In FY2018, the LAS acquisition helped to grow the total number of Link Group employees to more than 7,000 – up from about 4,300 a year earlier. We now have operations in 18 jurisdictions including Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, India, South Africa, the UAE, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Jersey, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Germany, Hungary, Switzerland and Italy.
As part of our efforts to constantly improve our workplace culture and involve employees in the task of developing our business, we undertook an Employee Engagement Survey in FY2018. This involved asking staff in each of Link Group’s offices globally about their experience of working for us, their perceptions of our strengths and where we could improve, and their sense of involvement in our strategies. It was an enlightening exercise that provided us with an excellent baseline for planned future Employee Engagement Surveys. The results also helped us to create a clear roadmap for further developing our culture, growing our people, and ensuring we have the skills and equipment to continue to thrive.
The three key strategies to emerge from the survey are: the creation of a LinkPurpose Statement; the development of a OneLink program aimed at increasing cohesion across our four business divisions; and the development of a FutureLink program to ensure our technology and skills remain at the cutting edge.
For our employees, having a clear understanding of our purpose and shared goals is essential for them to be able to perform at their peak and support our clients and stakeholders. After comprehensive consultation across the organisation, a purpose statement was developed and approved by the Board in 2018. Our LinkPurpose Statement – “Together we achieve...” – articulates the partnership we have with our employees, clients and other stakeholders in achieving goals that help everyone succeed.
The key focus areas that underpin the statement are that Link Group provides quality service to its customers, protects the data of its customers as if it were its own, and provides expertise and value-add services to its clients and customers. The essence of the Link Group Purpose Statement reflects our DNA:
Link Group has grown in recent years through a number of strategic acquisitions that have expanded our global reach and our offering to customers. The OneLink program aims to ensure that employees in different organisations across the world understand our comprehensive products and services to support our clients and stakeholders. Plans are underway to further develop our employees’ understanding of the wider business through a new Re-Onboarding program. Based on a similar model to our successful Customer First course for new employees, the program will familiarise existing staff with the broad range of Link Group companies, products and services, and support them with team building.
Link Group understands that its future success is dependent on investment in people and remaining at the forefront of technology and data security. The FutureLink program, introduced in FY2018, is working to facilitate this by ensuring we have the equipment and technological knowledge necessary to remain an industry leader.
The FutureLink program also involves a significant investment in our people. Link Group will launch a Learning Academy to further develop the skillset of our top managers. Work will be carried out over the next two to three years to develop the academy, which will cater for our senior leaders across Link Group globally.
Link Group understands that diverse groups – comprising people with different experiences, ethnicities, genders and sexualities – tend to be more productive than homogeneous ones. We are continually striving to ensure that our employee base reflects the make-up of the companies we serve as well as their end customers, both throughout Australia and the rest of the world, and have recently appointed a dedicated Diversity and Inclusion Manager to support this commitment.
As at FY2018 end, our Board is 37.5% female, putting it ahead of the 30% target set for female directors in S&P/ASX 200 companies by the Australian Institute of Company Directors. At the executive level, 40% of the senior executive team is female. Link Group’s targets which were set in 2016 are for 42% of senior leaders, 33% of senior technical specialists and 45% of line managers to be women by FY2019.
We have a process of continually reviewing pay data for gender parity across similar positions and make adjustments where necessary. Our parental leave scheme supports both mothers and fathers who wish to take time off after the birth of a child.
Employees regularly speak of our CSR efforts as one of the highlights of working at Link Group. Both senior management and staff across the organisation play a role in choosing the causes that form the core of our CSR efforts. It is crucial to both that our work in this area benefits the communities in which we operate and the people whom we serve.
Key initiatives in the past 12 months included: