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Juliet Bourke: The Diversity and Inclusion Revolution

On October 9 EEON welcomed Juliet Bourke, speaking on the Diversity and Inclusion Revolution. It was exciting to see a packed house and so many new people join us for the informative and engaging presentation. It was a terrific session that focused on a leader driven approach to diversity & inclusion. If you’d like to learn more about the presentation, please check out:

https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/insights/us/articles/4209_Diversity-and-inclusion-revolution/DI_Diversity-and-inclusion-revolution.pdf

https://www2.deloitte.com/insights/us/en/deloitte-review/issue-22/diversity-and-inclusion-at-work-eight-powerful-truths.html (accessible version)

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Should Diversity Remain Top of the Recruitment Agenda?

Article by Tamara Seif Gravitas, EEON Committee Member 

According to annual HR CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, UK) 41% of business leaders and over 2,780 market executives across 21 countries (includes US, Canada and Australia) shows that there is global confidence in business growth, also positively impacting recruitment for diversity. Diversity has shot to the top of the recruitment agenda, with 41% of respondents citing it as the greatest hiring priority compared to only 11% in 2017. The report findings indicate that there is a strong correlation between CEOs prioritizing diversity as a recruitment objective and those with the least diverse executive teams.

For those companies who have already built diverse executive leadership, the focus is on talent with strong digital skills, according to the Growth Barometer. Over half (56%) of company leaders are looking to build digital competencies through new hires.

Majority of growth ambition is being driven from Asia Pacific region with four in ten companies in China, Southeast Asia and Australia beginning to  target double digit growth, some 13% more than the global average of 6%. (See Reference)

Mostly this is due to the race to embrace Intelligent Automation and Machine learning, whose markets have evolved rapidly since last year. In 2017, almost three quarters (74%) of global middle market CEOs said they would never adopt robotic process automation (RPA), yet just 12 months later 73% of respondents say they are already adopting or planning to adopt artificial intelligence (AI) within two years.

Secondly, Regulation is driving, not stifling Innovation

This year regulation has emerged as driving change not obstructing it. In a major shift in opinion, leaders from all sectors and regions, except in North America, regard regulation as a key driver of innovation (25%), topped only by profitability (27%).

Thirdly, Sector convergence accelerates

Industry convergence has risen as another major disruptive force to growth, with almost one in four global business leaders (23%) seeing it as second only to demographic shifts (33%) as having the most significant impact on business. Among US leaders, convergence is the top disruptive force to growth ambitions (31%).

And finally, Hiring for Diversity – Hiring diverse and skilled talent are key to growth ambitions.

In a show of confidence that growth is sustainable, 39% of companies plan to hire full-time talent in the next 12 months.

However, a lack of skilled talent remains a major cause for concern, especially in those in areas of the world where talent shortages have been exacerbated by skills flight, such as Brazil and Mexico.

Concerns over cash flow and funding remain

While access to credit continues to be an issue, this year company leaders cite insufficient cash flow as a more significant challenge, with more than one in three (35%) ranking it first with Women led- companies most significantly affected by a lack of funding, with nearly one in five (18%) citing access to capital as a major barrier to growth, compared to 11% of their male-led peers.

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Tamara Seif is a highly experienced HR professional who has held senior strategic roles over her 17-year career. Commercially astute in change management and stakeholder engagement, Tamara has worked across many organisations in blue chip, government, health care, not-for-profits and SMEs across the UK and Australia. She is highly passionate about Gender Equality; Women on Board Leadership and also specialises in coaching organisations in Intersectionality, Cognitive Diversity and Unconscious Bias’. She is a member of a number of boards in the UK including Promediate UK and Equilibrium Consulting and supports a number of children’s charities. She can be found at

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Equal Employment Opportunity Network – Get with the Program in 2018

………another year of insightful, educational, workplace changing events

“Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb”…Winston Churchill.

And so, begins another year of hope, optimism and will. The slow uphill climb, the painstaking pace of change, the uncertainty of what lays ahead, the journey. Small meaningful steps or bold moves. It all adds up.  

What has been remarkable in 2017 is the growth in our profession (diversity & inclusion & equity), the sharing of our knowledge and strategies, heightened awareness of D&I, a raised public consciousness, acts of individual and collective courage, campaigning and personal story telling. I can’t think of any area of diversity, inclusion and equity not significantly impacted in 2017.

