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How we’re guiding organisations to make a positive difference to workplace cultures in 2021

This year we’ve experienced an unprecedented level of interest from organisations wanting to accelerate their progress towards creating a more diverse and inclusive workplace.

As we start the new financial year in July 2021, we’ve been reflecting on the range of engagements undertaken, and the impact of those engagements to give you a taste of the type of work we do, and the depth of research we apply. As many of us in Australia are currently impacted by lockdowns, we continue to offer virtual education and strategy consulting.

In the past six months, we’ve partnered with 50 organisations to make a positive difference to their culture, leadership practices and people policies. This work has helped these organisations to innovate and make more robust decisions through leveraging different thinking approaches, and helped their employees feel a stronger sense of belonging.

The companies are from diverse industries: media and telecommunications, international humanitarian assistance, insurance, higher education, emergency services, global retail, defence and engineering, manufacturing, fashion, urban water, healthcare, agriculture, resources, construction, consulting, and legal and professional services.

This year we have already developed comprehensive diversity and inclusion strategies and reviewed HR and business policies to embed best practice diversity and inclusion principles for 20 clients. In most of these organisations, this has involved detailed data reviews, interviews, focus groups, and surveys to uncover challenges that inhibit D&I progress, and provide a way forward to overcome them, based on global best practice evidence.

We’ve threaded D&I principles in recruitment, performance review, succession planning, and promotion policies. We’ve embedded them in leadership competencies, external marketing, supplier selection and customer interactions, working closely with People & Culture, Procurement, Marketing, Sustainability, Design, and Sales teams.

This hardwiring of diversity and inclusion principles into processes and systems across the employee and customer life cycle helps close the ‘intention-action’ gap that experts like Harvard University Professor Iris Bohnet have spoken about.

For other clients, we’ve provided education to leaders and employees on the value of diversity and inclusion, and ways to challenge unconscious bias, and help team members feel valued, trusted, authentic and have a sense of psychological safety – the hallmarks of an inclusive workplace, according to global research and consulting firm Catalyst.

“This hardwiring of diversity and inclusion principles into processes and systems across the employee and customer life cycle helps close the ‘intention-action’ gap.”

We’ve also been working with several Victorian government entities to help them meet the requirements of the new Gender Equality Act 2020. This includes audits, action plans and gender impact assessments. This is ground-breaking work which requires positive action and promotion of workplace gender equality in their policies, programs and services.

Our range of engagements undertaken so far this year 
Our range of engagements undertaken so far this year

An increasing focus for us is exploring the lived experiences of employees around psychological safety; finding out if employees feel safe to raise concerns, offer new ideas, or challenge traditional norms that no longer serve diverse workforces, and then providing guidance on ways to encourage people to share and take moderate risks.

There’s been lots of open and often challenging conversations with executive leadership teams on the importance of encouraging different thinking approaches and suspending judgement on topics such as hybrid and remote working, and how best to reflect the communities in which they operate in Australia’s regional and metropolitan areas.

When you choose Diversity Partners as your D&I partner organisation, we aim to give you guidance and support that is leading-edge, evidence-based, pragmatic, and tailored to your culture and business, bringing thoughtful insights from our team of highly qualified specialists around Australia.

We appreciate every opportunity to make a difference towards more inclusive workplaces – whether in start-ups, small, medium and large organisations – and thank our clients and collaborators for partnering with us for these important opportunities so far in 2021.

if you’d like to learn more about our work, or have a conversation about your organisation’s needs, please call our office on 1800 571 999.

About Dr Katie Spearritt

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