Travelling to Canada for Positive Psychology and Well-being

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Travelling to Canada for Positive Psychology and Well-being

This July I am travelling to Montreal, Canada, to attend the 5th World Congress of Positive Psychology and Wellbeing. Hosted by the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA), the purpose of the congress is to share progress in the science of positive psychology and its evidence-based practices.

I am looking forward to being among researchers, students, psychologists, educators and other professionals to learn more. I am especially interested in promoting the foundations of well-being to influence positive organisations that build positive cultures with supportive communication and relationships that are inclusive and embrace a diverse workforce. I am looking forward to bringing my learning back to share with the Diversity Inclusion team and you.

My passion is to influence a positive workplace culture where people feel valued and accepted for their contributions. This includes empowering individuals to own their self-care practices to reduce stress, improve and maintain mental health with the support of leadership and the organisation.

Self-care and developing skills to cope with everyday stressors enables us to be better leaders and co-workers, and go home to our families and communities better friends, spouses and citizens.

Congress speakers include, Martin Seligman PhD, thinker in residence for wellbeing in South Australia 2012/13, Angela Duckworth PhD on Grit, Kim Cameron PhD on Positive Leadership and Organisations, David Cooperrider on Appreciative Enquiry and Ellen Langer on Mindfulness. There are so many great presenters, these are just a few. The entire congress will cover organisations, education, lifespan development, wellbeing and more.

I look forward to sharing what I learn when I return and please let me know what you would be interested in learning if you were attending the Congress.

 

Leanne is an Associate of Diversity Inclusion and a facilitator for the Diversity Inclusion Call it Out Program in her workplace. She is passionate about well-being and its connection to diverse and inclusive workplaces.

 

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Connecting Innovation with Diversity

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Connecting Innovation with Diversity

Last Thursday, I had the honour of being the keynote speaker at the South Australian Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) iAwards Gala Dinner. The event brought together the South Australian information industry community to recognise their top innovations. The South Australian Premier, Jay Weatherill, spoke at the event and kicked off the award announcements.

I spoke about the connection between diversity and innovation, sharing a dynamic set of short videos and commercials with my audience. I touched on the important role the information industry has played in enhancing the lives of people, particularly those with a disability.  See the NBN video that I shared on the night.

I then shared the award winning and very creative Blackbird with the audience, as an example of global collaboration and an example of diversity and inclusion in technology. See this video that brings the Blackbird to life and will change the way you look at the next car commercial. And finally, I shared this wonderful commercial from Denmark’s television channel TV2 Denmark called “All that we Share”.

I left the audience with a call to action, asking them how they will harness the benefits of diversity and inclusion in their roles tomorrow, by drawing on our Inclusive Leadership Program content for running inclusive meetings.

One of my highlights from the night was the award-winning Year 9 students from Murray Bridge High School giving me the opportunity to play their computer game, designed to support students with dealing effectively with bullying! Reducing bullying in the work place is a topic we are very focussed on at Diversity Inclusion with our “Call it Out” Program.

Congratulations to all the award winners from last Thursday night’s iAwards! It was a great event and thank you for including me in the celebrations!

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The need for a flexible CEO

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The need for a flexible CEO

Recently, I spoke to Ashlee Borgkvist, a researcher at The University of Adelaide who is trying to understand why so many organisations are seeing low uptake of flexible work options, despite having the policies in place to enable them. While there is a great deal of support for the benefits of flexible work, or what we call at Diversity Inclusion ‘Future Work’, we spoke at length about the complex web of factors that discourage people from working more flexibly. We found ourselves continually circling back to one key factor that determined the success or failure of programs designed to encourage new ways of working, or more specifically one key person: the CEO.

Informal discouragement can exist in many forms, but the culture and the boundaries of acceptable behaviour within organisations are largely set by the senior leadership, and particularly CEO’s. If senior leaders are not using flexible arrangements, this sends the message that they are not acceptable to use. 

It is important for employees to hear, see, and feel within their organisations’ informal working culture, that those at the highest levels support flexibility both in theory and in practice. This provides a mandate that it is not only okay for all employees to use them, but that the organisation will not exclude employees that use flexible working, from promotion and progression opportunities. 

To encourage employees to take up flexibility, senior leaders need to be engaging in flexibility themselves, and making this visible to their employees.

This got me thinking: who are the CEO’s or outstanding business leaders in Australia that job share, work part time or apply flexible working to their job? If you know of any, we would love to create our own part time power rankings, and begin to increase the profile of senior leaders working flexibly.

Additionally, Ashlee is currently recruiting for her study, speaking with managers about their experiences managing flexible working arrangements. If you would like to contribute please get in touch with Ashlee at ashlee.borgkvist@adelaide.edu.au.

 

Jordan Gabriels, Diversity Consultant at Diversity Inclusion

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Be Bold for Change this International Women’s Day

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Be Bold for Change this International Women’s Day

Today, as we celebrate International Women’s Day, we are encouraged to Be Bold for Change, which is this year’s International Women’s Day theme. At Diversity Inclusion, we like this theme of being bold. While continued discussion around gender equity is important, ultimately organisations need to be bold in taking real action to create change.