However, as we build on these strengths, looking back – Have we engaged the unengaged? Have we permeated mainstream thinking and practices? Have we had the licence, autonomy and resources to act? Have we had the impact we wanted? Have all voices been heard in setting the agenda? Have we enabled? Have we shifted hearts and minds?

 

The Equal Employment Opportunity Network https://www.eeon.org.au/  is proud to be part of this journey.

We are a not-for-profit organisation that aims to creates opportunities for its members and supporters to learn and exchange information about current Diversity, Inclusion and Equal Employment Opportunity issues. We aim to provide a dynamic and supportive network and access to quality events and forums. We are based in Melbourne and have been serving the community for over 25 years.

In 2018, we’ll continue to create these opportunities and continue to add depth to the conversation. We promote fresh and innovative thinking through our monthly newsletters including, seminars, forums, latest research, articles, books, etc.,

In 2018, we are proud to bring you some stimulating, inspiring, thought provoking events, including:

  • 20 March event – Quietly Powerful Women – Unlocking Hidden Talent, Megumi Miki
  • Early May event – Dyslexia: Unlocking the hidden potential of 10% of every workforce, Zevi Inbar
  • June event – Same sex marriage – anticipated changes to work policies practices (speaker tbc)
  • AUGUST 7: One Day Summit: Learn, Think, Do
  • September event – Diversity & Inclusion in rural and regional settings, Bendigo (tbc)
  • October event – Diversity of thinking and collective Intelligence, Juliette Bourke
  • November event – theme Cultural & Linguistic Diversity – Tom Verghese (in partnership with Australian Intercultural Society)
  • Feb 2019 event – Age

 

Keep your diaries free for our second Diversity & Inclusion Summit (learn, think, do) on 16 August 2018 at Australia Post, Melbourne.  Please contact Michelle Green at info@eeon.org.au for more information and to express your interest in attending. More on our website shortly.

In 2108, we are moving to a financial year membership arrangement, so please keep in mind 30 June 2018 for your membership renewal or for any new memberships. Securing membership will also give you a discounted ticket for the EEON Summit in August.

If you like to know more about EEON, please contact Michelle at info@eeon.org.au

And, please subscribe to our mailing list:

Once again, we’d like to thank our sponsors Lander and Rogers who have continued to support EEON. Please follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

We look forward to welcoming you to EEON in 2018, as a member or as a participant at our events.

 

“Be part of the change you want to see in your organisations”

 

kind regards

Roman Ruzbacky

Diversity, Inclusion & Equity Practitioner

President – Equal Employment Opportunity Network – for a Diverse and Inclusive Workplace

Website: www.eeon.org.au (see membership page)

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Karen Milward: Achieving Authentic Workplace Inclusion for Aboriginal People

EEON in partnership with the Australian Intercultural Society were thrilled to host Karen Milward (Victorian Yorta Yorta woman) to talk about Achieving Authentic Workplace Inclusion for Aboriginal People on the 9 November in Melbourne. Karen’s narrative was fresh, deep, complex, spiritual, resilient and optimistic, and provided a framework for conversation and working that is often invisible or under-utilised in employment contexts. This adds another dimension to our thinking and practice. Indigenous Knowledge. I loved the quote, “A right to be Aboriginal wherever you go”.

For those of you who came along, you’d agree that the session provided a) insight into the practical steps to increase participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in in your workplace, b) information about the work that can be undertaken to ensure your workplace is both welcoming and safe and, c) strategies that lead to successful employment outcomes. The videos shown at the presentation can be found here http://inwpcp.org.au/toolkit-main-page/ (North & West Metro Region Koolin Balit PCP Consortium Project)

(Left: Karen Milward. Right: Ahmet Keskin (AIS), Karen Milward and Roman Ruzbacky (EEON))

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Enabling the Diversity and Inclusion Practitioner – Current Challenges to the Profession

This content was originally presented by Roman Ruzbacky (EEON President) at the Diversity & Inclusion Conference.

Welcome to the second day of the Diversity and Inclusion Conference (26 October 2017), brought to you by Employment Law Matters. I’m thrilled to be your host for the day. Following on from yesterday’s sessions, it’s shaping up to be another exciting and action-packed day. Five presentations, two panels and a roundtable, including the following themes, achieving true inclusion, why diversity programs fail, smashing stereotypes, disability, and cultural and linguistic diversity. I have been asked to provide some talking points, hot topics and fresh perspectives, that will align with the themes of day two.  

