When the state of Victoria went into Stage 4 lockdown, a host of restrictions were enforced across the state that would affect individuals and businesses alike.

Unlike those that preceded, these restrictions would differ immensely. A curfew was introduced, time limits were placed on essential activities such as shopping and exercise, and further businesses and industries sectors were forced to close.

For those still allowed to work a permit system was introduced, but this was unfamiliar territory for many businesses. For our Road Services People and Culture team, loomed the daunting task of having to create a new process, that would incorporate government advice, within a 24-hour time frame.

“We didn’t have any processes in place, and we were given very little notice”, reflected Natalie Rochman, People and Culture Business Partner for Victoria and Tasmania.

“We had to get 300 permits completed in one day. We worked until 1:30 in the morning to get all the permits out so that all our employees could come to work” said Natalie.

Permits were issued to Downer and DM Roads employees that were still required to work. Permits required up to date personal details of all 300 employees such as their:

  • Personal Details
  • Employer Details
  • Hours of work and work location

Penalties of up to $19,826 for individuals and $99,132 for businesses applied to employers who did not correctly issue worker permits to their employees.

People and Culture Advisor, Alanah Holloway was not going to let that happen.

“It was really frantic. We needed to gather the correct information so that our employees could come to work and ensure we weren’t exposed to any of the penalties.”

The biggest challenge for the two was collating and transferring all the employee information from one database which then sat in a spreadsheet.

“We worked with Client Services Manager, Fraser Shields to develop an app which housed all our data.”

The in-house built app acts as a direct link between managers and People and Culture. It allows managers to send through worker permit requests which then notifies our People and Culture team that a permit needs to be generated, amended or revoked.

Team work is what Natalie and Alanah attribute the success of the process to.

“This [COVID-19] is new to everyone. We all had different parts to play and we have been working together to try and get the best outcome for the business,” Natalie says.

People and Culture Manager Allyson Muster and People and Culture Advisor Tara Cameron played a pivotal role in arrangement of data, development of the app and the issuing of permits.

“We definitely couldn't have done it without Allyson and Tara who played a major part in the permit process; their quick thinking and dedication was deeply appreciated,” Alanah says.

In the end the hard work and late nights pay off and the two reflect on what is now considered to be a rewarding experience.

The pair, both Victoria based, have been working remotely since April and have had to deal with the added tasks from COVID-19 restrictions on top of their usual roles and responsibilities.

“We provide a lot of support as part of our role, but even more so now that a lot of people are working from home,” Natalie says.

As restrictions begin to ease in some areas of Victoria, DM Roads remains committed to ensuring the health and safety of our employees through the combined efforts of our People and Culture and Zero Harm teams.