titles, everybody has a voice. I have to say, the GM, the general manager, he was the driving force. He's the one that said, "Let's do this." It's a policy now, our new projects, once they commence, within three months a health and wellbeing committee must be established. Most important part of my job is people. The people out here, the people in the office, the people we work with, it's them, making sure they're safe, making sure they're comfortable.
I love the health and wellbeing aspect of my role. I enjoy helping people. There has been a real shift in our safety culture since launching the people protecting people statement, because what it really did is shifted the focus of compliance to people.
Look, I'm very proud of this initiative, and I'm proud of the way the business has embraced it, and the difference it's making to people's lives.