Aurecon has rolled out new visual employment contracts in Asia, starting with its Philippines office.


Aurecon rolls out visual employment contracts in the Philippines

Aurecon has rolled out new visual employment contracts in Asia, starting with its Philippines office.

Aurecon employees are depicted as lightbulbs in the visual contract's illustrations

20 February 2020 – International engineering, advisory and design company Aurecon has rolled out new visual employment contracts in Asia, starting with its Philippines office. The employment contract eliminates more than 4,000 words to create a succinct, meaningful and engaging visual contract that uses illustrations to complement the text.

Aurecon’s office in the Philippines follows in the steps of its counterparts in Australia and New Zealand that launched their own versions of the visual employment contracts in 2018. The first visual employment contracts in Australia were developed in partnership with Law Professor Camilla Andersen from the University of Western Australia.

For Aurecon’s Global Shared Services Manager in the Philippines, Sonny Bartido, introducing visual employment contracts strengthens the company’s relationship between the organisation and its employees right from the beginning. 

“This is a welcome development in the Philippines because visual arts are highly embedded in the Filipino way of living. But visual employment contracts are not only about the images. It is about ensuring that we establish understanding, engagement and trust with our employees right away,” Bartido explained.

Video transcript: Aurecon launches visual employment contracts

When engaging talent, a picture is worth a thousand words. Employment contracts are confusing, wordy, and written for… lawyers? Who reads it all? Who really understands it all?

As human centred designers we wanted to change all that. We wanted to make the complex simple… while being playful with serious intent. We created a succinct and understandable employment contract. Free from legal jargon these innovative contracts look like a comic strip.

They are called visual contracts. Visual contracts are an emerging discipline and part of a broader movement to simplify the law. Aurecon and staff are represented by characters or avatars. The lightbulb avatar represents employees or ‘ideas people’.

To re-design the contracts a talented team was assembled from different disciplines – people & culture, innovation, legal, communication, and graphic design. And we partnered with a visual contracting specialist – Professor Camilla Andersen from the University of Western Australia. More than 5000 words were eliminated.

Concepts and drawings were developed in design workshops. Each iteration was tested, and tweaked. The result: A succinct, user-friendly, and easy to understand employment contract. A new way to engage with employees, to build trust.

It’s an unconventional approach, but one that will set the tone of what an employee can expect when they join Aurecon. Developed for all levels of staff, Aurecon’s visual employment contacts are a world first, and part of our focus on reimagining the future of work.

A new and innovative approach to simplifying the law – creating the right foundation for positive employment relationships.

Aurecon is now using these innovative visual contracts in Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines. 

But what does it look like?

With words like “severability” and “fidelity”, and phrases such as “pecuniary interest” – it is easy to see that traditional employment contracts are unnecessarily complex and don’t create an environment in which employment relationships can thrive.

New employees joining Aurecon no longer receive a Letter of Appointment accompanied by a lengthy Conditions of Employment document written in legal terms and small font.

Aurecon's probationary period depicted in one of Aurecon’s Visual Employment Contracts. Click image to enlarge.

The transition to visual format eliminates complex legal jargons and replace them with illustrations to better explain concepts. The new format then ensures that the intent behind the letter of appointment is understood by all parties. This fosters a richer talent engagement, which is becoming one of Aurecon’s biggest competitive differentiators across many industries and companies.

“At Aurecon, we strongly believe in the principles of being playful with serious intent and in making the complex simple. Implementing the visual employment contract in the Philippines certainly helps enhance our new employees’ experience,” says Anabel Delleva, Aurecon’s People Operations Manager for Asia and Middle East. “In fact, these new contracts received positive initial response when we rolled it out in the country in January 2020.”

But are they enforceable?

Aurecon’s external legal counsel in the Philippines confirms that using illustrations in an employment contract are enforceable in the country.

“Though not yet tested before our courts, we are of the opinion that Aurecon’s innovative employment contracts that use illustrations to complement simple text are enforceable in this jurisdiction,” the firm states.

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