People | Telstra Careers |

Welcome to the age of the intrapreneur

By Rebecca Holden July 19, 2021

If you work in a medium to large business, you’ve probably had an idea about how you can change it for the better. If you have, you might already be an intrapreneur, and not even know it. We’ve co-designed a new microcredential with the University of Melbourne to put our people in the driver’s seat when it comes to developing their skills in innovation and intrapreneurship.

What are microcredentials?

Learning really is a lifelong pursuit. You can no longer just be handed a high school diploma, degree or even a doctorate and think that is it for education and learning – the world is changing too rapidly for that.

That’s why we continue to work with top universities to create our suite of microcredentials, to support our people to rapidly develop new skills and polish old ones.

Microcredentials are an alternative to longer, more traditional qualifications; are much more specific,and require a much shorter time commitment to complete, whilst still being globally accredited.

Given that the average employee will now need to rebuild their skillsets 15 times throughout their career to keep pace with workplace and technology change, these microcredentials are an absolute game changer.

In addition, technology skills shortages in Australia were an urgent issue before the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. We now need to boost numbers at a much faster rate to support the digitisation of our economy and ongoing business transformation across the nation. There are also fewer new students currently entering STEM degrees in Australia than in other OECD countries.

To help change that, we’re working with universities to enhance student learning through innovation in curriculum design and delivery; offering industry placements and work experience, and giving students research project opportunities, for example through our Melbourne Connect partnership with the University of Melbourne.

We also continue to hire a considerable number of graduates, particularly with technology skills, into our business every year.

Microcredentials have become a core part of our learning and development offerings and one of the ways we upskill and reskill our people in critical capabilities and technology skills.

Teaching our people to be game changers

As part of our T22 transformation program, we’ve set up new systems, structures and ways of working to promote innovation in our business.

And now that we’ve got an environment where our people can work on big ideas, we want to nurture that spirit of creativity.

You’ve all had those conversations with colleagues while grabbing a coffee or more often these days, having a chat on Microsoft Teams before a meeting starts. A big idea about something our company could do differently to make it more competitive. You’d chat about it with your colleague, before getting on with your tasks for the day.

But what if you didn’t just go about your day? What if you had the skills to develop your big idea into an incredible market opportunity? What if you were an intrepreneur?

An intrepreneur is an employee who works on big new ideas inside a company. It’s safer than being an entrepreneur, as you’re doing your work with the backing of a big company that actively encouragespeople with big ideas to pursue them and innovate.

To this end, we’re offering our people a new microcredential in Intrapreneurship Fundamentals through the University of Melbourne – to help drive innovation and grow these important skills inside our own business.

Part of this new microcredential will see our people bring an idea they have for our business, and give them the chance to develop and shape it in a group of likeminded professionals. Learners will understand,explore, and enact the essential requirements for successful innovation, and then construct a persuasive narrative to sell their idea within the organisation.  They will also learn aboutrisk, both personal and organizational, and the resilience needed to continue to drive and pursue new opportunities.  

Telstra has co-developed this microcredential with the University of Melbourne and as well as being available to our people, it will also be offered to other organisations and individuals who are keen to increase this skillset.

This microcredential is all about giving our people – and all Australians – the tools and the confidence to increase their impact and be an intrapreneur within their business.

Telstra News |

Acting against discrimination and sexual harassment

By Andrew Penn March 26, 2021

Below is a note I shared with our people earlier today. In the spirit of transparency, I wanted to share it here as well. – Andy

I have spoken often about equality and holding people to account for their actions. It should be a given that in 2021 all women have the same opportunities as men, can do their job free of harassment and discrimination, and can walk home without fear of being attacked.

And yet here we are.

A few weeks ago I marked International Women’s Day by talking about the need to stamp out violence against women. It came at a time when the collective conscious of our nation had been jolted by the realisation that this remains a very real issue in Australia – and of course around the world.

Since then there has been a groundswell of outrage as more examples of sexual abuse and harassment have come to light – in our workplaces, in our schools and in our communities. And with this outrage has come a call once again for change.

It has been confronting to hear the stories of those who have suffered, but it has shone a spotlight on a discussion we need to have as a nation.

The power imbalance that still exists, and has led to this recent debate, has shown there is still a lot more we must do as we strive for true gender equality. So how do we get to the heart of the issue and take action to effect real and lasting change?

As a CEO of a large corporate and a member of the Male Champions of Change Alliance, I have been passionate about improving outcomes for women but there is always more that we can do. I will continue to agitate for change to rid our country of this abuse – and this starts in our workplace.

However, despite our best efforts, including work on our culture and having the right policy and procedures in place, there are times when people just do not behave appropriately and someone is harassed or discriminated against.

We expect to see a media story soon, which will outline a small number of incidents of sexual harassment and misconduct within our workplace. These incidents are a stark reminder that we are not immune to this totally unacceptable behaviour, but what it will also show it that when we have uncovered this behaviour we have responded quickly, strongly and with empathy.

The most important thing to me is to keep each of you safe and well, and I have reflected a lot on the cases we have been asked about for today’s story.

No one should use their power or position to influence, coerce or harm another. At the core of this behaviour seems to be a belief by some men that they can abuse their power and take advantage of women. This is just not on.

What recent events have shown, is that we need to keep listening and remain absolutely focused on creating a truly safe and inclusive workplace where everyone is treated with respect.

