We had the pleasure of working with Martin Cowie, People and Development Director, OMD on making flex a reality for the organisation. In 2017, the company launched multiple initiatives around diversity and inclusion, which included unconscious bias training and an official Flexibility Policy developed with Juggle Strategies, which Cowie declared was beneficial for all staff.
“We launched our official Flexibility Policy to benefit all individuals and allow staff to have greater control of when and how they work... each employee had the chance to feed into the policy by having their say in a company-wide survey to understand exactly what they need and expect from a flexible workplace. Importantly, the results of our initiatives speak for themselves. 90 per cent of new parents returned last year which is an incredibly positive result,” he said.
Leading the way for the media and communications sector, OMD demonstrates their commitment to a diverse workplace, using #flexibility as a vehicle for change. “We’ve improved retention and lowered our churn rate, whilst also having our strongest commercial year ever,” Cowie continued.
But despite OMD’s recent successes, Cowie said there’s still more room for improvement in the industry. Read on for more detail about what we did with OMD to support their journey with flex.
OMD, part of the Omnicom group, is Australia’s largest media and communications agency and an industry leader in their approach to employee engagement. They are also one of the most diverse companies in the industry and the winner of the Agency of the Year Award at last year’s Women in Media Awards, including a consistent record as one of the Top 15 Great Places to Work for 5 years running.
OMD were keen to roll out flexible work practices to their staff as they understood the potential of positive impact on engagement and productivity for its people. They were just keen to do this “properly”. OMD were also keen to open flex to as many of their staff as possible, at the same time careful to not lose the wonderful social, team based culture they have. They partnered with Juggle Strategies to help them design a program that would be focused on keeping that balance.
Phase 1 – Executive Alignment
The Juggle Strategies philosophy is that the program has no chance of success until the executive team is aligned with the initiative and can authentically support it through implementation and beyond. Juggle Strategies spent time with the full executive team, considering the WHY’s of the project – the business case, the legal obligations, and the opportunity.
Phase 2 – The Diagnostic
The Juggle Strategies team surveyed the OMD organisation to understand the current state, perceptions of staff, readiness, as well as barriers for change, mindsets of who and what flex is for, desires and concerns of staff and leaders. The team also spent time in interviews with the exec team, as well as within the OMD community to ensure there was a solid understanding and idea of the culture.
Phase 3 – Design of Guidelines, Strategy of Implementation
The participation rate in the survey was excellent with a very light touch campaign. The results of the diagnostic were presented in a findings and recommendations report as well as an executive briefing session within which a strategy and approach of implementation was agreed. This ensured the flexibility landscape was tailored to OMD, its culture, people and business requirements. It also ensured all executives understood their role in supporting and role modelling the program, without which it would not succeed.
Juggle Strategies also worked with the People and Culture team to devise a set of Guidelines to help people through implementation, and a playbook for leaders and staff was created.
Phase 4 – Training
Expecting people to work differently as a result of launched guidelines and a presentation is foolish and OMD understood this. We have all worked the same way since the 1920s, and breaking our habits is hard - especially for front line leaders who are ultimately accountable for ensuring their staff delivers to the organisation. To support them, OMD provided training on the 4 critical success factors – Trust, Mindset, Communication and Outcome performance management through a 3.5-hour workshop. Managers also got a detailed implementation plan they could follow in the roll out.
Phase 5 – Check in
Four months after the launch and implementation Juggle Strategies checked in through a survey of the organisation, the results of which were presented back to the organisation via a detailed report of findings.
- 85% of leaders had conversations with their eligible staff about how they can use flex
- 46% of staff changed the way they work as a result of the initiative
- From an initial 29% of staff having ‘some’ level of flex, 77% of eligible staff are now getting the flexibility they need in their role
- 96% of staff believe that OMD fully supports flexibility as an organisation
Verbatims are positive, with beneficial impact on study, wellness, and family obligations for staff. Some said they had not had a chance to change their way of work, but the change is visible in the organisation and are looking forward to taking it on in 2018.
Connect with us to find out what flex could look like in your organisation or contact Juggle Strategies Co-Founder, Maja Paleka directly at firstname.lastname@example.org