As part of our ongoing Cost-of-Living campaign, we are speaking to our members who currently pay the London Living Wage in their business to learn what impact this has on their employees.
Why has your business chosen to be a London Living Wage employer?
Lendlease is a global investment and real estate group that’s on a mission to create places where communities thrive. But to deliver iconic places we need to ensure our workforce is also flourishing. That’s why in 2020 we took steps to become an accredited Living Wage Employer.
As a Living Wage Employer, we pay all of our people a living wage no matter where they’re based in the UK, demonstrating our ability to give our people access to fairly paid and equitable work and opportunities for individual progression. Our approach is in line with the key principles of ‘good work’ outlined in the renowned Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices.
We were proud to be the first developer of our size to become a Living Wage employer across our entire UK portfolio.This means that all Lendlease staff and our supply chain sub-contractors are guaranteed to receive a living wage for the work they complete on a Lendlease development.
What benefits has your business experienced by being a LLW employer?
Paying employees a living wage is one of the cornerstones of creating an inclusive company culture. Having a Living Wage policy in place demonstrates our unwavering commitment to our people and the communities we work in. It shows that we value them and the time they commit to work.
That has several benefits to us as a business, including:
We retain talent, keeping people employed with us for longer. It also means that we’re a more attractive business for prospective employees too.
Our people have better wellbeing. Investing in fair wages has well documented social, economic and well-being benefits. This is more impactful when we consider that there are worse rates of mental and physical health recorded in the construction industry than in many other sectors.
However, paying people a real living wage isn’t a silver bullet when it comes to creating a positive workplace culture. Pair it with a programme of thoughtful skilling, development and growth opportunities to meaningfully improve internal culture. Overall, these techniques combined have supported us to create productive and committed teams that work for the long-term benefit of our business.
We continue to work closely with our supply chain to support and educate them on our Living Wage requirements. This means having clear objectives, processes for them to follow and a rigorous rolling audit system which helps to identify any gaps in compliance.
What does the LLW accreditation mean to your employees?
Lendlease has a long record of creating social value in the places we create. Lendlease Founder Dick Dusseldorp was an early adopter of the concept of responsible business and triple bottom-line thinking. This ethos continues to run through the organisation today.
Lendlease colleagues are some of the biggest champions of our living wage accreditation. Employees are aware of the policy and can be assured that regardless of background or their seniority, everyone is being paid fairly for the work that they do. This helps us to foster our culture of inclusivity and fairness and supports our wider aspirations for social mobility both within Lendlease and the industry more broadly.
It also means that our employees are able to turn up to work each day, knowing they are valued for the time they commit.
What does being an LLW employer mean to your clients?
Social Responsibility has grown in significance to both our clients and investors in recent years, becoming a core expectation in seeking planning approval and new partnerships. In many cases, Lendlease wins contracts because of our significant track-record in social value delivery. We even set a global target to deliver $250m in social value by 2025.
Being Living Wage accredited assures our clients that we are acting as a good corporate citizen and delivering social benefits in addition to those commitments that are mandatory as part of planning applications and the development process.
Living wage accreditation is part of our offer that helps us to secure client buy-in for broader social responsibility activity and programmes. Our work has also encouraged a number of our clients to seek accreditation for their own organisations.
What would you tell other businesses about your own experience paying the London Living Wage?
Consider your drivers: Understanding the reasons why the living wage is valuable and doing a cost benefit analysis is key to navigating any criticisms or concerns that you may face from naysayers. The impact of being a Living Wage employer will be different for different organisations, therefore understanding your ‘why’ is a critical first step in determining any likely pitfalls or opportunities.
Treat the implementation as a change management process and be prepared to have some bumps in the road and difficult discussions along the way.
Collaboration is key: For those with sizeable value chains, some businesses may subscribe to the concept of the Living Wage but feel entirely unequipped to implement it. These are the organisations that you will need to work alongside, to build capacity and understanding of the initiative.
Lucille Watkins-Brazier, Head of Social Impact, Lendlease Europe
Tell us about your business
Lendlease is a global investment and real estate group with core expertise in shaping cities and creating strong and connected communities. Headquartered in Sydney and listed on the Australian stock exchange, our business is global with four operating regions: Europe, Australia, the Americas and Asia.
Being bold and innovative characterises our approach and we are differentiated from our peers through our end-to-end capability across all aspects of real estate – from concept and planning
to design and delivery, through to funding and investment management. This allows us to deliver superior economic, social, and environmental outcomes for our partners and the communities we serve; our vision is to create places where communities thrive.
What does London mean to you?
London is one of the most diverse and resilient cities in the world. It has an electric energy, with world-leaders in technology, science, the arts and business coming together to form a melting pot of culture and innovation.
Lendlease is committed to developing in the city for the long-term, building the housing and delivering the opportunities that Londoners need. Our vision for the six major urban regeneration projects we have in the capital is to create places where local communities can thrive, carving our new community spaces and increasing access to greenspace.
What do you think is the best thing about running a business in the capital?
Can you say everything? Being based in London has allowed Lendlease to network with businesses of all sizes and connect with the broader UK supply chain. In 2022, we spent £93m with SMEs in the UK. Having a London hub has also allowed us to work with some of the capital’s best talent, our award-winning graduate scheme and our apprenticeship scheme has allowed us to provide young Londoners access to opportunities across the development process.
How do you envision London in 10 years’ time?
I imagine London will be a fairer place, a vibrant, green, global city. A place which supports aspiration, growth and health and wellbeing, and where everybody can access their chosen career, a decent home, and a world-class education.