Home' HR Monthly : April 2015 Contents WHAT IS YOUR OPINION?
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It’s the people leaders in an organisation who heavily influence the
business culture and how employees experience that culture.
The Australian Workplace Equality Index, published by Pride In
Diversity, measures workplace inclusivity for lesbian, gay, bisex ual,
transgender and intersex employees. It indicates that, among the
index’s top 10 employers, 84.9 per cent of respondents believe their
senior leaders support inclusion. Outside the top 10, the figure is
71.3 per cent.
In my experience, when respected senior leaders put their names
to something as a group, change happens. Think of the Male
Champions of Change initiative – a group of CEOs who aim to use
their individual and collective influence and commitment to ensure
the issue of women’s representation in leadership is elevated on the
national business agenda.
Or the ‘reverse mentoring’ programs where senior leaders are
paired with typically more junior employees from diversity action
groups with the aim of learning more about their ‘lived experience’
in the workplace.
Creating an inclusive cultu re requires support at all levels and is
underpinned by support strategies in HR (creation of flex ible work
arrangements), talent management (promotion of unconscious
bias and inclusion training to recruitment staff), and client and
Ultimately, the bottom-up and top -down approaches work best in
tandem rather than in isolation.
A bottom-up approach aims to have a rich, deep, transformative
conversation with a critical mass of staff around issues of diversity
and race. Through the lenses of unconscious bias and privilege,
people can scan their workplace to ensure it is inclusive for all staff.
Commitment and approaches to diversity and inclusion vary.
Some organisations are merely concerned with meeting compliance
obligations. A second approach moves beyond compliance by asking
questions such as, “How do we implement a checklist that gets us
accreditation with organisations such as Pride In Diversity?”
The most successful approach is integrated and grows culturally
from the bottom up. This is exemplified by the Courageous
Conversations About Race program, developed by the Pacific
Educational Group and implemented by UWA and won the 2014
AHRI Inclusion and Diversity Award. The university community
engaged in a meaningful ‘conversation’ involving more than 30 00
staff and 5000 students. From that has come numerous examples of
people moving in their thinking and then being motivated to make a
difference in their personal and professional lives.
Pamphlets and codes of conduct don’t transform people. But when
they participate in a Courageous Conversation workshop, there’s a
‘Now I understand’ moment. They become more attuned to racial
nuances and the need to change organisational behaviours, such as
how meetings are conducted, consultations are managed and merit
is constructed. You have success when people don’t have to self-edit
and know it is culturally safe to bring all of who they are to work.
WORKPLACE EDUCATION AND
PRIDE IN DIVERSITY
FOR OR AGAINST?
TWO HR PROFESSIONALS TACKLE A TOPICAL DEBATE EACH MONTH.
Q SHOULD THE APPROACH TO INCLUSION AND DIVERSITY BE ‘PUSH
FROM THE BOTTOM’ OR ‘PULL FROM THE TOP’?
SENIOR DIVERSITY OFFICER,
EQUITY AND DIVERSITY,
2-day technical & experiential workshop
For executives, HR/OD/L&D specialists,
educators, facilitators, consultants and
influencers who want to improve the
effectiveness of their work with groups
Adelaide, 25-26 June
Melbourne, 27-28 July
Sydney, 30-31 July
Brisbane, 20-21 August
Hong Kong, 26-27 October
The psychology of group dynamics – Reading the group / reading self
– Transference and counter-transference – Establishing your authority,
staying in role – Building a holding environment that enables challenging
work to be done – Holding the frame, staying steady when the group
wants to disarm you – Dependency, co-dependency and giving the work
back – The drawbacks of default positions, windchimes & internal
chatter – Assessing the limits of your permission to act – Regulating
the heat & raising the stakes – Holding up the mirror rather than
telling people what they want to hear – Reading the signs of overt
& unconscious resistance in groups – Getting on the balcony and off
the dance floor – Observing patterns, diagnosing, intervening with
purpose – Structuring and sequencing to build trust – Using feedback
to identify & explore “undiscussibles” – Working with contentious
issues & difficult people – The pitfalls of approaching complex and
ambiguous issues with too much structure – Identifying when your
organisational change & improvement work is not technical in nature but
is relational and adaptive – Getting the physical setting right – Increasing
commitment, co-operation and action at work and with your clients
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