At Diversity Inclusion, we work with organisations around Australia, to help them to become more diverse and more inclusive.

This year, we are a Silver Sponsor of the Adelaide International Women’s Day Breakfast. In the lead up to this event, we have given individuals who missed out on a ticket to the sold-out event, an opportunity to join us at our table. To win the ticket, we asked people to email us outlining why they believe diversity is important for their organisation.

Thank you to everyone who sent through their thoughts and ideas! We have now chosen an individual to join us at our table on Friday morning.

We received many responses, and in addition to explaining why diversity is important for their organisation, many people also outlined their personal reasons for supporting diversity, such as wanting to see a better world for their children and for future generations. Responses also highlighted:

  • wanting to see more women involved in making key decisions,
  • the importance of increasing the uptake of flexible working and having a greater emphasis on work and life balance, and
  • wanting to see more women in the senior ranks of organisations

Unless real action is taken, at the current rate of change, research by Oxfam (2014) suggests it will take 75 years for women around the world to achieve equal pay. 

How will your organisation take real action, and be bold for change this year? Diversity Inclusion recommends a strategic approach to change: first understand the challenges in your organisation, and then develop initiatives to address these; this approach should help you to make best use of your organisation’s resources, and drive real change (for more information on a strategic approach to diversity, see our website: http://diversityinclusion.com.au/services-2/). For ideas of how your organisation can be bold for change, visit the UN International Women’s Day website for ideas: https://www.internationalwomensday.com/BeBold, or speak with us at Diversity Inclusion (info@diversityinclusion.com.au). 

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Join Diversity Inclusion at the Adelaide International Women’s Day Breakfast

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Join Diversity Inclusion at the Adelaide International Women’s Day Breakfast

Adelaide has an incredible legacy for celebrating International Women’s Day (IWD) through its annual IWD Breakfast. Across Australia, Adelaide’s breakfast is one of the largest attracting more than 2500 participants, with tickets often selling out within a week.

This year, Diversity Inclusion is a Silver Sponsor of the IWD Breakfast. We work with organisations, not only in Adelaide, but across Australia, to help them to become more diverse, and more inclusive. While we focus on the full spectrum of diversity (e.g. age, culture, sexual orientation, personality etc), our clients continue to seek our advice on achieving greater gender diversity. For your chance to win a ticket to join us at our table at the Adelaide IWD Breakfast on March 10th (tickets are now sold out!), read on and follow the instructions at the end of this blog. 

Compared with 2013/14 figures, the representation of women across all levels of management has grown, and the base salary gender pay gap has gone down by 2.2%. Over 70% of organisations now have a strategy around gender equity, compared with only 66% in 2013/14.

Key to fuelling this shift is the conversation on topics like the benefits of diversity, pay inequity, and the representation of women in management. Events like the IWD Breakfast are vital in driving these conversations, and also provide a great opportunity to celebrate the progress we have made both here in Australia and globally. Diversity Inclusion is also passionate about engaging men in achieving gender diversity and equity and are proud that men are well represented as our guests at the IWD breakfast

Diversity Inclusion supports clients in creating organisations with Inclusive Leadership, Inclusive Cultures and Inclusive Infrastructure. By investing in all 3 areas, organisations are more likely to reap the benefits in attracting and retaining diverse talent (not just with regard to gender diversity, but also other forms of diversity, such as diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds, and people with a disability). Organisations often focus on creating inclusive infrastructure through reviewing their processes, policies and systems. This is important but on its own it is unlikely to deliver real change unless supported by leadership and a culture that is genuinely inclusive.

To win a ticket to the IWD Adelaide Breakfast on March 10 at 7am, email us at info@diversityinclusion.com.au, sharing why you think diversity is important for your organisation. 

If you already have a ticket, share this blog with someone you know who might have missed out.

 

1 Australia’s Gender Equality Scorecard, November 2016, WGEA

2 Australia’s Gender Equality Scorecard, November 2016, WGEA

Photo from Daily Mail ofNew York panel discussion between Julia Gillard, Charlize Theron, Michelle Obama, Nurfahada and Cindi Leive

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Visibility is the key to supporting invisible diversity

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Visibility is the key to supporting invisible diversity

Earlier this year, a news article emerged about a trial in London for “Please offer me a seat” badges. For people who have invisible disabilities, which make it difficult for them to stand for long periods of time, these badges are intended to help them access seats on public transport. Almost 90% of disabilities are invisible (Australian Network on Disability). Invisible disabilities that potentially make standing on public transport difficult include chronic medical conditions such as chronic pain, balance difficulties and cancer (including the side-effects of chemotherapy).

