An industry frontrunner in D&I, Lendlease takes pride in infusing an open culture that embraces differences in the three areas of: gender equity, workplace flexibility and inclusive workplace.
Together with the leadership of an Executive champion, the pillars of Lendlease’s D&I strategy has a clear objective and purpose, resulting in the delivery of several industry-leading initiatives.
Vicki Ng, Head of People & Culture - Asia, Lendlease, shares with Priya Veeriah how the office space and design has also helped to create purpose and meaning to improve workforce productivity. This is reflected in their recent silver win at the Asia Recruitment Awards Singapore virtual awards ceremony for the Most Innovative and Sustainable Office Design category.
Q How has your organisation’s D&I strategy evolved in recent times? How do you fit the D&I agenda into bigger HR priorities?
D&I has always been a core principle at Lendlease - we pride ourselves on having a culture and environment that embraces and respects all the ways in which we differ. This includes strategically aligning our efforts and investment globally to three areas of gender equity, workplace flexibility and inclusive workplace by:
- Adopting a data-driven approach on where to focus our energies for the greatest impact as well as measure our progress;
- Using insights from data, our People & Culture team partners leaders with ‘deep dives’ to address specific challenges and determine interventions to yield tangible results;
- Including D&I targets as a KPI in the annual business goals of our leaders; and
- Cascading specific D&I targets individual teams to ensure their priorities and actions are aligned.
Q What were the key business drivers behind your D&I strategy, and how have you executed it successfully?
At Lendlease, having a diverse and inclusive workforce is key to creating places where people feel comfortable in their environment, allowing us all to be the best we can be. We recognise that people who feel safe and empowered to bring their ‘whole self’ to work are more productive and engaged, leading to increase performance and talent retention.
Each of the pillars of our D&I strategy is led by an Executive champion and has a clear purpose and mandate on what is to be achieved. Annual strategy planning exercises to prioritise and agree on key pathways that can drive the most impact and ensuring clear ownership and accountability is key to successful execution.
This has resulted in the delivery of several industry-leading initiatives:
- D&I goals are operationalised and embedded in all our people processes throughout the employee life-cycle including, checkpoints to ensure fairness and equity;
- Conducting rigorous gender pay analysis every year and executing actions to close gaps,if any;
- Providing Hiring for Diversity digital training available to all leaders to eliminate unconscious bias in the recruitment and selection process;
- On-demand learning tools to support managers with workplace flexibility conversations;
- Establishing the WiCAN (Women in Construction Asia) network to help female employees connect with peers for career development support and to network with senior leaders; and
- Parental care leave which is offered for the primary carer of the child, regardless of gender, marital status or family unit.
Q No execution is free from unexpected hurdles. In what shape or form did you experience challenges, and how did you overcome them when implementing and executing your D&I strategy?
Identifying industry challenges: The construction industry has seen minimal overhaul in how it operates over the last 50 or more years. Most of our workforce operate in the construction space, and the ability to attract female talent into underrepresented roles or enabling flexible ways of working in an industry that is very much site-based have always been a challenge.
Becoming a trusted partner: At Lendlease we have an incredibly supportive and progressive Leadership team at local and global levels. If the idea is good and is aligned with the broader D&I strategy, there are minimal barriers to obtaining buy in and support. Trust is an important factor the People & Culture team has built over the years with the leadership teams to enable this successful partnership.
Disrupting industry norms: With the challenges of COVID-19, our D&I campaigns for International Women’s Day, Flexible Working and Mental Health were launched digitally. Each campaign resulted in high engagement from our workforce, which has been accelerated by the adoption of digital tools.
Q On to the most important part – results! How did you measure the ROI or milestones of the D&I initiative, and what are you most proud of?
Since we started the more focused approach to our D&I interventions, we have managed to drive a year-on-year improvement in all the areas that we measure.
A key enabler to this is the discipline of setting KPIs which are tracked on a quarterly basis, not only at the senior leadership level, but local business unit levels as well. These mechanisms enable to us to continually improve how we work and learn from feedback from our employees.
Three key achievements we are most proud of over the last 12 months include:
- Achieving 50% female representation in our leadership pipeline for our Singapore business as at June this year;
- Continued reduction in our gender pay gap over the last three years; and
- Our recent Employee Engagement results this year show that we have outperforming Singapore Top Quartile company norms by 4% and scoring 14% higher than the Singapore national norm in Diversity & Inclusion.
Above all, the most heartening achievement is to see the passion and enthusiasm that our people have for not just participating in but volunteering to lead D&I community engagement initiatives including workshops with local grassroots initiatives to engage and promote STEM careers for girls.
The passion of our people allows us to continue to embed the D&I culture into the heart of everything that we do and to create the best places.
Q How does your company create purpose and meaning through the office space and design to build a productive workforce?
Our Asia HQ based at the award winning csuites in Paya Lebar Quarter brings together our health and wellbeing, sustainability and diversity and inclusion principles to create a people-centric workspace that encourages collaboration and innovation – crucial to talent retention, especially during these COVID-19 times.
People-centric design: The csuites space utilises multi-functional spaces that provide choice for teams to work collaboratively or individual users the privacy they require. Technology is used to boost employee productivity including maximising the flow of natural light, access to green spaces, scheduling the control of the air-conditioning units (that also contributes to the lowering of energy use), VR capability is employed in town hall spaces to enable immersive experiences and enabling community connectivity via the PLQ app.
Health and Wellbeing: Keeping everyone’s diverse needs in minds, csuites also contains nursing and multi-faith rooms, private phone booths, an in-house café with healthy snacks, end-of-trip facilities and generous breakout areas to encourage different business unit communities to come together in a relaxed space.
Beyond the physical aspects, csuites hosts talks and workshops to support employee mental wellness.
Photo / Provided