Built By Us: Changing culture from within - Part 1 (2020)

Part 1 of 2: WesTrac partnered with culture change specialist, Interchange, to co-design and implement an innovative program, leading to significant changes within a 12-month period.

In 2017, WesTrac identified the need to focus on improving their culture to reduce injuries, increase team member engagement and support improvements in overall customer satisfaction. What evolved was a cleverly designed program aimed to improve the culture at WesTrac – a culture which is safe, productive, enjoyable and customer focused.

WesTrac partnered with culture change specialist, Interchange, to co-design and implement an innovative program, leading to significant changes within a 12-month period. The background and establishment of the program can be read in further detail throughout this article.

The Challenge

In 2015, the mining industry experienced an unfortunate downtrend. Consequently, businesses within the mining services industry also felt the ramifications. While many businesses struggled to stay afloat, WesTrac were forced to make a number of hard decisions, one of which included a significant reduction in their workforce.

By doing so, WesTrac were able to remain in operation and even though the reduction in their workforce was necessary, their team members became fearful, disengaged, and discretionary effort decreased. Over time, this affected safety performance, team member engagement as well as customer experience.

In 2017, the Executive Team were preparing for an exciting upturn and wanted to take stock internally, learn what was working well, and what needed to change to support sustainable growth.

WesTrac had introduced numerous safety initiatives over the years and each of these made significant improvements to their safety performance and by late 2017, performance plateaued and WesTrac knew they needed to do something different.

"In order to shift our team member’s focus, we needed to win their hearts and minds to make a step change in our culture.”

- Jarvas Croome, WesTrac Chief Executive, WA

No longer could WesTrac introduce another process or system, they needed a strong focus on culture, engagement and shift in behaviour. For WesTrac, it is important to keep their team members safe, lower incident rates and improve overall team member engagement and wellbeing.

To ensure that they had the best chance of shifting their culture, the Executive team invited Interchange to assist them in developing a distinctive or unparalleled solution to address their challenges.

Partnering with Interchange

WesTrac partnered with Interchange in December 2017, firstly evaluate the maturity of their safety culture across their business. Survey insights, themes from team member discussions, interviews and focus group data allowed Interchange to develop and present a blueprint for safety culture change to the Executive team.

Initially, WesTrac chose to focus their efforts on shifting the safety culture at WesTrac. From team member insights, it become evident, that they needed to focus their attention on overall culture, and that safety was one key outcome, not the primary lever.

From the data collected, five core themes were identified as the areas of opportunity for WesTrac, addressing accountability, recognition & feedback, teamwork, inclusion and leading change.

These themes would form the foundation of the solution as they moved into the design phase of the program.

“In supporting our decision to partner with Interchange, we researched other organisations to further understand Interchange’s unique approach of working with organisations to shift culture.”

- Kevin Buckley, WesTrac General Manager – Safety, Security & Risk WA

Co-designing with Team Members

To create the most effective and successful program, Interchange used a Human Centred Design approach. This methodology encouraged strong collaboration between Interchange and WesTrac, using combined knowledge to design a tailored solution for WesTrac.

With a strong focus on values to drive their culture; WesTrac wanted to cement these and have a set of easily understood values that every team member could understand and ones that they could weave into their daily operations.

To support this, WesTrac invited their team members to join a series of working groups to define the WesTrac values and they landed on SPARC – Safety, Pride, Accountability, Respect and Customer.

Built By Us

Five values defined by their people and with definitions in language that could be understood by every WesTrac team member.

And from there the WesTrac Bright SPARCs were born.

This diverse, credible and engaged team of 64, provided their input and perspective, and across 16 design workshops they tested and co-developed the content, activities and branding with Interchange.

“What evolved was a cleverly constructed program to meet the needs of our people, creating a strong sense of engagement from the commencement of the program”. – Rob Hooke, General Manager – People & Culture, NSW/ACT

During the design workshops, it was decided that the program would be labelled ‘Built By Us’, a title that evoked a sense of accountability within their team, allowing every team member to feel involved in the transformation of WesTrac’s culture.

Interchange and WesTrac also worked to produce a visual identity that not only reflected the individual brand identity of Built By Us, but also integrated seamlessly with the existing look and feel of the WesTrac brand.

Built By Us Materials

A Strong Connection With Family

During the design of the program, WesTrac learned that home and family life is very important to their team members and in order to connect and win their hearts and minds, they needed to connect work and these values together.

“To generate excitement for the Built By Us program, we drew upon family connection as a value and created a custom video, involving the families of WesTrac team members.”

Tanya Eales, General Manager – People & Culture, WA

Team members were invited to bring their families to a number of WesTrac sites and given a grand tour of their facilities and the opportunity to get up close and personal with a number of Caterpillar machines.

Interchange conducted video interviews with the children, asking for their perception and opinions on what a great place to work would look like.

Built By Us Kids Video

These interviews, combined with additional footage of WesTrac team member opinions, helped to create an emotional connection with Built By Us.

The video would then be used during the learn sessions as a key activity to draw on team member opinions, asking them to reflect on the passion and excitement of the children when they entered WesTrac and the smiles on their faces seeing the Cat machines and their facilities.

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