Since reading about this story, it’s made me think about Australian workplaces’ approach to supporting invisible disability, and invisible diversity more broadly. In addition to some disabilities, invisible diversity can include diverse sexualities and gender identities and linguistic and cultural diversity. Although many Australian organisations are proactive in supporting workplace inclusion of diverse groups, many inclusion initiatives tend to focus on visible sources of diversity, such as gender, or accessibility for individuals with visible disabilities. While there is clearly more to do to support these groups, more and more Australian organisations are also becoming proactive in their inclusion of invisible diversity. A key example can be found in the space of sexual orientation and gender identity. 

Workplace inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity is often described as a ‘litmus test’ for an organisation’s overall commitment to inclusion of diversity in general. Aside from (generally unfounded) concerns regarding customers’ reactions, an important reason for this focus is the fact that many LGBTI people continue to feel the need to hide their identities at work, and so some employers fail to recognise the relevance of LGBTI initiatives to their organisation. Specifically, a 2015 Australian survey found that 29% of sexually diverse people are not out at work, and 10% feel that they expend a lot of energy hiding this part of themselves, in order to fit into their work environment (Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI), 2015). 

Of course, it is not immediately apparent to others exactly what it takes for an LGBTI person to hide this part of themselves. In order to begin to understand, we might look at all the ways in which the sexuality of a person in a significant heterosexual relationship is on display to their co-workers. These potentially include engagement and wedding rings, family photos in their office or on their mobile/laptop home screen, conversations about family, weekends and anniversaries, referring to their husband or wife and bringing their partner to work-related events. Now imagine the burden of constantly editing conversations and dodging questions, and the overall toll of having less authentic workplace relationships for fear of a co-worker finding out. Unfortunately, this is the reality for many LGBTI employees who feel apprehensive about the consequences for their career and workplace relationships if they were out at work. 

Organisations have more at stake than they realise in their efforts for workplace inclusion of diverse sexual orientations and other forms of invisible diversity. Not only is employee engagement and productivity potentially hindered by individuals’ attempts to conform with society’s ‘norms’, organisations can miss out on the advantages of higher performance and greater innovation that come with an inclusive culture, which capitalises on its diverse workforce. And the worst part - employers don’t even know when this is happening. 

A manager might be supportive if they knew about an employee’s invisible diversity, but it is near impossible for the employee to know this, unless their manager explicitly demonstrates their support (i.e., by expressing their support for inclusion initiatives and calling out negative comments or inappropriate jokes targeting diverse groups). If managers are to convince their co-workers to share their invisible diversity, then they need to show visible support for workplace inclusion – regardless of whether they are aware that they work alongside invisible diverse group members. Managers must also be supported by organisation’s declaring their support for all diverse groups, including those which are less visible, and designing their processes to be inclusive.

Diversity Inclusion would love to hear about your experiences and thoughts on invisible diversity in the workplace. Please leave us a comment.

 

This blog was written by Meredith Lillie, who is currently completing a placement at Diversity Inclusion, as part of her Masters of Psychology course.

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Reflecting on 2016

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Reflecting on 2016

I can hardly believe that 2016 is drawing to a close! It has been a big year with us re-naming as Diversity Inclusion and adopting co-working in our new office space. We have loved working with our clients in 2016 and developing our diversity and inclusion services and products to best meet their needs. This year, a big focus has been on developing our new Call it Out program: a proactive approach to preventing bullying, harassment and discrimination in the workplace. 

We are excited about our plans for 2017 and would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone around Australia that has worked with us this year in creating more diverse and inclusive organisations. I am looking forward to sharing the results of our ‘Transition to New Ways of Working’ Pre and Post-test survey, as well as sharing more about the team at Diversity Inclusion and our work with you in 2017.

On behalf of the team at Diversity Inclusion, I would like to wish you all a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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Diversity Inclusion Goes Coworking

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Diversity Inclusion Goes Coworking

At the beginning of October, Diversity Inclusion moved into our new coworking space at Intersect. We’ve graduated from an office with shared facilities (i.e. meeting room and kitchen) to a space that we share with many other businesses. Coworking refers to “the use of an office or other working environment by people who are working for different employers, typically so as to share equipment, ideas, and knowledge”.

Coworking was created in San Francisco in 2004 and coworking facilities now exist across the globe. Research indicates that the number of coworking seats available is roughly doubling each year as people recognise the associated benefits, including reduced costs, more environmentally friendly workspaces and increased productivity. For us, one of the key benefits is the opportunity to meet new people every day in our workspace. This enables us to collaborate with many different people with a range of skills and experiences, as well as to raise awareness of our business and broaden our networks. Working in this space also provides us with first-hand experience and insight into the benefits, and also the challenges, of adopting new ways of working. This in turn helps us to provide advice to clients when assisting them to uptake flexible working and activity-based working.

