4 key ways HR adds commercial value at DEXUS

DEXUS Property Group's executive GM of people and property services, Deborah Coakley, helps realise business value in a number of ways

DEXUS Property Group operates in a mature and competitive market, and the company’s HR function has helped the company realise commercial value in a number of key ways, according to its executive GM of people and property services, Deborah Coakley.

A key focus for Coakley and her people and culture team over the past two years has been understanding and building a high-performing culture across the group, and over this time a Balanced Scorecard methodology was employed by the group’s executives and cascaded to all DEXUS employees.

Under this system, contribution and achievement are measured against threshold, stretch and outperformance targets, motivating all leaders to strive for outperformance with their teams.

Communication and transparency are important elements of this process, and all employees are kept up to date on goals and outcomes required to achieve the group’s strategy and deliver on its strategic objectives.

A second key focus for HR internally has been on building leadership capability internally.

DEXUS’ performance review process specifies measurable outcomes which take into account the overall business objectives together with the individual contribution of each senior leader, whose performance is aligned with the financial performance of the business, overall business strategy, contribution to stakeholder engagement, their immediate leadership role and the group’s culture.

“We really do need to look for different capability if DEXUS is to realise its commercial goals”

Gender diversity has been a third area of focus, and Coakley said this is promoted at all levels of the group.

It set a measurable gender diversity objective of 33 per cent female participation for non-executive directors and at senior management level by 2015.

However, the representation of women as non-executive directors increased to 43 per cent in June 2014, exceeding the 2015 target.

At senior management level, 27 per cent are women, and overall, the group has a 50/50 split of females and males; since the start of 2015, 50 per cent of senior managers or above hired have been female. Almost 20 per cent of permanent positions were also internally appointed in FY15.

More recently, the identification of talent and the recruitment of highly capable people into the group has been a strong focus, in recognition that a number of roles in property are changing as the group becomes more innovative in the services it delivers.

“It’s important to balance costs with what a business unit can actually afford in terms of skills and capabilities”

“We are broadening the talent pool that we look to in bringing new and different people into the organisation; we really do need to look for different capability if DEXUS is to realise its commercial goals,” said Coakley.

To assist in this process, there has been a focus on building capacity in the people and culture team to better access and more efficiently recruit high quality people, while new recruitment technology has also been adopted to support an enhanced recruitment process.

“The people and culture team does contribute significantly to the efficiency and cost effectiveness of the DEXUS platform,” she said.

“We work very closely with business units in the areas of structuring and restructuring of different business units, to help them build the agility they need for a business like ours – which is very fast paced.

“So it’s important to balance costs with what a business unit can actually afford in terms of skills and capabilities, while trying to reinvent itself on a regular basis.

“We also work with individuals in a one-on-one capacity, so we’re able to deliver a lot of service when it comes to understanding what each business unit’s commercial goals are and then how to support teams to get there, whether that’s through coaching an individual who may be stepping into a management role, or looking at the culture of a team and what might need to be tweaked in order to help it realise its goal,” said Coakley, who added that in 2013, DEXUS’ engagement score was sitting at 78 per cent, and in 2014 this increased to 87 per cent (the group’s engagement survey is now biannual, with 2015 introducing a culture survey).

For the full story on how Coakley and her HR team help DEXUS execute on business strategy and realise its commercial goals, see the current issue of Inside HR magazine. Image source: Hayden Brotchie