Diane Utatao spent some time yesterday talking about global issues, how world events in the past year have dramatically changed the world, cutting across all diversity dimensions, even big data and artificial intelligence. In the next seven minutes, I want to explore five key themes and ask five key questions (with a mixture of story-telling, self-reflection and enquiry), that focuses on the enablers, the diversity, inclusion and equity advocates and practitioners. We may call ourselves the tempered radicals with a steely resolve and kind hearts. So, I’d like to talk about ourselves and the challenges in our profession, in a local and possibly global context.

 

Part 1 –  A long awakening

I started my career as an analytical chemist, 24 November 1991, for a scientific research organisation. I would work away in my laboratory, often in solitude. I could go days without a conversation. It was an exact profession, requiring precision, timeliness, troubleshooting, critical interpretation of data with room for some creative thinking. The end game was to make a compound of ultra-high purity for the manufacture of magnesium metal. I could clearly see what our research team was trying to achieve. Of course, there was some politics and we were driven to find cheaper alternatives. But the result (good or bad) could be clearly explained by examining the methodology and isolating the variables, or combination of variables, that lead to a specific outcome. We’d re-run the process, time and time again, until the concept was proven and the best result consistently achieved.

On the flip side, I had a low consciousness in diversity, inclusion and equity. Although my lived experience of diversity was present at a personal level (refugee parents, low SES, single mother, CALD, sandwich generation, and disability in the family), I was impacted by inequality at a professional level (parental discrimination and being called a square peg in a round hole). I don’t think I was really engaged. I started working in equal employment opportunity in 1997.

 

My experience of parental discrimination, however, was the turning point in my career. And if I could experience discrimination, imagine how my colleagues could too. And boy, did they, as it become exposed to me through managing discrimination and sexual harassment complaints. This gave me some experience in finding where the systemic barriers and issues were hidden in employment practices and culture. I’ve always said that good D&I strategy reduces compliance activities.

As a diversity and inclusion practitioner, how do you change people’s deeply ingrained beliefs in relation to gender, race, age, pregnancy and LGBTI?  Can you change people’s core beliefs through diversity strategy and compliance activities? You’d expect that clear evidence and rational argument would eliminate discrimination and sexual harassment, under-representation and under-utilisation. Not so, when we continue to hear about discrimination and sexual harassment in the media. It’s the one topic that appears to hit a nerve with people and it’s the endless comments section at the end of an article about promoting diversity and inclusion or that critiques power and privilege that is alarming, hurtful and harmful. You see people endlessly arguing their point of view and no one ever wins even if compassion is used as a rationale. Jane Elliot once said, “We know that anything you learn you can unlearn”.  So, should we invest in ‘unlearning’ activities?

This brings me to my first question: How do you engage people, especially the unengaged? Story telling? Personal Experience? Appeal to their self-interest? Or, clear narrative and rationale? It’s a marathon not a sprint when trying to change people’s hearts and minds.

 

Part 2 – Who’s running the agenda

There has recently been an explosion of diversity and inclusion work and a new wave of emerging diversity and inclusion practitioners, managers and consultants across Australian workplaces. With the rise of practitioners, comes new and emerging practices, bold moves and claims, fad strategies, buzz words. It can be quite confusing.

Are you familiar with these concepts? Here’s a quick checklist.

  • Glass cliff, glass ceiling, glass elevator, double-glazed ceiling, stupid curve, jaws curve, scissor curve, bamboo ceiling, mansplaining, man-peating, man-terrupting, male champions of change, reflecting the community you serve, bringing you whole self to work, covering (appearance, affiliation, advocacy, association), code switching, lenses, narrative, Noah’s ark principle of diversity, the myth of merit, cultural fit (my favourite), diversity of thought, diversity fatigue, removing diversity altogether, fixing the women, the cement layer, the saviour complex, the good men that need to fix the bad men, hijacking the agenda, male privilege, and now the white middle aged male becoming an endangered species.

 

With this surge in D&I activity, people attend a few workshops, conferences, read a few articles and then become inspired, super enthusiastic D&I ‘experts’, then bring this back to the workplace expecting incredible and instant change. As D&I practitioners, we often need to temper expectations. We need to establish trust, credibility, respect and bring the people with us. And bold claims can also result in unrealistic expectations for seasoned practitioners when the methodology is not clearly explained or does not have academic rigour. You may then set the expectation for the unachievable, or unlike in my case, a long time ago, have your boss fudges the figures. Critical interpretation is critical too. If your organisation boasts, let’s say, 95% agreement of managers supporting gender equity, had one female executive and no gender equity plan. You can be led into a false sense of achievement.