From my research into coworking prior to our move, I learned about the concept of workplace collisions, which refers to the incidental interactions we share with others at work. In a traditional workplace, these collisions tend to be limited to your immediate team or to those who work alongside you. In a coworking space, where many businesses and teams share the same workspaces and facilities, the potential for workplace collisions is far greater (and their nature more varied). From a traditional managerial perspective, these collisions may not be considered a good thing but rather a distraction from work that is best kept to a minimum (the traditional cubicle or office workplace design is functional in this respect). However, new perspectives suggest that these incidental interactions are key facilitators of innovation, productivity and overall business success.

A 2014 Harvard Business Review article, Workspaces that Move People reports on research, which suggests that more social collisions at work generate increases in sales. In one organisation that sought to bring together the members of different teams within a social setting, the strategic positioning of a coffee machine and new cafeteria area was successful in generating a sales increase of 20%.

Adopting new ways of working is also a great enabler to creating a more diverse and inclusive workplace. Flexible workplaces are more adaptable to change, and are better able to both attract and retain diverse talent. Individuals who work in organisations that embrace future work practices report feeling empowered to make decisions about when and where they work, and trusted to deliver their work, both of which contribute to a more innovative and productive workforce.

In the two months since our move, the Diversity Inclusion team has taken advantage of the new opportunities afforded to us by our coworking space, and already we have experienced the benefits firsthand. My network has grown; during the past three weeks I’ve used my new connections with co-located experts to help me achieve my business goals. My new connections have also asked me to support them in turn, which has boosted my business exposure.

In preparation for our move to coworking, the Diversity Inclusion team created our Transition to New Ways of Working pre-test and post-test survey. Each member of the team completed the pre-test prior to the move and will shortly complete the post-test. The results will examine how coworking has changed the way we work and, in particular, how it has affected our overall business performance.

We will share these results in an upcoming blog. In the meantime, Diversity Inclusion would love to hear about your thoughts and experiences relating to coworking or other future work options. Please take part in the discussion and leave us a comment.

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What's the link between flexible working and mental health?

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What's the link between flexible working and mental health?

This week is mental health week. Many of us are familiar with the statistics: according to beyondblue, 45% of people will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime, with the most common of these being depression and anxiety. 

This translates to real costs, not only for individuals experiencing mental illness (and those close to them), but also for Australian organisations through losses in productivity, increases in absenteeism and presenteeism, and compensation claims. Overall, untreated mental health conditions cost Australian workplaces approximately $10.9 billion per year.

So what are the steps that organisations and managers in particular, can take to support employee wellbeing?  Flexible working is often suggested as a tool for organisations seeking to develop a mentally healthy workplace. Research conducted by Diversity Inclusion with an Australia-wide consulting firm examined the relationship between factors of employee wellbeing (such as self-reported stress) and uptake of flexible work arrangements. We found that employees, who perceived their managers to be supportive of flexible work arrangements, reported lower levels of stress and burnout, compared with employees who perceived their managers to not be supportive in this way.

I’ve put together a few quick tips for how managers can demonstrate their support for flexible working. (See our previous blog ‘the other side of the gender pay gap’ for more information on flexible working and mental health.)

  1. Encourage managers and senior leaders to role-model flexible working to the team, hence visibly showing that they too make use of the organisation’s flexible work policies. Examples include letting the team know when they leave the office to pick up their kids from school or to head to the gym. This role-modelling can have a real impact on the team’s likelihood to do the same.
  2. Ask managers who are on-board to encourage other managers and senior leaders to similarly role-model flexible working. Managers could discuss the benefits of flexible working for organisations and the arrangements they have observed which have benefitted their team (along with the challenges they might have experienced).
  3. Encourage managers to have open discussions with each member of their team, to arrange something that works for them, the employee and the organisation. And remember, flexible working can benefit all employees, not just those with young children!

 

What strategies do you know for promoting flexible working? Please leave us a comment.

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Constructing Gender Diversity

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Constructing Gender Diversity

Last week, I walked passed a city construction site (shown in the accompanying image). I approached two construction workers wearing high-vis as they managed the site entrance for vehicles and pedestrians on the footpath. From a distance, I could see I was going to have to walk very close to where the workers were standing. I was apprehensive, not just because of the traffic moving on and off the site, but because of my own bias. 

I recall from highschool the rumour that the construction workers building the new hall on school grounds were paid extra per hour for agreeing not to talk to or cat-call the girls. Currently, the construction industry remains the most male dominated sector in the country with women representing less than 12% of all workers (ABS, 2016). The cliché wolf-whistling construction worker continues to be a reality for many women. 

Construction site harassment is classed as ‘street harassment’, which is defined by Stop Street Harassment as "unwanted comments, gestures, and actions forced on a stranger in a public place without their consent and is directed at them because of their actual or perceived sex, gender, gender expression, or sexual orientation." In an online study by Stop Street Harassment, 95% of respondents said they had been the victims of leering, honking or whistling and a large proportion had been groped or grabbed in public. In 2015, the Australian Institute found that of 1,426 women, 87% were verbally or physically attacked by strangers while walking down the street. 

