Home' HR Monthly : October 2014 Contents 22
COVER: DIVERSITY IN SPORT
Netball Australia made inclusivity a strategic priority
a few years ago after realising it wasn’t reflecting the
communities it operated in. In May this year, it released
its One Netball initiative document.
Community engagement manager, Julia Symons, says
all-tier communication is crucial for evidence-based
decisions. Staff at all levels have been made responsible
for making netball available to everyone, so the
document is more than “nice to have”. Staff have to
report against it and it is part of their job role’s key
Symons says cultural change is a process of education,
constant community engagement and the building of
strong relationships. And it takes time.
“You can’t sit in your marble towers and create
policies without talking to people.”
With its Don’t Stand By, Stand Up! campaign
announced in May, Football Federation Victoria (FFV)
has tried to spread the responsibility of fighting racism
to include bystanders. It follows a member survey that
found that, although 96 per cent of respondents were
willing to take a stand against discrimination, almost 70
per cent didn’t know how to report it.
More than just inviting FFV’s 343 clubs to take
a pledge of action, the bystander campaign requires
clubs to nominate at least two officials to do a
respect and responsibility course, prove their club
has communicated the initiative to its members, and
promote the FFV’s policies and procedures on racial
vilification on its website and in social media. FFV has
offered reward incentives to those fi rst to commit.
Dawn Hough, director of Pride In Diversity,
Australia’s only not-for-profit workplace program
to assist employers to be more LGBTI-inclusive, says
survival in the marketplace is dependent on diversity.
“It’s not just an HR feel-good thing,” she says.
“Young people don’t just go into a job hoping for
longevity or a big pay packet. They are asking, ‘is this
employer socially responsible?’”
She warns that sexual orientation can evoke strong
emotional responses because it brings with it deeply
ingrained cultural, religious and conservative views.
Homosexuality can still mean a death sentence in some
countries. But she adds that it’s not about converting
people, but about setting boundaries for an environment
of appropriate workplace behaviour.
Pride In Diversity launched in 2010 and has 65
members including the National Rugby League (NRL).
It offers training, assistance with policies, strategies and
initiatives, and benchmarking.
Hough says any nervousness about the response
from customers should be tempered by considering
the backlash from negative press about harassment or
neglect. “Don’t put it in the too hard basket,” she says.
Hisgrove says that, ultimately, what’s required is
patience and an understanding that most people are
fundamentally good at heart.
“Put yourself in the shoes of the person you are
speaking to. Everyone has a different understanding of
what true inclusion means,” she says. “Their paradigm
is different to yours, and we can close the paradigm
through dialogue, but you have to be patient and, in
parallel, be doing all the visible stuff. There are bumps
in the road. The key is how you deal with it.”
“PUT YOURSELF IN THE SHOES OF
THE PERSON YOU ARE SPEAKING TO.
EVERYONE HAS A DIFFERENT
UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT TRUE
DOROTHY HISGROVE, AFL GENERAL MANAGER OF
PEOPLE, CUSTOMER AND COMMUNITY
Go to HRM online to
read how sporting clubs
and codes are taking
the diversity theme one
step fur ther and trying
to eliminate gender
discrimination and achieve
HOW TO MANAGE
BIAS AT WORK
Unconscious Bias at Work
workshop toolkit and
its training material are
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wanting to train their staff
and educate their executive
teams in the financial and
non-financial effects of bias
in the workplace.
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22/09/14 5:30 PM
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