Inclusion and Diversity

The winner of the 2015 Australian HR Rising Star award, which recognizes excellence in Human Resources, Josh Cass has worked on multiple projects in his first year at AECOM, including AECOM’s Australia New Zealand gender diversity strategy and drive for genuine workplace flexibility.  

Workplace flexibility is becoming increasingly critical for attracting and retaining the industry’s best and brightest talent. From my perspective, the critical macro elements driving the need for workplace flexibility are an increase in the number of working mothers and the growing prominence of Generation Y. Did you know that in Australia, one in five employees are caring for elderly parents, or that by 2025, millennial team members could represent 75 percent of the workforce? Recent studies also suggest that this younger generation values work-life balance above compensation growth or skill development.

Flexibility is about selecting, engaging and retaining talented team members, and it’s also about ensuring the long-term commercial sustainability of our business. It benefits the company by creating a more focused and productive workforce, leading to increased output and superior results.

Offering flexible workplace practices benefits all team members, keeping aging team members healthy and engaged longer and providing Gen Y employees and Millennials with the adaptability their fast-paced lifestyles demand. Importantly, offering flexible workplace options will ensure we remain agile and adaptable to client and market expectations. An agile business needs an agile workforce — employees who are happy to work some evenings and weekends, or who can dial up and dial down their hours to suit client and project needs.

AECOM’s Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) business is committed to developing workplace flexibility and ensuring accessibility for everyone. The results of our annual Employee Engagement Survey and our recent Diversity & Inclusion survey are clear: 98 percent of respondents agreed that flexible workplaces are the workplaces of the future and 94 percent agree AECOM should promote flexible working options further.

In response, we’re rolling out a number of tangible initiatives to ensure employees can work where and when they want, provided they meet all client and team requirements. More specifically, we’re advertising all new external roles as ‘flexible,’ promoting our flexible work options to all employees and developing guidelines and training for managers to ensure flexible arrangements are set up to succeed. Improvements to our systems and IT infrastructure will also serve as key enablers to our strategy

I see the standard workday changing substantially in the next decade across all industries. The 8-hour workday will no longer be a requirement and a greater proportion of workers will be utilised on a contingent or consultancy basis. Perhaps most importantly, work will not focus on hours spent at a desk, but will instead be entirely focused on outputs.

As my career develops, I look forward to contributing to the transition of traditional organisational structures and working patterns to those based on flexibility – allowing team members of all races, genders, ages and persuasions to work where and when they want. We understand the need for workplace flexibility — now we must deliver it.

Josh Cass_89x100Josh Cass is a senior HR business partner for AECOM Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) based in the Sydney Australia office. He has more than five years of experience working in the mining and manufacturing industry across Sydney, Newcastle and Brisbane, in specialist and generalist HR roles. In 2015, Josh was awarded the highly sought after 2015 Australian HR Rising Star award and a Future Leaders scholarship to commence a Master’s program in Sydney Australia.  

Originally published Feb 10, 2016

Author: Josh Cass