There is constant evolution of thinking and some great practices out there. So how do you go about the work when everyone has an opinion on what to prioritize and how it should be done? Is our practice consistent? Should it be? Is everyone is doing the same thing and wanting the same outcomes? Are we considering work area challenges and contexts? What combination of strategies result in equitable outcomes? Can you pinpoint this? Can you prove this?

So, this brings me to my second question: Who is running the D&I agenda in organisations?

 

Part 3 – What is your organisations approach?

With a sea of information out there (and some imitation), it is difficult to find information that helps you to provide a clear narrative and rationale when talking about diversity, inclusion and equity; something with depth, academic rigour, that says something different. A call to action. A reason to act. You don’t want to be doing the same thing as everyone else and want to embed your unique style.

What is your approach?

  • Passive – Promotion, education, awareness, non-deficit language
  • Assertive – Women only positions, targets, quotas, KPIs, increased accountability
  • Scientific – Research, Benchmarking, Longitudinal Data, Evidence Base
  • A social model – People at the centre
  • Writing a strategy for people who are not there  

 

What is your personal approach?

My approach is trying to work myself out of a job! That would mean that the system is equitable. As a male working in gender equity (men, women, intersex), I am also aware of my place in the conversation. Would I feel a little apprehensive for someone to advocate on my behalf? Perhaps I would? How do I advocate for people when I have not experienced that inequality first hand? Is my voice being taken away, have I been tokenised or empowered? Am I there to enable, save or fix? What can I learn from people with disability about new ways of working and innovative practices. Has that campaign hit the mark? Are the good men trying to fix the bad men? How do the good men examine their power and privilege? Do I question my own privilege when designing strategy? Do I understand how deep this work runs?

From a recent account from “Unique leadership of minority women conference outcomes, Dr Diann Rodgers-Healey” she made the following observation: “What was common in all the reflections was that the challenges are always present because as minority women, they do not fit the norms that are accepted in society and in workplaces. What resonated through the presentations and discussions was the intensity of this impact on a daily basis, as well as the intensity of effort, emotional and physical, required to from workplaces and social contexts where norms define who is in and who is out, where normative lenses cloud seeing the overt and covert shades of exclusion the minority women traverse and the effort required to ‘fit in’ to unaccommodating discriminatory structures and discourse in workplace and society.”    

So, my third question is: Are all voices being heard in setting the D&I agenda? Are the architects and decision makers from diverse backgrounds? Is the profession homogenous in its composition?

 

Part 4 – Positioning of Diversity & Inclusion & Equity

Successful organizations ensure that the D&I role is positioned high enough to have autonomy, freedom in decision making, licence to operate, be creative and innovative and adequate resourcing. If you’re a diversity practitioner or manager buried five layers down in an organisation and flying solo, it may be a struggle to influence the agenda (yes, the one you have designed or have coordinated in partnership with your stakeholders). How do you demand accountability from executives when you don’t have autonomy or authority?

And, looking at LinkedIn profiles, my guestimate is that most organisations have one or two practitioners? There are currently large research teams working in medical research to try and cure cancer, so if we genuinely want to achieve equality, what can’t we do the same?

So my fourth question is: Do you have license/autonomy/resources to operate? Is it easy to do work at your organisation?

 

Part 5 – Do all roads lead to culture?

WGEA’s Australia’s gender equality scorecard 2015-2016 shows that 70.7% of organisations have a gender equity policy of strategy in place. There were 4697 organisations that submitted a compliance report to WGEA in 2016, that addressed seven key employment matters. That’s a lot of strategies (3320). However, there were 16% women CEOS, 28.5% women KMP, a national pay gap of 15.3% between men and women. 106 organisations were awarded WGEA’s Employer of Choice citation (public sector not included). That’s 2%.  So, with all these strategies and effort, and the glaciers melting faster than the pay gap, do all roads lead to culture as the key contributing factor to inequality? (my final question).

 

As diversity, inclusion and equity practitioners, we often want to be bold and courageous as the cause is very personal and the impact real.

I have tried to unpack some of the multi-layered complexities and challenges of the Diversity, Inclusion and Equity practitioner in today’s climate, as we strive to ensure that,

All people have a right to be treated with dignity and respect, and participate in all aspects of work life to achieve their full potential, where diversity and inclusion is a lived and breathed experience.

 

I wanted to finish with a quote from Winston Churchill,

“Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.”

