Case Study - Manufacturing Organisation

In-depth Implementation of Flexible Work Arrangements

This client has operations in Australia and New Zealand. They have a number of manufacturing sites which are highly unionised and run various shift operation. Other Divisions have staff that work in retail outlets or are travelling to various retail outlets in both CBD and Regional locations. This means that there are a range of complex issues to be addressed as part of the overall implementation strategy.

The flexibility project was part of an overall change program directed by the Diversity Steering Committee. The Committee is chaired by the CEO who is a sponsor of the project.

Managing Work|Life Balance has worked with the organisation’s project leaders since the inception of the project some 2 years ago. This has been a long term project as the company has been involved in an expansion program and other initiatives have had to be managed alongside the flexibility strategy.

We were invited to consult on this project at the very early stages of its development so have been able to provide advice, guidance and support on a whole range of flexibility issues.

In the set up phases of the project we:

  • Provided advice on survey questions to collect data about employee needs and priorities. This delivered some very useful data which enables the managers and project leaders to demonstrate the bottom line issues, such as retention, that would be impacted if they did not move forward to a more flexible work environment. Some of this data is used in the training sessions.
  • Advised on policy updates and the re-design of supporting materials such as application forms etc. All their flexible work policies (including a working from home guide) for Australia and New Zealand are now compliant with Industrial Agreements, State and Federal Legislation including the Fair Work Act.
  • Assisted with the development of a communications plan to ensure that all staff received information about Flexible Working and the process that would need to be followed if they wished to access a flexible work option.

During the implementation phase we;

  • Delivered updates to the Flexible Work Arrangement Guides for Managers and Staff (the client has been using these resources for the last three years).
  • We co-facilitated a day long workshop for the HR Business Partners. They experienced the workshops that their managers will attend and then worked through a series of scenarios and issues that they will need to address when coaching and supporting managers in the workplace.
  • Co-developed and delivered workshops for managers, and trained their trainers to deliver the sessions to over 500 managers throughout the Region. This work continues as we support the team by continuing to facilitate some of the workshops. As part of this process we built ‘leaders guides,’ case studies and employee workbooks.
  • Guided the project team in ways to deal with challenges and issues which have the potential to impact on the success of the project. These include dealing with employees who work shifts and who want to work more flexibly as well as managers who find it difficult to understand the business imperative for change.


The client continues to monitor the impact of this work. To-date it is evident that there has been a considerable change in both attitudes and behaviours within the leadership group and that a number of mature aged staff are choosing to work flexibly as part of their program of phased retirement.