A study published in 2010 reported that "the experience of street harassment is directly related to a greater preoccupation with physical appearance and body shame, and is indirectly related to heightened fears of rape…and a sense of a lack of safety” (Chaudoir, S.R. & Quinn, D.M ‘Sex Roles’).

Disturbingly, a global study by Hollaback! and Cornell University found that most women first experience street harassment as girls under the age of 17.

In 2014, a woman in the US decided to take action and confront men who harassed her on the street by giving them her Cards Against Harassment. The cards included statements like ‘It’s not a compliment. It’s harassment’ and ‘Don’t be that guy. Nobody likes that guy’. In researching tips on what women should do in these situations, I found some advice from a construction worker. Abraham Arteaga recommended;

  1. Complain to the site supervisor/foreman
  2. Contact the company
  3. Tell the perpetrator to stop and that you don’t like it

So, as I approached the two construction workers, I mentally prepared my response to any unwanted attention. After making eye contact with one of the workers, she smiled and said ‘Good Morning’. In that instant, my apprehensive moment became a highlight of my day. 

When I saw the site later, I noticed there were a number of women working alongside their male colleagues. It made we wonder about how the prevalence of street harassment might be diminished with gender diversity, as in the case of this John Holland construction site. 

Diversity Inclusion would love to hear about your experiences and thoughts on gender diversity in sectors like construction, please leave us a comment.

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The other side of the gender pay gap

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The other side of the gender pay gap

In my last blog post, I talked about the flexibility pay gap; the fact that people who choose jobs which allow a more flexible work schedule pay for it by earning considerably less money. I focussed on the fact that women generally have a greater need or preference to work flexibly, and that therefore they have been the most financially disadvantaged by traditional rigid work arrangements.

However, inflexible work arrangements have also had a negative impact on men. While the flexibility pay gap has primarily affected women’s financial prospects, men have paid with their health and wellbeing.

This is because there is a greater expectation for men to simply accept inflexibility from their employers. Accordingly, men are often put in a position where they are forced to prioritise work over other aspects of their life. Indeed, research conducted here at Diversity Inclusion has shown that across a number of organisations, 80% of men would like more flexibility in the way they work, such as being able to adjust their start and finish times or work outside of the office. 

The key point is that often some form of flexible work arrangements were already available, but men felt unable to use them. Men cited damaging effects on their careers, a lack of support from management, and the perception that flexibility is only for women, as major reasons for not using flexible work arrangements. These findings were supported by research from the Australian Human Rights Commission in 2014, which found that 27 percent of fathers reported experiencing discrimination related to parental leave and returning to work. Indeed, previous research has shown that men are twice as likely as women to have their requests for flexible working denied.

What is problematic about this situation is that flexible work arrangements can be a major protective factor against the mental health risks of high stress work. Stigma against flexible work arrangements being used by men leaves them in a position where they potentially have to compromise their mental health, family and relationships for the sake of their careers.

A substantial literature shows that inflexible work arrangements increase turnover intentions, role conflict, stress, and burnout; and also reduce job satisfaction. This is a major concern, given the already poor state of men’s mental health in Australia. Lack of access to flexible work arrangements also makes it more difficult for men to take on an equal share of parenting and household responsibilities.

For this reason, Diversity Inclusion assists organisations to challenge stereotypes and myths around who can benefit from flexible working. In particular, we aim to demonstrate how organisations can benefit from enabling their staff to work more flexibly.

We'd love to hear about your experiences of requesting a flexible work arrangement, and working flexibly; if you have an experience to share, please leave a comment below.

by Jordan Gabriels

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Meet the team at Diversity Inclusion

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Meet the team at Diversity Inclusion

Since the company was founded by Lucinda Hewitson in 2013, it has experienced incredible growth. In this blog, we would like to introduce you to the newest members of our team.

This picture was taken on the balcony of our premises on Angas Street, on an unusually sunny winter’s day. From left to right: Tara Zwaans (D&I Manager), Jordan Gabriels (provisional psychologist), Lucinda Hewitson (CEO & Founder), Pam Martin (Associate) and Steve Milner (Associate).

 

Pam Martin joined Diversity Inclusion as an Associate earlier this year. Pam has extensive knowledge of future work practices, and has experience assisting organisations transition to and embrace practices such as Activity Based Working. According to Pam, “a flexible work environment is a key enabler to diversity and inclusion…future work practices and the associated benefits should be a topic of discussion within all organisations”.

Steve Milner also recently joined us as an Associate in early 2016. Steve’s knowledge and experience sees him contribute to the team in the areas of project management, strategy development, leadership development and facilitation. In his spare time, Steve has led and participated in major caving expeditions around the world.

Jordan Gabriels is a provisional psychologist, and has joined our team as a placement student. He is studying a Masters in Organisational and Human Factors Psychology at The University of Adelaide, and is also completing a PhD on the topic of forgiveness and transgressions in the workplace. Jordan cites Diversity Inclusion’s “strong emphasis on training and development” as his primary reason for deciding to complete a placement with us.

