"People are very positive about the change we're trying to implement. We're investing in these initiatives because we genuinely care, and we want to be the employer of choice."

About the initiatives

Based in Canberra, Delnas Metal Roofing is a leading Australian metal roofing and cladding contractor. When the company began trading in 1992, its focus was on the residential sector. Having expanded into the commercial sector over time, its workforce has also grown considerably.

Central to Delnas's approach to a mentally healthy workplace is the culture of the business – the owners have a strong focus on creating a family feel and running the business as a family. They believe that people are more productive when they feel happy and valued, and want to come to work.

Key initiatives include:

  • whole-of-company meetings every second month – the meetings cover organisational health and safety issues and coincide with a staff barbeque, which now includes healthier options such as wholemeal bread, quality meats and salads
  • as a grant recipient of the ACT Healthier Work Initiative, Delnas offers free flu shots to all staff, is introducing free skin checks and plans to implement a quit smoking campaign
  • Tradie’s Tool Box sessions – OzHelp attends each site and conducts confidential one-on-one consultations with each staff member to provide information and advice, and address any health and wellbeing concerns raised by the staff
  • making a formal commitment to staff health and wellbeing through the company's health and wellbeing policy
  • regular Sun Smart seminars, given that a large proportion of employees work outdoors
  • staff attendance at industry award nights – staff who are involved in award-winning projects are invited to attend the awards night as public recognition of their work
  • development of an innovations register – ideas and suggestions put forward by staff are considered at management meetings, with the outcomes discussed at company meetings. Providing people with an opportunity to contribute at an organisational level and demonstrating that the business values employees' input and opinions, this initiative has helped to increase everyone's sense of ownership
  • improvement sessions – regular and dedicated sessions for managers to review policies and procedures, and brainstorm on ways in which organisational practices could be improved.

How the initiatives came about

The focus on staff health and wellbeing was prompted by the death of a staff member and personal health issues experienced by the owners of the business. One of the owners came across the Healthier Work Initiative while undertaking tertiary studies. A staff survey identified key health issues and these findings were used to determine which initiatives to implement using funding received from the Healthier Work Initiative.

Benefits and outcomes

Benefits and outcomes include:

  • more smiles and laughter in the office
  • happier and healthier staff
  • demonstrated commitment to the health and wellbeing of staff
  • being an employer of choice
  • reduced absenteeism and increased productivity.

Recommendations, considerations and lessons learned

Challenge: Widely distributed workforce

Actions:

  • To ensure that the family feel and culture extends outside the office, three site supervisors act as a conduit between the management team and onsite staff
  • Site supervisors have an important role in relaying messages back and forth between work site staff and office staff

Challenge: Building rapport with staff

Actions:

  • The focus on family culture and management support helps build rapport with staff
  • Listen to and engage with employees
  • Acknowledge everyone when they arrive in the office – this action helps build relationships and improve communication
  • Create opportunities to engage staff in work and non-work related conversations

Challenge: Widen focus from physical safety to include health and wellbeing

Action:

  • Introduce initiatives that focus on individual health and wellbeing, such as flu shots, skin checks, stop-smoking campaigns and counselling

Challenge: Making health a core part of the business

Actions:

  • Develop an organisational health and wellbeing policy
  • Be proactive about staff health and wellbeing

Reducing stigma around mental health

Action:

  • Take a gradual approach to reducing the stigma associated with talking about physical and mental health issues
Nicole Leishman
Delnas Metal Roofing

Nicole Leishman
Business Owner
Delnas Metal Roofing