How HR-tech is helping an Australian resources giant evolve

With increasing pressure on the mining industry and fast-changing global conditions, Australia’s resources businesses are facing challenging times. To be profitable and competitive in this new landscape, they need to evolve.  

OZ Minerals is Australia's third largest copper producer, operating the copper-gold-silver mine at Prominent Hill, and developing one of Australia’s largest copper-gold resources at Carrapateena; both in South Australia. Listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX100), OZ Minerals has a growth strategy focused on creating value for all stakeholders.

In 2015 OZ Minerals set out on journey to become a Modern Mining Company. As part of this journey, enabling and supporting its people through the necessary culture change has been a major goal. In 2016, OZ Minerals increased its focus on earning the right to grow and aligning the organisation with the company strategy. This was done to build a shared vision and sense of community across the business. However, with only an annual survey of people to measure progress, OZ Minerals wanted a faster and more agile way of obtaining employee feedback.  

“At that point, we wanted to better engage with our people, reduce the time it took to get data and empower managers to be able to act on it quickly,” Mark Rankmore, Head of HR and Services, OZ Minerals, said.

After implementing Teamgage, OZ Minerals transitioned to getting real time feedback from its people on key behavioural metrics. This data has become a central part of how the leadership team manages the business, discussed at weekly C-Suite catch-ups to track the progress and evolution of the company’s culture.

Thanks to Teamgage, OZ Minerals’ management have increased ability to temperature check and respond quickly to address any emerging issues. This has helped OZ Minerals evolve towards becoming a forward-thinking business with a culture of accountability and collaboration.

“The speed of feedback has changed the conversations around our people, at the very highest level of the business. We use Teamgage to chart progress and identify areas for improvement,” Mark said.

Teamgage plays an important role in helping to align different teams within the business.

As an example, the development of the Carrapateena mine involves complex teams, both internal and external, working closely together. The external consultants and the OZ Minerals on-site operational team have very different skill sets, and often speak a different technical language. This can lead to inefficiency in the working relationship.

By opening up Teamgage to both teams, OZ Minerals was able understand issues before they became roadblocks. Teams are becoming better aligned so everyone can work towards the same project delivery goal.

Using Teamgage alongside a suite of other HR-tech tools, such as internal social media and an ideas generation platform, has also encouraged innovation at OZ Minerals. Three years ago, a “focus on the job” and top-down innovation culture meant the people at the coal face were reluctant to champion their ideas. The use of Teamgage has started a shift in perception around the value of employees’ opinions and ideas. This has led to notable innovations within the mining process itself.

As an example, the danger of falling debris during blasting can be a serious operational issue in mining. An OZ Minerals operations team member had the idea to use inflatable spheres, much like medicine balls, to mitigate this risk. The idea was picked up and championed by internal teams, which convinced managed to pilot their use.

“As our business evolves towards becoming an innovative and agile modern mining company, it’s vital that we bring our people along the journey with us. Teamgage is an integral part of our transformation process, giving us the data and insight to make the right decisions, quickly,” Mark said. 

Facts and figures

  • 3 months: the length of the pilot program that proved the effectiveness of Teamgage
  • 14%: the improvement on key metrics during the pilot program
  • 420: the number of OZ Minerals team members now using the platform

How Teamgage worked

OZ Minerals introduced Teamgage as a fast feedback tracking tool that created awareness and discussion around priority areas for the business. Seven key areas were chosen for tracking, based on company values and strategy, and the platform was tested on a cohort of 150 people during a three month pilot.

Monthly aggregated feedback was made visible to local teams, which guided valuable discussions in regular team meetings. At the same time, overall trends and patterns across the business could be seen and analysed in real-time.

This insight gave the leadership team the unique opportunity to understand and support specific teams and leaders in the process. The Human Resources team worked regularly with managers to support greater action planning in response to monthly discussion and feedback. 

Tracking results

Within the first three months, OZ Minerals noticed improvements across six of the seven key metrics. A decision was made to roll out the tool across the entire business, with revised metrics, to give a deeper level of feedback to teams on their performance and alignment with the modern mining company values and behaviour.

Teams have actively embraced the process and opportunity to constructively discuss and action their own local level feedback.  Teamgage has proven itself as a powerful platform to empower teams and give everyone sight of how they can further collaborate, improve and live the OZ Mineral values every day. 

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