We are always looking for individuals with unique skills and experiences to bring on-board. For more information about our team, scroll down on our home page for a snapshot of our skills and experience.

 

by Tara Zwaans, D&I Manager, Diversity Inclusion

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The Flexibility Pay Gap

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The Flexibility Pay Gap

We hear a lot said about the gender pay gap; how, on average, men earn more than women. Even within the same occupations, men earn considerably more than women for each hour of work that they do. As shocking as this is, it might be masking another form of unintentional discrimination.

This has been demonstrated by Claudia Goldin, a professor of economics at Harvard University. Professor Goldin has shown that a large proportion of the difference in hourly earnings between men and women is accounted for by the need or preference of women to work flexible hours. Because women bear the majority of caregiving duties for children and the elderly, they often show a preference for jobs which allow them to work flexibly.

The difficulty with this is that the pursuit of temporal flexibility (e.g. the ability to manage one’s own time), often comes with a significant reduction in pay. Professor Goldin’s research has shown that in certain occupations, hourly pay actually increases with the total number of hours worked. For example, a lawyer working 30 hours a week might earn $100 an hour. However, the same lawyer working 60 hours a week could instead earn $350 an hour. Interestingly though, this pattern isn’t true for all occupations.

So, when are people disadvantaged for working less? The answer: when employees can’t easily be replaced. That is, when it is difficult to hand off clients, or when interdependent teams have to coordinate schedules. Think about how difficult it is when you have a 10am meeting with seven other people, each with their own busy schedule. Inevitably, people can’t come, meetings get rescheduled, and progress slows. Because of this, organisations are incentivised to make sure their employees are constantly available. In these organisations, the more inflexible you are, the less you are worth. Basically, if you want to have a life outside work in these occupations you are going to have to pay for it. All of this means that women are at a major disadvantage given that they have more responsibilities outside of paid work. Unsurprisingly, Professor Goldin’s research has shown that the occupations with the widest gender pay gap are those that do not lend themselves to flexible work arrangements.

On the other hand, some occupations such as pharmacy have evolved in such a way that employees don’t need to be constantly available. When you go into the chemist to get a script filled, you are unlikely to care which pharmacist serves you. In occupations like pharmacy, employees are perfect substitutes for one another, and therefore there are no penalties for working fewer hours. Amazingly, the research shows that in occupations like this which can easily substitute labour, the gender pay gap disappears almost entirely.

So, how can organisations reduce the flexibility pay gap? The better organisations become at structuring work so that employees can easily substitute for each other, the less costly it will be for any one employee to be away. To do this, organisations need to structure work around teams rather than individuals.

Structuring work around teams has benefits for the organisation as a whole, as well as the individual employees. Allowing for flexibility removes the incentive to work longer hours, encouraging employees to be productive, not just present. The ability to spend quality time outside of work will also positively impact employees’ overall health and wellbeing, reducing turnover and absenteeism. Ultimately, a shift to flexibility will also make a significant dent in the gender pay gap.

Stay tuned for the next blog in this series on flexible working.

 

by Jordan Gabriels, placement student, Diversity Inclusion

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What do year 12 girls think about the gender gap?

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What do year 12 girls think about the gender gap?

I recently had the privilege of taking a class of Year 12’s at Walford Anglican School for Girls. Their teacher invited me to speak with the class about women in the workplace. At Diversity Inclusion we work with organisations to help them become more diverse and inclusive, including speaking with leaders about the gender gap, along with other diversity issues that go beyond gender.

We often ask leaders to reflect on the gap in leadership and pay between men and women. We ask them to think about the young women and girls in their lives: daughters, nieces, grand-daughters, and consider what they would think about the gap; how would they feel if they had to share this data with the girls in their lives?

So, talking with the Year 12 business studies class at Walford provided me with a wonderful opportunity to find out exactly what they think about the current gap between men and women in Australia. Despite a plethora of research and discussion on this topic in the business world, these year 12 students were not well informed about issues relating to gender in the workplace, such as pay, leadership and superannuation contributions.

After spending some time reviewing the current data, here are some of the girls’ reactions:

  • girls and boys should be made aware of the gender gap at work
  • paying male graduates more than females is illegal; so why is it still occurring?
  • men miss out on other aspects of life and this isn't fair either
  • it is hard to stand up against sexism because you can be accused by your peers of being a feminist
  • we now have some tips for our first job interview

The girls co-facilitated the class with me, drawing on their brainstorming and communications skills. They were concerned and disappointed about the gender gap, but they accepted the data and were keen to consider the solutions and their role in closing the gap. Some of the solutions that they came up with include:

  • there should be more women in leadership positions, which would help resolve the pay gap
  • we can influence the gender gap through the people we know in the workplace (e.g. family members)
  • we are looking to our male counterparts to help resolve the gap

Thank you girls for sharing your insights and experiences with me! My wish is for the workplaces you enter to be more inclusive than the workplaces of the past.

by Lucinda Hewitson, CEO & Founder, Diversity Inclusion

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The role of Business in Reconciliation

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The role of Business in Reconciliation

Last week was Reconciliation Week, a time for us all to reflect on the progress made towards reconciliation and closing the gap. The theme for 2016 was Our History, Our Story, Our Future; acknowledging the importance of accepting history, listening to the individual stories and experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, and highlighting the role of reconciliation in closing the gap. 