Today we have a fantastic line up of speakers, thought leaders and change agents that will add great value to our thinking and practice. I hope you enjoy the day.

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The Doctor’s Gender is Causing An Online Meltdown

by Adrian Price, EEON Treasurer

So, after 64 years the world’s longest running science-fiction show is making possibly its biggest change ever. Everybody’s favourite Time Lord, The Doctor, is going to be played by a woman.
I’ll let you recompose yourself…

Jodie Whittaker’s casting in the lead role was announced this week immediately following the Wimbledon Men’s grand final on the BBC. Probably one of the highest rating times the BBC could choose to make the announcement to ensure everyone found out. Within minutes, the internet had exploded and a lot of the comments show how far we have failed to progress socially in those 64 years.


For those who don’t know back in 1966 after 3 years of being a highly rating show the producers were faced with the challenge of how to keep the show running after the retirement of William Hartnell from the lead role. The Doctor was “regenerated” into a new body, thus the mechanism by which the show has been kept running for 64 years was born. So far 14 actors have officially played the iconic role of Doctor, all white British and very very male.

The idea of a female Doctor has been floated many times, with everyone from Dame Judy Dench to Tilda Swinton being considered. Joanna Lumley even played a female doctor for 2 minutes in a charity parody in 1999. However, the formula of a male Doctor with a female companion has not been deviated from in 64 years. The occasions when a male joined the Doctor’s crew there was always still a female companion in the TARDIS.

So why are things changing now?

Chris Chibnall is taking over the role of Show Runner/Producer from 2018. With Peter Capaldi retiring form the lead role Chris has a blank slate to start from and he is running with it. He is quoted as saying;
“I always knew I wanted the Thirteenth Doctor to be a woman and we’re thrilled to have secured our number one choice. Her audition for The Doctor simply blew us all away. Jodie is an in-demand, funny, inspiring, super-smart force of nature and will bring loads of wit, strength and warmth to the role. The Thirteenth Doctor is on her way.”

Having a Time Lord change genders is not without precedent in the show. Gender changing was mentioned in passing during the Matt Smith era story “The Doctor’s Wife”, while in Capaldi’s era we saw a white male Time Lord get shot and regenerate into a black female and no one flinched. Most impressively the Doctor’s childhood friend/nemesis The Master was skilfully played by Michelle Gomez as Missy for the past 3 seasons. Most fans were accepting of these characters switching genders.
So, what’s happened? Why is the online world suddenly split into 2 camps, for and against a female Doctor? Some of the comments I culled from a quick search of face book are below. You can see that people are very passionate.

  • I’m split about this mainly because I’m unsure of the motivation for this decision.
    If this was done simply because they lost to the pressure from feminist media this won’t turn out good because they are doing it for the wrong reason. However, if they do this because they genuinely want to do it and have a good, clever and creative idea for it then I’m willing to give it a chance.
  • I’m not sure who these feminists are that want this! I’m a women, I’m all for equality, I’m all for women’s rights but I want the Doctor to be a man!!!!!! That’s how it’s suppose to be! Will they make the next Miss Marple a man????
  • Outrage to a woman being cast as an alien on a science fiction show demonstrates really that “bowing to feminist media” is still imperative. This whole thing is ridiculous and incredibly patronising.
  • Why does it have to be changed just for the sake of it? Same as the possibility of the next James Bond being a women. Why do they need to change it?
  • Well. If they ever go down the route of going for a black actor, as long as it’s done on merit rather than for the sake of it, who cares? Same here, surely?
  • … you are 100% right, and they are trying to remain relevant by catering to socio-political agendas. Social justice warriors are ruining geekdom by inundating it with identity politics.

I am left to wonder what is it that is upsetting people so much. Is it the erosion of 60 years of white privilege? Or could it be their unconscious bias becoming a little less unconscious at being challenged? Or is it that in the politically unstable times we are experiencing – Brexit in the UK and Trump in the US – that people are more resistant to change, especially in things that bring them a sense of comfort and escape.

Whatever happens I’m sure in 6 months when Jodie appears in the role many, if not most of the people declaring they will never watch again will tune in, just to scoff and beat their chests and say how bad it is. Many of them will keep watching, reluctantly coming to like and even love Jodie in the role, after all this happens with every new Doctor and is a familiar cycle to long-time fans.
I believe that eventually the storm will end and Doctor Who will continue to prove that it can handle social issues in a relevant, engaging and entertaining way, just as it has with women’s rights (Thanks Sarah-Jane Smith), Bi-Sexuality (Thanks Captain Jack), Homosexuality (Thanks Bill) and race (Thanks Martha Jones and many others).

