The Probuild Constructions Story
Probuild Constructions was established in 1987. The company has been involved in several major projects such as the new Grandstand at Flemington Racecourse, the Victoria Gardens Shopping Centre and Toyota's Corporate Headquarters in Port Melbourne.
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In 2005 Probuild applied for a Victorian Government Better Work and Family Balance Grant. The company wanted to investigate work-family balance at Probuild and develop a program that would work for the employees and the company.
A working group made up of staff, union and management representatives was established to oversee a survey of all staff and the development of initiatives as part of a work-family balance program.
The survey, distributed to all 150 employees in Victoria, was designed to:
– Gather information about the work, family and life pressures, currently impacting on them and their families
– Assess initiatives already in place to assist staff to manage these pressures
– Identify new initiatives that would have the greatest impact on staff satisfaction
A separate survey was also prepared and circulated to the partners of all employees. The objective of this survey was to gain a picture about the impact working at Probuild was having on families.
The surveys had a good response with 57 percent return rate from employees and 70 percent return rate from their partners. Overall, employees reported that they were happy working for Probuild but that the constant pressure and long hours made it very difficult to successfully combine work and family. Many responded long hours especially working on Saturdays had adverse impacts on their personal relationships.
And the response from employees' partners required further discussion so invitations to take part in a focus group were sent via pay slips. Sixteen female partners took part in the focus group.
This led to recognition that the company's work-family balance strategy needed to include:
– Flexibility for different employees and their families to make choices that suited them best, with acknowledgement of the differing needs of the salary and hourly rate
– Reassurance that taking up work-family balance options would not undermine anyone's employment or position with Probuild.
– A commitment to reducing the number of Saturdays people are required to work
Working from all the information gathered through the survey and the focus groups, the working group met regularly to move the ProBuild project to its next steps.
A work family policy was developed based on these five underlying principles.
– All initiatives must be of mutual benefit to the individual and the company.
– Achieving better work and life balance is a team effort involving individuals and managers
– There is not one solution that will meet everyone's needs
– Hard work can be done flexibly
– Good communications are fundamental to success.
All employees and their partners were invited to attend a major launch where they received an information pack outlining how the company intended to develop a better work and family culture. The pack contained a booklet to provide practical information for staff and their partners so they could access their own needs and then set and achieve goals to bring about better work life/balance.
Following a launch specific action plans were developed to address key issues. An intensive training, development and coaching program was instigated for managers and performance review processes were changed to ensure that every individual's work and family needs are documented. For Director of Probuild, Ted Yencken the new Work Family Balance program is a key element in Probuild's ability to retain and attract employees.
– You need to form groups of 3-4 members.
– Based on the five principles on Work Family Policy develop an intensive training and development program for Managers that will address the individual's work and family needs. The program needs to include:
o Target audience
o Planned training outcomes
o Forms of assessment to test the training outcomes
o A training agenda with at least 8 training topics to be delivered during the 1-day training program
– Using this program develop four strategies to retain and attract employees.
– As a group present your findings to the class