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Employment relations on projects

A shared vision: commitments and guiding principles
Imagine a future where employment relations on public and private projects enables sustainable industries, drives economic growth and fosters social inclusion.

This is a living document indicating desired commitments on mental health and well-being by all parties to projects, and outlining guiding principles.

Senior project leaders participating in the Executive Leadership in Major Projects (ELMP) program have develop a number of shared visions for projects facilitated by Professor Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld (Brandeis University) and updated by successive ELMP cohorts. These include shared visions for employment relationsdiversity and inclusionsocial licenseinnovation, and mental health and wellbeing on projects

Our commitments

  • As project leaders, we will actively foster a culture where mental health and well-being are appreciated and openly addressed in inclusive and constructive ways – as important as workplace safety.

This is a living document indicating desired commitments on employment relations by all parties to projects, and outlining guiding principles.

Senior project leaders participating in the Executive Leadership in Major Projects (ELMP) program have develop a number of shared visions for projects facilitated by Professor Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld (Brandeis University) and updated by successive ELMP cohorts. These include shared visions for employment relations, diversity and inclusion, social license, innovation, and mental health and wellbeing on projects

Our commitments

  • All parties in Australia’s projects will develop workplace environments that maximise the potential of the Australian workforce to help deliver best-in-class projects in the public and private sectors.
  • We will generate talent and capability for the nation, benefiting current and future projects by co-creating work arrangements that are safe, fair, productive, engaging, innovative, and sustainable.
  • Guided by this document, we proposed a series of pilot application projects that embody these guiding principles and that promote continuous learning for projects.

Guiding principles

  • Safety first: Projects advance a safety culture by establishing effective multi-stakeholder forums, reinforcing positive behaviors, learning from near misses, analysing low-frequency high-consequence events, and focusing relentlessly on prevention.
  • Workforce opportunity, innovation, and knowledge-driven work: Projects bring together diverse workforces across multiple partners, contractors, and suppliers; the effective integration of knowledge, skills and capabilities in these workforces depends on information sharing, constructive engagement, mechanisms for continuous improvement, and productive results.
  • Fairness and interest-based bargaining: Formal and informal negotiations associated with project labour agreements and other bargaining on projects should use a problem-solving approach, appreciating underlying interests and creating options before focusing on desired solutions – aimed at achieving sustainable mutual gains.
  • Workplace dispute resolution: Workplace disputes on projects should be resolved on a timely basis, “close to the source” involving key stakeholders.
  • A shared mantle of responsibility: Projects are often “make-or-break” propositions for organizations, with a mantle of responsibility for cost, schedule, risk, and quality to be shared among key stakeholders.
  • Agile and productive operations: As technology, markets, and society change at accelerating rates, the way projects operate has to be productive, agile and adaptive.
  • Stakeholder alignment and inclusion: A dynamic process of alignment is essential among the organizations leading projects, contractors, financiers, unions, communities, non-profit organizations, government agencies, and others associated with projects – reflecting and appreciating the various dimensions of diversity.
  • Environmental and community stewardship: Projects have impacts on the environment and communities; parties in the employment relationship are committed to effective stewardship of these national resources.

Overarching project objectives

  • Creating value: Advancing employment relations on projects creates value for diverse stakeholders now and builds 
  • Mitigating risk: Stakeholders should share responsibility for mitigating the risks associated with employment relations on projects.

Shared visions represent what can be called “true north” or aspirational goals, though they are intended to be feasible, rather than just wish lists. Shared visions are living documents, enabling alignment and evolving as the points of alignment themselves evolve. Read more.