Leading Successful Change – Creating an Enterprise Agreement and Employment Platform for the Future

Michael Johnston, Group Head of Employee Relations & Special Counsel , Westpac Banking Corporation

The global economy and society are facing into an unprecedented transformation. Digitisation, robotics, engineering and demography are all disrupting traditional modes of social, work and business interactions. To be successful, organisations must rapidly respond to these trends and establish workforce frameworks which support changing workforce and customer needs. This paper outlines the factors that were critical to the successful transformation of the Westpac Group’s enterprise agreements and employment platform in 2015/2016. While drawing on the experience of enterprise bargaining in Australia, the factors identified are equally relevant and transferable to managing workforce change in any jurisdiction and context. While each change will need to be uniquely managed based on local considerations, the Westpac Group example identifies 8 key factors required for the successful management of change. These factors include having a clear and compelling vision which supports the broader business strategy; preparation and planning; having extensive engagement with the business and tight governance processes; building a constructive relationship with external stakeholders (in this case the union); a high level of engagement, consultation and communication with employees; agile project management and a focus on implementation.

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Employment Banking & Finance April 2018 Vol.11, No. 43, Spring 2018

Michael Johnston


Michael Johnston is Group Head of Employee Relations & Special Counsel for the Westpac Group. Michael advises Westpac Group companies globally on all aspects of employment and industrial law and related human resources and employee relations issues. Opinions expressed in this article are the author’s alone.

Employment Banking & Finance April 2018 Vol.11, No. 43, Spring 2018