But what part can organisations play in working towards reconciliation? Participating in Reconciliation Week activities is one way for an organisation and its employees to show their solidarity, both with Aboriginal employees within their business, and also the Aboriginal community. While this is one way for organisations to demonstrate their support, it is also imperative that their reconciliation actions are connected with the broader business.

Australian organisations can play a major role in creating social and economic opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. Many organisations have a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), which provides a useful framework for outlining their reconciliation vision, and also contains details of planned activities and initiatives to support reconciliation. One organisation that we work with has recently connected their well-established RAP with their newly developed D&I Strategy.

There are many benefits for organisations which arise from incorporating their RAP into their Diversity Strategy, including:

  • Enabling organisations to take a more holistic view of diversity, rather than a siloed approach requiring separate strategies for different groups e.g. women, people with a disability etc.
  • Aligning reconciliation activities and events with other initiatives which support diversity more broadly
  • Building on the clear business case for diversity, which provides a financial impetus for organisations to become more diverse and inclusive in order to both attract and retain greater diversity
  • Incorporating the learning from activities they have rolled out as part of their RAP regarding the types of activities and initiatives that work best to engage their employees, and consideringthis when planning their Diversity activities

Ultimately an organisation which is inclusive of all people, through an inclusive culture, inclusive leaders and inclusive infrastructure (e.g. their systems and processes), will be able to capitalise on the diversity of thought, background and experience within their business.

by Tara Zwaans, D&I Manager, Diversity Inclusion

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Welcome to Diversity Inclusion

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We are delighted to launch our new name ‘Diversity Inclusion’, formerly ‘Lucinda Hewitson Consulting’. We work with organisations around Australia to help them become more diverse and inclusive.

Our new name reflects our growth since we began in 2013. It also reflects what we do and what we are passionate about.

Diversity refers to the spectrum of human similarities and differences, including age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, socio-economic status, race/ethnicity, cultural and linguistic background, work/family concerns, ideas, opinions and experience.

Inclusion refers to a sense of belonging: feeling respected, valued for who you are, feeling support and commitment from others, so that you can do your best work.

We’ve kept our rainbow ring logo. It symbolises diversity through the spectrum of colours, and the ring represents inclusion.  It perfectly captures what diversity and inclusion is about.

Our vision is to support every industry and sector in Australia to become more diverse and inclusive, so that every organisation enjoys the benefits of diversity and every person gets a fair go.

We’re excited that we are well on our way to achieving our vision. We have recently been working with clients in the defence, education, engineering, aged care, sports, utilities, and professional services industries. Our new name and expanding team herald a new phase for our business. We would love you to be part of our journey.

To find out more about our recent changes please explore our website and contact us on info@diversityinclusion.com.au

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4 Steps to Maximising the End of Year Events

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4 Steps to Maximising the End of Year Events

This month heralds the start of the 'End-of-Year Event' season! You will have the opportunity to attend networking events over the coming weeks before Christmas. Now is the perfect time to consider your approach to these opportunities.

Many of us, especially with responsibilities outside of work, such as family, may start to feel overwhelmed at the number of commitments at work and outside. But, many of these networking events provide valuable opportunities for you and your organisation.

"According to multiple, peer-reviewed studies, simply being in an open network instead of a closed one is the best predictor of career success." Michael Simmons in Forbes Entrepreneur , 2015

So what are the strategies that you can adopt to make the most of the end of the year events without over-committing and burning-out before the end of the year? 

Here are my 4 simple steps:

1. Lock in Your Non-Negotiables

Get organised now by ensuring the non-negotiable events are locked in your diary. These may include work events, such as end of year functions, but you should also block out time for those external family events. If you have not yet done this, do it now!

2. Communicate

Talk to those around you (your family members and work colleagues) about how you can share these opportunities and balance the work and other commitments you have in your life. Perhaps you don't need to attend everything, if you can ensure someone else is going to be there instead. This may create new opportunities for others to get involved and engaged with other groups. Make sure you follow up with these people after the event.

3. Be Selective

Your time is limited, so be selective about which events you choose to attend outside those non-negotiables you have already locked away. The key to being selective is knowing your networking goals. What are your networking goals? Take a moment to consider what success looks like for you when you attend these events. For example, you may be interested in extending your network to an area that you would like to understand better or to help you achieve your next career move.

Only attend those events that will progress your goal and share the events you can't attend with others. Don't attend an event just because a lot of people you know will be going. Saying "no" can be a challenge for some of us. I was recently at a breakfast event where Carolyn Creswell, Founder of Carmen's Muesli, shared her tip of learning the "art of the graceful no".

