Top innovative Australian companies


Well-being leave days, virtual reality recruitment, and career breaks are just some of the attractive workplace perks offered by some of Australia’s most innovative Companies. Indeed, being a highly innovative company tends to go hand in hand with providing a great workplace for staff.

Deloitte, who ranked number six in the 2017 Australian Financial Review’s Most Innovative Companies list, have introduced a number of innovative workplace benefits over the last few years.

Acknowledging that there might be times in a person’s career at Deloitte when they might want to take a sabbatical to explore something completely different – or just take a break – employees are able to take “Career Breaks” where leave can be taken for up to 12 months.

Tina McCreery, Deloitte People & Performance partner, explains that there are a number of different activities employees have undertaken. “Career Breaks have given staff the opportunity to travel, volunteer, engage in professional development, study and pursue other personal interests.”

Wellbeing is also a big focus at the firm. “The Wellbeing at Deloitte program is built on the fundamental premise that wellbeing drives engagement and high performance, which improves retention and productivity, driving better outcomes for individuals and the firm,” describes McCreery. “Our ultimate goal is to help our people become happier and healthier, thereby improving our firm performance and productivity.”

The program includes nutrition workshops to educate staff on healthy eating habits despite busy schedules and the Step Up Challenge, which involved walking a minimum of 10,000 steps a day over two months. The challenge saw over 600 teams take part, with vouchers awarded to winners to purchase wellbeing related products.

At carsales.com.au, the company has recently created its own school holiday program to help working parents balance work and home commitments. In an interview with Human Capital Magazine, Chief People Officer Jo Allan describes, “Our school holiday program builds on the flexibility that we already provide our people, to help them be their best selves and achieve work-life balance.”

In addition to its five-day school holiday program, carsales launched its first Kids Coding Camp in January, whereby kids are introduced to programming and robotics. “The goal was to help encourage the children’s curiosity in tech, which was well received,” said Allan.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia, who has consistently ranked in the Australian Financial Review’s Most Innovative Companies list every year for the last six years, focuses on not only the employee experience, but also those applying for jobs with the bank. Two years ago, the bank launched its Virtual Reality Careers Experience, which used Oculus Rift to give graduates a virtual experience of what it was like to work at the bank. Innovating the recruitment process has proved to be an effective way for CommBank to attract top digital talent.

Lendlease, who debuted at number 14 in the 2017 Australian Financial Review’s Most Innovative Companies list, place a great emphasis on mental and physical health of staff. Employees are given one “well-being leave” day per quarter, in addition to the standard annual leave provided. Staff can decide to any number of activities, which range from martial arts through to cookery classes.

These organisations demonstrate that as well as being an innovative company to customers, providing innovative benefits to staff is also key in being a great employer.


Dr Amantha Imber is the Founder of Inventium, Australia’s leading innovation consultancy. Want to become a better innovator? Read Inventium’s report that explains the six innovation mistakes almost every organisation makes.