Specialist Analysis and Improvement for Minerals Australia, Shane, says teams with diverse experience seem to mesh together better, generating superior results and innovative thinking, and he should know.
"When I started in the industry career progression almost always required a loud voice and a macho disposition and women were rarely sighted in production roles.
"Fast forward twenty-something years and the landscape is a far more collaborative, rich and enjoyable place to work.
BHP’s flexible-work program attracts people from all walks of life because of the benefits and accessibility options it offers,” Shane explained.
People in diverse teams feel more comfortable to speak up, work together to solve problems and make better decisions.
This has contributed to in an improvement in injury rates, production accuracy and a better culture in the business overall.
“You don’t want the same personality types in your team. You need a good diverse mix like an innovator, a do-er, a details person and people who are great at executing plans," he said.
One of the most measured and successful examples of the flexible program can be found at the Daunia and Caval Ridge mines in Queensland’s Bowen Basin.
His wife is in professional sciences and wanted a three day a week permanent position but she couldn't find one.
Daniel’s supervisor suggested he do what he needed to support her.
Allowing him to work from home meant his wife could secure a permanent four day a week position.
Both men are not just participants in the program but also strong advocates for it.
They want to counter the attitude that taking advantage of the flexible work program might negatively affect their career path.
“We’re trying to change some societal norms and beliefs that make it difficult for women to return to the workplace by getting the word out that the company encourages flexible work, no matter what gender," Dan said.
“Since we’ve started Dan and I are getting a lot of women saying it's good to see guys doing this because it shows it’s not just a female thing,” Shane said.
Both men describe themselves as very proud parents and supportive of their partners restarting their own careers after having children.
Shane said he doesn’t want his two young girls growing up believing people’s roles in life should be in little boxes.
“I want to empower my daughters and help them grow up in a society where we are more productive and as a result everyone enjoys a higher standard of living," he said.
He believes flexible work programs help to make that happen.
"I believe that fathers have just as important a role in bringing up our kids as mothers," he said.
“Sure they are different, but both are very important to bring different views and ways of thinking that can produce a more creative and well-rounded kids and flexible work can help achieve that.”
Two very different heads are much better than one.