I applaud Chris Chibnall and Jodie Whittaker and everyone else involved in the decision. I believe that when institutions like Doctor Who make changes it is because they are catching up to where society is really at. Equality for women is still not something we have achieved as a society; however, I sense that this is a sign we are increasingly moving in the right direction.

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Creating Mentally Healthy Workplaces

How Organisations Can Help

Brought to you by EEON and beyondblue, ‘Creating Mentally Healthy Workplaces’ was an event with presentations by Melissa Williams and Rae Bonney, held on June 20, 2017 in Melbourne.

It's highly likely either ourselves or someone we work with will experience some form of mental illness at some point over our working lives.

  • Do you know how to make your workplace mentally healthy?
  • Do you know how to put support systems in place to help individuals & your workforce?
  • Do you and your managers & employees know what to say and do if someone experiences mental illness?
  • Do you know how to look after your own mental health?

Many of us, want to ‘do the right thing’ but we just don’t know exactly what that is. These presentations taught us how to better answer those questions so we are looking after ourselves AND our workforce. 

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If you missed it or would like more information, you can access these presentations here: Melissa Williams Presentation, Rae Bonney Presentation.

Melissa generously shared with us a framework for handling mental health issues in your workplace which we highly recommend as it includes several links to additional resources and information you will find useful.

 

In respect of the key themes which an organisation might include in an action plan depending on the assessed risk, research supports looking at the areas below.

  1. Raising awareness and reducing stigma
  2. Supporting staff within the workplace with mental health conditions
  3. Reducing risks associated with mental health
  4. Promote positive mental health

 

1.       Raise awareness and reduce stigma:

·       beyondblue have a wide range of printTV, videoinfographics and Social Media materials that you can use and disseminate to highlight the need for a mentally healthy workplace and point people to further resources

·       The Getting started kit, is a wonderful resource, that provides assistance with the early stages of planning, including the downloadable resources you can use to plan internal and external communications

·       We encourage organisations to make information around mental health readily available to improve mental health literacy. The links and downloadable resources can be used on your internal communications/intranet.

·       Often organisations like to share information and learn from other workplaces regarding what they are finding effective- we have a wide range of written and video case studies highlighting how employers are creating mentally healthy workplaces.

·       Training such as our free, online Mental Health Toolbox Talks

·       Programs including National Workplace Program and beyondblue Speakers Bureau

            

2.       Supporting individuals in the workplace with mental health conditions:

·       Having a conversation is a great e-learning module that managers and employees can use to build their skills to have important conversations

·       self-directed online training options

·       developing a plan-RTW plan templates & reasonable adjustment advice

·       Programs such as National Workplace Program and Mental Health First Aid. Explorehttps://www.headsup.org.au/training-and-resources/educational-programs/training-programs

·       Ensure managers and employees know where to go to find help. It’s important that workplaces make this information available. For example:

o   Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) offered internally

o   beyondblue website & beyondblue Support Service

o   Heads Up website

o   GP – Medicare mental health care plans

o   National helplines and websites

   

  1. Reducing risks associated with mental health:

·       Action Planning – The Action Plan tool can be used to link workplaces into the numerous resources and advice based on their identified challenges. 

·       The tools below also provide strategies to reduce identified risks:

o   Safe Work Australia and the People at Work Project

o   HSE-UK psychosocial assessment tool

o   Guarding minds @ Work tool

o   Business in the Community Mental Health Toolkit for employers (UK)

·       Training such as our Managing mental health risks at work

 

  1. Promote positive mental health:

·       Implement programs that focus on worker and organisational strengths, opportunities and resources reinforcing the resilience and supportiveness of the workplace

·       Supporting employees to prioritise and maintain positive mental health both in the workplace and at home

·       Reinforce how each employees’ work benefits others and identify long-term positive impacts created by the work

·       Adopt a strong and clear approach to dealing with discrimination, harassment and disruptive behaviour

·       Supporting managers and leaders in developing a style that promotes positive mental health

·       Resources to assist with promoting positive mental health in the workplace

 

In terms of the actual process of implementing your strategy, the following steps are recommended and based on a best practice approach.  

  1. Gain Leadership commitment

·       Financial case- Visit ‘building a Business Case’ and the Heads Up ROI Tool  

·       Highlight legal obligations

·       Share a personal story and/or video or invite a speaker (beyondblue Speakers Bureau) to raise awareness and highlight the importance of creating a mentally healthy workplace.

