Flexible working and neuroscience can both play an important role in driving employee engagement and performance.

Representatives from Mirvac and the About My Brain Institute shared their experience of implementing flexible working and neuroleadership programs at a recent ChapmanCG HR leaders round table in Sydney.

Flexible working to boost employee engagement

Embracing flexibility in the workplace is creating significant improvements in work-life balance for employees at Mirvac, according to Co-Heads of HR Ben Morris and Kristen Sweeney.

At the core of their workplace transformation program is a shift from traditional fixed ways of working, where performance is driven by ‘presentee-ism’ (number of hours spent in the workplace), to a workforce aligned to measuring outcomes.

A charter-based approach

Mirvac created a flexibility charter based on core principles, rather than using a policy-driven approach, to drive empowerment and create a spirit of collaboration.

As part of this, it was important that business units understood they could say no, but in the spirit of the charter employees were encouraged to have conversations about how they could work productively and flexibly.

The charter aims to transform the way Mirvac’s people work holistically across processes, physical spaces that people work in, and their mindsets.

Keeping it simple

A key initiative of Mirvac’s program is ‘My simple thing’, where all employees are asked ‘What is the one thing that would make a huge difference to your work life balance’?

The initiative opened up conversations across teams where employees were empowered to share what is important to them, whether that is leaving the office early one afternoon to coach their child’s sport team, to pursing personal passions or sport interests.

This played an important role in helping to make flexibility mainstream, and to convey the message that flexibility was not just about working parents.

Embedding the model

Fully embedding this flexibility plays a critical role in Mirvac’s broader strategy to attract and retain a diverse range of employees, and ensure they can contribute to the organisation at all levels.

Ben also reinforced that having leaders role model flexibility was a key success factor, as well as being flexible in how the program was rolled out.

Movement to Mirvac’s new headquarters, the first building in Australia to be awarded the Gold WELL rating by the International WELL Building Institute, also played a critical role in changing employees’ ways of working.

Different teams trialed the new ways of working in their old building before a staggered move took place to give them time to prepare for the transition. Mirvac continually monitors the performance of its building features to ensure they are supporting better health and wellbeing for their employees.

Since implementing the program, Mirvac has seen significant improvements in employee engagement and work-life balance scores.

Harnessing neuroscience for development

Silvia Damiano, Founder & CEO of the About my Brain Institute, provided compelling evidence for harnessing neuroscience to improve leadership in our personal and professional lives, and insights into what it takes to develop the human behind the leader.


The brain and interpersonal abilities such as creativity, complex problem solving with critical thinking are now expected key leadership attributes for success.

Neuroleadership drives creation, powerful ideas and leverages feedback from every direction. The key foundations for this are performance, collaboration, innovation and agility.

World-class leaders focus on applying four key performance attributes:

  • Applying better psychology: The depth and breadth of mental and feeling functions
  • High brain integration: The level of orderliness and economy of brain function
  • Good moral reasoning: Congruency between values and actions
  • Frequent peak experiences: The frequency and quality of peak experiences

Brain and body optimisation

Neuroplasticity is the new king. This refers to your brain’s ability to recognise itself both physically and functionally.

Mind-brain development means developing our consciousness by increasing self-awareness. There is always something to learn about ourselves.

To access your highest creativity, you need to fully absorb what you are doing moment to moment.

720-degree vs 360-degree feedback

‘Every direction’ feedback is an innovative model to holistically capture insights from family, friends, work colleagues, suppliers and customers. 720-degree feedback means ‘going around twice your professional and personal networks to help you truly understand where you are at’.

Your performance depends on your development, level of self-awareness and selection of what you pay attention to and focus on.

We would like to extend our thanks to Ben and Kristen from Mirvac for hosting the event, and to our attendees from a range of organisations including Woolworths, Pernod Ricard, EY, Colgate Palmolive, BT, Citi, AMP, LendLease and NBN Co.

ChapmanCG, Mirvac_Event_Aug2018
ChapmanCG team, Paul Jury, Fiona Jury along with Benjamin Morris, Kristen Sweeney and Silvia Damiano.