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Harnessing Flexibility and Neuroscience to Drive Performance

Hosted by: Mirvac

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 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 Morris and Kristen Sweeney 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.

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Key Contributors:

Fiona Jury
Fiona Jury

Senior Director, Global Research and Market Intelligence

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Fiona Jury
Consulting Team

Fiona Jury

Senior Director, Global Research and Market Intelligence

Fiona Jury is the Senior Director, Global Research and Market Intelligence at ChapmanCG. She is passionate about excellence in search delivery and leads ChapmanCG’s global research and market intelligence team in identifying top-quality HR talent.

Fiona’s executive search and recruitment career spans over 20 years, working across multiple markets including Asia Pacific, the United States, the Middle East and Australia/New Zealand. A search consultant at heart, Fiona understands the unique needs of clients. During her time with ChapmanCG, Fiona has delivered on CHRO, Global HR Director, Regional HR Director, Global Talent Head, Global Head of Reward and many other high impact searches.

Prior to joining ChapmanCG, Fiona held a variety of leadership and senior consulting roles at Talent2 and at Morgan & Banks/TMP. She possesses broad industry experience across pharmaceuticals, FMCG, financial services, media, professional services and IT & Telecommunications.

Fiona originally qualified as a Chartered Accountant and spent her early career with Coopers & Lybrand. She holds a Bachelor of Economics (Accounting) from Monash University in Melbourne. Outside of work, Fiona enjoys spending time with family and her three children. She enjoys all sports and is fascinated by human ingenuity and positive psychology.

Paul Jury
Paul Jury

Managing Director

Consulting Team
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Paul Jury
Consulting Team

Paul Jury

Managing Director

Paul holds the position of Managing Director with ChapmanCG and is a member of the organisation’s senior management team (Global). He holds responsibility for people and performance across the Australia and New Zealand region, and he works with a dynamic team across SE Asia. Paul takes a particularly hands-on approach to building ChapmanCG’s business and brand in Singapore, Jakarta and Manila. In the past he has managed teams and continues to deliver regional searches across APAC.

Before joining the ChapmanCG team, Paul spent eight years at Talent2 International as Managing Director of the recruitment business across Australasia, where he also served as a member of the Global Recruitment team. Prior to this he held various senior management roles with TMP Worldwide (NASDAQ Listed) and Morgan & Banks (ASX Listed) across Australia and New Zealand.

Originally from Melbourne, Paul has worked with the Essendon Football Club, Arthur Andersen & Co and Pacific Access. He holds a Bachelor of Business (Accounting) from Monash University and has participated in professional development at the Macquarie Graduate School of Management.

These days Paul’s personal interests revolve around his teenage family and trying to stay balanced. He is an avid lover of sport and has a passion for football, cricket and golf.