Leaders need to openly and publicly demonstrate active commitment- if leaders (including frontline managers) feel comfortable to share a personal story this can have a large impact on reducing stigma and raising awareness in an organisation. Inviting an external speaker can also be effective.

 

  1. Consultation and Communication:

·       Again, communicating commitment to creating a mentally healthy workplace to staff- explore the Getting started kit. These steps might help you in the early stages of your planning, including the downloadable resources that you can use to plan internal and external communications about your approach  i.e. email to managers and employees template, speaking notes etc.

·       Employee Participation- Identify a champion/ steering committee to promote an integrated approach. This will also assist in obtaining feedback from staff to help an organisation understand their current environment i.e. what programs/services are currently offered etc.

 

  1.  Conduct a needs assessment-identify risks:

·       Review what programs and policies already exist. What are the gaps? Review data such as, retention rates, incident and injury registers, absenteeism, exit interviews, EAP data, engagement survey’s, workers compensation data. This will help workplaces identify trends/areas of opportunity.

·       Use a risk assessment tool such as:

o   Safe Work Australia and the People at Work Project

o   Use the questions in the Heads Up Action Plan tool and translate into a survey monkey

o   HSE-UK psychosocial assessment tool

o   Guarding minds @ Work tool

o   Business in the Community Mental Health Toolkit for employers (UK)

 

  1. Minimise the identified risks/ implement an action plan based on the assessed risk:

·       The Action Plan tool can be used to link workplaces into numerous Heads Up resources and advice based on the identified challenges.  If you register, you can also use it to allocate tasks to individuals as well as keep track of their progress.

·       Many of the other tools mentioned above also provide strategies to minimise risk.

 

  1. Monitor and evaluate- continuous improvement:

·       Review your action plan

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Courageous Conversations About Race

Bringing the Coversation to the Forefront

Brought to you by EEON, the ICCAR and the Australian Intercultural Society, ‘Courageous Conversations about Race: Let’s Have the Conversation’ was a keynote speech, Q&A session and lunch with internationally recognised race relations expert and author of Courageous Conversations About Race, Glenn E. Singleton, on Friday 9 December 2016 in Melbourne.

Australia is one of the world’s most culturally diverse nations, with 44 per cent of Australians either born overseas themselves or having at least one parent born overseas. Nearly one million people have come to live in Australia since 2010, and together we speak over 260 languages.

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While we have embraced our rich cultural and linguistic diversity, the race and cultural diversity ‘gap’ continues to persist in Australian society. Under-representation, under-utilisation and isolation are prevalent, with reports of racism also on the increase.

Meanwhile, complacency and relatively low levels of commitment and investment in cultural competency activities persist in Australian workplaces, despite a number of successful initiatives.

In one of the most thought-provoking events we've held this year, Glenn E. Singleton’s keynote gave us insight into three key conceptual elements underpinning the Courageous Conversations About Race model:

  • surfacing the 'undiscussable', and having an honest conversation about race in contemporary Australia
  • understanding that the combination of 'whiteness' and 'privilege' contributes directly to race-based inequity and power differentials
  • using the above insights to drive social and cultural transformation within personal and professional areas of responsibility.

We thank Glenn for sharing his knowledge and educating us all in this truly remarkable event.

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Gender Diversity Keeps Marching On

An Old Problem Finally Addressed in New Media

In my life I’ve worked with a number of GLBTIQ organisations in both voluntary and paid capacities. I’ve had the privilege of seeing the many advances made by my community and the pain of seeing the fear and animosity directed at us. Australia is currently in election mode and the prospect of a costly plebiscite to decide if gays and lesbians deserve equal marriage rights is being proposed. So once again the GLBTIQ community is a football in the political minefield. We are just one of many, along with Australia’s treatment of refugees and our country’s financial state.

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Creating An Even Playing Field

One issue that has received some attention in Australia but has become a bigger political football in the US is gender diversity and the recognition of transgender people and their rights. Transgender people have been present in many cultures throughout history.

An example from early Australia: Edward de Lacy Evans arrived in Melbourne in 1856, as a female immigrant named Ellen Tremaye. After working as a domestic servant she adopted male attire and married a woman called Mary Delahunty who had come out on the same ship.

Australia’s political leaders ran scared when confronted with The Safe Schools program. The federal government ordered an overhaul of the taxpayer-funded program after a review deemed some parts inappropriate for young students, including providing assistance to students who thought they might be transgender. After all, how horrifying that a government-funded program should support the best mental and physical health of the next generation.

