Transforming Beiersdorf’s Australian Headquarters into a WELL workplace

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How do you unify a business and create a culture and environment which prioritises the health and wellbeing of their people? This was the starting point and catalyst for Beiersdorf’s Australian Headquarters.

Our conversation with Managing Director, Clynton Bartholomeusz, began with the need to relocate staff from their Erskine Park Warehouse to an upgraded lower ground floor of their North Ryde head office. However, the scope evolved based on Clynton’s vision and desire to transform Beiersdorf’s way of working to help their people work, live, perform, and feel their best. Beiersdorf, considered to be the inventor of modern skincare with 130+ years of success as a cosmetics and skincare brand, wanted to set a benchmark for not only the business, but for the industry, both nationwide and for the Beiersdorf brand globally.

The objective of the project aimed to create an environment that reflected Beiersdorf’s brand, commitment to sustainability, and facilitate increased collaboration, communication, and innovation company-wide. Beiersdorf’s wellness centered ethos provided a framework for Incorp to move away from their previously ‘clinical’ environment and transition the staff from offices to open plan, creating a WELL standard workplace. “Project Unity” became the name and driver in principle for Beiersdorf’s complete workplace transformation. The project aligned with leadership’s desire to be an exemplar of best practice globally, unifying both Beiersdorf and Beiersdorf Healthcare teams under one roof, and the refurbishment of their entire North Ryde workplace targeting a WELL standard.

The process initially began with the need to relocate staff from the Beiersdorf Healthcare brand into temporary space in the basement area of their North Ryde space. It was a move that would unify their Erskine Park and North Ryde staff into one location. What started as a design and construction project transformed when the Project Unity team saw the opportunity to:

Put Beiersdorf’s people first and create an environment that prioritises the health of every employee.

At the time this was one of a handful of projects undertaking WELL certification – the world’s first Standard focused solely on the health and wellbeing of staff based on 7 concepts – Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Fitness, Comfort and Mind

Gain valuable insights from a business analysis and change program BEFORE designing their workplace.

By examining workplace behaviours, neighbourhoods, adjacencies, how the existing ways of working, and workstyles weren’t facilitating increased interaction and teaming, we were able to co-design a culture-infused change management program and workplace suited to Beiersdorf’s immediate and longer-term needs.

Involve employees as Evolution Champions with developing change strategies, implementing initiatives, and ensuring the change sticks so Beiersdorf continues to evolve.

Together with focus groups conducted with all office staff, the champions enabled employees to be heard as individuals, as teams, and as a group, and ensured buy-in from initiatives based on their ideas, suggestions, and comments.

Survey for Success to baseline current perception Pre-Project Unity vs Post-Project Unity.

Employees were asked to rate the success of key drivers of success for Beiersdorf around culture, work process, decision making, communication, innovation, and learning before and after Project Unity. The intention being, to build and leverage this knowledge as a way to retain and attract staff through a sense of community, belonging, and excellence, reinforcing and building upon an already strong company culture.

Beiersdorf’s key achievement was creating an environment that broke down siloes and unified their culture, provided a highly productive and enriching place to work, and lifted the brand to truly reflect Beiersdorf as a modern skin and healthcare organisation. The journey through the space provides a journey through Beiersdorf’s brand itself – being greeted by an impressive lightbox display at entry, to the round meeting room windows paying homage to the globally renowned “Blue Nivea cream pot”, to the integration of the trusted Nivea blue. Collaboration spaces and technology have facilitated the change in Beiersdorf’s culture to be one of open communication and collaboration while encouraging free movement and the flexibility to optimise their working styles to suit their outcomes.

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