NAWIC Business Woman Of The Year Drives Change


Image: (from left) Laura Durkan, Guy Templeton and Jamie Durie.

When a business has been running for 40 years, establishing new programs and changing a workplace culture can be challenging – but NAWIC's (National Association of Women in Construction) Business Woman of the Year winner, Laura Durkan, is delivering this in spades.

Ms Durkan, Head of Human Resources at Richard Crookes Constructions, was presented with the prestigious WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff Business Woman of the Year Award at NAWIC NSW’s annual awards in August.

Ms Durkan said she saw a real opportunity to transform and align the company’s people processes when she started with Richard Crookes Constructions two-and- a-half years ago.

“I remember when I went for my interview, meeting some of my colleagues for the first time, I thought to myself that this business has got something very special going on," she said.

"Since we have worked together to implement some of the best people initiatives I have come across in my career."Ms Durkan spent a lot of time talking to all employees to “understand where the business sat – what was already working well and where we could make positive changes.”

With a background in a range of industries, from banking, manufacturing to technology,Ms Durkan says she always tries to look for creative, cost effective and efficient approaches and platforms to enhance the employee experience through engagement, performance and culture.

She redesigned core processes, including a new induction and integration program, coaching and mentoring, and looking at how Richard Crookes Constructions measures and manages performance.

Ms Durkan also introduced a new multi-tiered learning program, the RCC Learning Network, to drive a positive increase in employee engagement.

Small initiatives, such as communicating and celebrating internal promotions, gave employees visibility that the company was building talent from within.

“It showed people we cared about their careers and internal progression, and were looking to cultivate future leaders," Ms Durkan said.

One of her biggest achievements has been the significant headway made in changing the mindset of the organisation.

“We all understand that we need a high-performance culture and a focus on our people to build long-term relationships and deliver the best projects for our clients.”

Richard Crookes Constructions employs 440 staff across NSW and ACT. While can be challenging working with a company which is predominantly male, Durkan says it can also be hugely rewarding.

“Diversity facilitates different perspectives and allows us to challenge ideas in thinking – ideas that are critical to ensure we meet the needs of a rapidly evolving market,” she said.

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