4. Diverse Networking

We are all programmed to seek out people who look like us, sound like us and share similar experiences and values to us. Gravitating towards people who are like you may make the networking experience easier but it may be getting in your way of achieving your networking goals. Be deliberate in seeking out people who are different to you at the events you attend. You will be amazed at what comes from these connections and from growing your diverse network!

Good luck with your end-of-year networking! I hope you make progress towards achieving your networking goals over the coming weeks. Why don't you share your tips on networking. I'd love to hear your stories and networking experiences.

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Why Becoming a Telstra Women's Business Awards Finalist is Important...

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Why Becoming a Telstra Women's Business Awards Finalist is Important...

It is such an exciting time for us at Lucinda Hewitson Consulting! Last week we launched our new website to you, our new videos and our first Blog Post. This week we bring you the fantastic news that Lucinda Hewitson Consulting is a SA Finalist in the 2015 Telstra Women’s Business Awards! 

The news was announced in the SA Advertiser (www.adelaidenow.com.au/business/south-australias-brilliant-business-women-make-their-mark/story-fni6uma6-1227521805648) on Friday 11th September which turned out to be one special day for me, as it was also my birthday (see phot of me celebrating!) I can’t think of a better birthday present to receive this honour and to be recognised along so many talented South Australian women.

I am quoted on the news page of the Telstra Awards website that announces the SA Finalists (www.telstrabusinesswomensawards.com/news/

“My children are the reason I run my business today – I want their generation to experience a more inclusive and diverse workplace.”

South Australia has enjoyed Equal Opportunity Legislation for 30 years but most Australian workplaces are missing out on realising the full benefits of diversity and inclusion. 

Will my children enter workplaces that continue to pay men more than women? Workplaces where men and women continue to face barriers in taking parental leave and working flexibly? And how acceptable will it be for the father of their children to take time off work to care for their kids?

Personally, I would prefer to spend my life work focused on resolving our current diversity issues (and, I should point out, these challenges go beyond gender) than explain to my daughters, when they embark on their careers, that they are still 9 times less likely to hold a leadership position and are likely to be paid less compared to their boy cousins and the father of their children is unlikely to feel supported by their workplace to take time away from work to care for their kids.

This is not a conversation I want to have. So, I have approximately the next 10 years to do something about it! And, this is where the Telstra Women’s Business Awards come in. Becoming a SA Finalist this week is giving me and my business the recognition to help achieve this goal! You can also be part of the solution. To find out how follow me on LinkedIn (Lucinda Hewitson) and Twitter (@HewitsonConsult).

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Welcome to Lucinda Hewitson Consulting

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Welcome to Lucinda Hewitson Consulting

Welcome to our new website and blog, we are excited to be able to share it with you! This new website has been a few months in the pipeline, not because it’s taken us months to build, but because we have been busy delivering work for our valued clients. It is a great relief and pleasure to see it up and running, and we look forward to sharing our work, thoughts and ideas regularly with you here each month.

Our first entry to our blog is a great opportunity to share a little about who we are and what we do, as well as something about the specific projects we have been working on over the past few months – the scope of our work has grown significantly as along with our clients. As part of our new website we are also really excited to share with you two videos, “Our Services “and “Why Diversity?”

As our business has grown the vision for the work we do has solidified. This has been distilled into a the following statement that you can also find on our homepage;

“Our vision is to support every industry and sector in Australia to become more diverse and inclusive so that every organisation enjoys the benefits of diversity and every person gets a fair go"

It continues to be important to us when working with organisations to achieve diversity and capitalise on the benefits, that we ensure a focus on inclusion remains at the heart of what we do. Our experience has taught us that an inclusive approach has multiple benefits. Not only does it end up being less resource hungry than a more traditional ‘siloed’ approach to achieving diversity targets (e.g. a separate strategy and working group for gender, a strategy and working group for disability etc.), it is also more effective. If you ensure that inclusion is embedded as part of the DNA of your organisation you will naturally attract and retain a diverse workforce. 

At the heart of our inclusive approach live the values around giving each and every person in the workplace a ‘fair go’, irrespective of their differences. Over the past few months, our team has developed a range of tools, including the Fair Go 5TM for organisations and their leaders designed to embed inclusive and fair practices that will help them reach their diversity goals. 

In Australia this year, we find ourselves in a challenging place in terms of equity in the workplace. While we can boast some wonderful data in this country in terms of average pay and education, our gender pay gap is widening and women remain underrepresented in the workplace and in leadership positions. The issues around equity in the workplace in Australia are complex, and they have roots embedded in our social and cultural norms. 

We will be using this blog as a platform for enquiry, to explore and reflect on these issues and to propose solutions for positive change. 

Our hope is that this blog will be a place to visit, where you can engage in these topics, where you will learn something new and be inspired to make positive change in your own workplaces, so that we can collectively go about bringing change.

by Lucinda Hewitson

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