This past financial year has been a year like no other for us at Diversity Partners. That’s because of both the volume of engagements we’ve completed, as well as the depth of commitment we’ve seen from clients to more diverse and inclusive workplaces.
We’ve helped 70 Australian and global organisations on their diversity and inclusion journey in the past year. Many contracted us for multiple engagements to embed diversity and inclusion principles in policies, strategy, and through leadership education.
As global research shows, this hardwiring and soft wiring of diversity and inclusion is what helps to accelerate progress.
There is, of course, so much more work to be done in Australia to improve diversity. But we’re energised when clients implement our recommendations and see genuine improvements in the diversity of hires, retention, and inclusion scores in employee surveys. Like Port Waratah in Newcastle that achieved a significant increase in applications from women and Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples for operator roles after our comprehensive review of their recruitment process.
This year has also seen us co-develop several gender equality action plans and gender impact assessments with a strong intersectional focus for Victorian public entities, including statutory authorities and local councils. This intersectional lens has elevated the focus to how different aspects of a person’s identity can expose them to overlapping forms of discrimination and marginalisation in workplaces. Some entities, like the Victorian Funds Management Corporation, have made significant progress towards gender equality at all levels of the organisation.
“While there’s still so much work to be done in Australia to improve diversity, we’re energised when clients implement our recommendations and see improvements in the diversity of hires, retention, and inclusion scores.”
Most of our clients continue to seek two areas of help when they contact us. The first is to identify diversity-related challenges and recommendations to improve their workplace culture. This year, a significant driver has been retention of diverse talent in the competitive labour market. That means a large part of our work continues to be diagnostics and strategy development, and our recommendations usually include solutions to mitigate bias in policies, processes and day-to-day practices.
The second key reason clients contact us is to build the inclusive leadership capability of people leaders. We’ve subsequently expanded our inclusive leadership online and face-to-face workshops to include one-on-one executive coaching, mentoring and sponsorship programs. We explore ways leaders can be more inclusive when leading teams, when making decisions, when recruiting, and when communicating internally and externally to support diversity – of backgrounds and thinking approaches.
We learn so much from the diversity of our clients. Talk with any of our consultants, and they’ll tell you this is what they love most about the work we do. This year we’ve worked with large financial services organisations, international humanitarian organisations, Australian and global law firms, fashion retailers, resources companies, media outlets, emergency services providers, national sporting clubs, major arts centres, global transport companies, among many others.
“We learn so much from the diversity of our clients. Talk with any of our consultants, and they’ll tell you this is what they love most about the work we do.”
We’re also excited to be working with more clients on how they consider diversity and inclusion principles in design of products, services, retail stores, facilities, marketing, sustainability programs, and community partnerships. Some of Australia’s largest department stores and fashion retailers have chosen to partner with us this past year, and we anticipate shopping experiences becoming noticeably more inclusive for diverse consumers.
Another highlight has been the opportunity to become a silver Foundation Partner with The Pinnacle Foundation. Pinnacle provides educational scholarships, mentoring and opportunities for young LGBTIQ+ Australians to realise their potential. We joined forces earlier this year to launch Project Pronoun to encourage sharing of gender pronouns by business leaders and normalise conversations about gender identity.
It’s thanks to our growing team of outstanding specialists and collaborators that all of this can happen. As we take a breath at the start of a new financial year, I want to warmly acknowledge our team members, collaborators, and clients for their ongoing commitment to more diverse and inclusive workplaces.