So given this background I was pleasantly surprised to learn of a significant update to a major video game. What, a game? I hear you ask.

Yes, a game. The Sims 4™, to be precise.

The Sims has been around for 16 years, growing out of the Sim City™ games by the same company – Electronic Arts probably makes a game you have played. Their casual games include Bejewled, Plants Vs Zombies and Need for Speed, to name a few.

My point is that they are not a small player. Their games are played by millions.

So what has Electronic Arts done to warrant me writing to you? They have added a new gender customisation option in an update to The Sims 4™ that means you can make your character with the physical traits, costumes, voice, hair and jewellery, and so on of any gender. Previously when you set your character, you were locked out of many options including those of clothing and hair.

Now, while this may not be a huge deal to many or even most players, for those who don’t identify with their birth gender, or even those who don’t identify with any gender, a world of possibility has now been opened.

When I was young, I was starved for representation of my sexuality and way of thinking on television, in games, in the movies and in books. I am aware of how much more readily GLBTIQ people are represented in the media today, although we still have a way to go. But it makes me happy to know that a major company has taken a step in the right direction to represent ALL their customers in their games.

I have reproduced below the press release from Electronic Arts, and I wish to state that I am in no way associated with them or the game. And now, if you don’t mind, I just need to get back to making Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst to play with.

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PRESS RELEASE 2/6/2016

For more than 16 years, The Sims franchise has empowered players to express themselves through open gameplay and endless customization. That's why we're so excited that today's free update to The Sims 4 features an expanded Create A Sim mode with new gender customization options, and gives our players even more ways to play with life. For the first time, you'll be able to customize your Sims without the gender boundaries previously set in place. This means you can now create Sims with any type of physique, walk style, and tone of voice you choose – regardless of their gender.

We've also made clothing, hair, jewelry, and other visual options available to all Sims. Over 700 pieces of content previously only available to either male or female Sims, have now been made available to all Sims regardless of initial gender selection. This includes content from The Sims 4 base game and previously launched packs.You can now dress your Sims in any attire, give them short, long or styled hair, or customize them with some personal accessories to top off their look. Through the addition of new filters and sorts in Create A Sim, what you do with these new options is entirely up to you!

The Sims is made by a diverse team for a diverse audience, and it's really important to us that players are able to be creative and express themselves through our games. We want to make sure players can create characters they can identify with or relate to through powerful tools that give them influence over a Sims gender, age, ethnicity, body type and more.So, no matter how you like to play, we hope this update to Create A Sim gives you plenty of new options. Personally, we've had a ton of fun exploring how good many of the short hair male hairstyles look on the female Sims, and vice versa. And we’re just getting started checking out how outfits and styles look on totally different body types.We can't wait to continue to hear from you about all the ways you use the game to play with life.

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2016 Emerging Themes in Diversity and Inclusion Summit

Bringing Ideas and Actionable Change Together

EEON's inaugural conference was an enormous success, with engaging guest speakers and a room full of around one hundred delegates who came away with actionable ideas and goals to take back to their workplaces. Through a unique experiential format, the D&I Summit provided delegates with a supportive environment to further develop their strategic thinking and practice (learn, think and do) in D&I, in order to drive systemic change and shape the future. Delegates were able to explore opportunities for innovative, efficient and effective practices, undertake solution-based conversations, build new connections and walk away with practical D&I action plans for workplace application.

Speakers Graeme Innes, Juliet Bourke, Malcolm Fiahlo and Dr Jennifer Whelan presented, along with panels of speakers from NAB, St Barbara and AECOM. Lachlan Fairburn took on the role of MC and facilitator. The day was filled with high energy and discussion both in the room as a whole and at each table. Thank you to those who came and made the day such a rewarding experience!

Link: Explore the Summit Brochure.

Testimonials

"What a wonderfully stimulating and heart warming Summit. Thank you so much for putting me on to the organisation. You are all doing some very clever and important things. Inspiring to see such a dedicated group of people really take up the challenge." "It was a delight to be at the EEON summit on Thursday – your team did an outstanding job organising the agenda, speakers and facilitation! Thank you!

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The Equal Employment Opportunity Network creates opportunities for professionals to learn, network, share their expertise and experiences and showcase examples of best practice in diversity and inclusion in the workplace, including emerging diversity issues. We encourage all members to provide feedback and suggestions for future events and webinars, and speakers.

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