We have a robust system in place, including our code of conduct, to help prevent this behaviour and deal with it when it does happen. But beyond policies and training this really goes to the heart of our culture.

It could be easy for us to think that there will always be a small number of cases because of the size of our company. But we cannot get caught up in that thinking – one woman, one person harmed is one too many.

But if it happens we respond quickly – we support victims and their families, and sack those who have not met our standards.

Speaking up and supporting each other

We must have frank conversations and listen and learn so we can continue to do better.

I want you all to know, that you can speak up at any time with confidence that your concerns will be heard and investigated fairly. You can do this via your leaders, HR Direct or our Whistleblower service.

And for those who witness any form of harassment or abuse of power – please do not be a bystander.

Make a choice to show you care and callout when something is not right.

If you feel we have fallen short of the values and standards we set for ourselves, you can also contact me at any time.

I want to understand what more we can do. We are all accountable for making a change. And we can all contribute in some way.

Network | Telstra News |

Keeping everyone connected to the digital economy

By Michael Ackland September 11, 2020

Staying connected to news, reliable information and each other has never been more important. That’s why we’re giving some of our nbn voice-only customers more ways to keep in touch, with access to the internet at no extra cost.

We’re always looking at new ways to fulfil our purpose: to build a connected future where everyone can thrive. Increasingly, being confident online and participating in the digital economy is vital to everyday living but also to ensuring a vibrant and resilient nation.

That’s why we’ve upgraded eligible voice-only nbn customers to the Starter Internet plan, at no extra charge. That means almost 100,000 people will get access to free internet as part of their existing plan, with some getting connected for the very first time.

We know that there are a range of barriers connecting to the internet for the first time, especially for the many older Australians who will benefit from this plan. That’s why we’re taking the guesswork and complexity out and making it free and easy to with the support needed to get started.

This plan will allow everyone to experience the benefits of being connected. From video calls to friends and family, accessing telehealth via Medicare, to online shopping, education and beyond. The Starter Internet plan includes 25GB of data to use each month; unlimited calls to standard local, national and Australian mobile numbers, and 500 calls per month to 13 numbers. 25GB of data is great for basic use, including sending and receiving emails, using apps and even streaming movies or music.

Whilst we’re more apart than ever, this connectivity can help families be closer to each other. Seeing the smile of your grandchildren via a video call can be a lifeline when you’re apart.

To make things easy, we’re sending how-to guide materials via post to those customers who have been upgraded to our new Starter Internet plan to help get them online and familiar with their new connection and the world beyond.

We’ve also got a range of getting started guides in several languages, videos and more advanced guides available at www.telstra.com.au/tech-savvy-seniors even family members can help out.

We’ll be getting in touch with eligible customers soon so that they too can experience the awesome power of connectivity.

There’s never been a better time to be online.

Regional Australia
Regional | Telstra News |

Giving back to our regions

By Dr Ben Gursansky September 10, 2020

Telstra’s executive regularly travels to regional areas to meet with rural and regional customers and stakeholders in their communities to get a firsthand sense of the issues that matter most to them. While this hasn’t been physically possible during the COVID-19 pandemic, it hasn’t stopped us from keeping a strong focus on connecting with and supporting regional Australia.

We care deeply about keeping communities connected, which is why our purpose is to create a connected future where everyone can thrive. It is also why we’re working to help foster digital inclusion and provide support to community organisations. In more recent times that is especially so for those that have been impacted by the various crises experienced right across our country, from bushfires, drought, floods and now COVID-19.

We’ve identified a range of essential services – not-for-profit, and cause-related organisations – that are on the frontline of helping disadvantaged groups and impacted communities, and we’re working closely to help them with various philanthropic endeavours and initiatives. Many of these organisations we already partner with through our business, and this donation is an extension of that support to further enable their important work continuing through technology.

Melbourne Indigenous Transition School

This includes organisations like the Melbourne Indigenous Transition School (MITS), where COVID-19 affected students’ ability to stay connected to the school during the ongoing lockdown.

It was critical that students remained connected with the school and each other during the lockdown. MITS staff had to ensure they were able to continue their academic growth when away from Melbourne, which means a heavy reliance on technology. Technology that isn’t as accessible in remote Indigenous communities.

We helped to keep students connected to their schooling with a donation of mobile broadband devices delivered safely and contactlessly into Indigenous communities to ensure classes could continue remotely. Schoolwork is now completed at a distance via virtual software applications each day. The children are able to connect in real-time and discuss their work via online learning.

SHINE for KIDS

SHINE for KIDS is a national charity supporting children and their families with relatives in the criminal justice system. Being separated from a parent is a traumatic experience, and prisons can be tough on kids visiting their parents or relatives.

SHINE for KIDS is designed to help families maintain relationships while incarcerated, but the effects of COVID-19 mean that physical access to prisons has been limited in 2020.

Our donation has allowed children to stay connected to their families through the pandemic virtually. Parents can now connect with their children via iPads and read books to them to maintain the all-important relationship.

Youth Insearch

Youth Insearch works with at-risk youths aged 14-20 to help them onto the right path for success.

Since 1985, it has worked with youths in the community to reduce crime, violence, drug/alcohol abuse, self-harm and suicide in young people through workshops and community support. It also works to get youths helping youths so each member can positively affect others.

Similarly, COVID-19 meant that in-person workshops were not always possible, but with our donation we’re helping to facilitate these mentor meetings virtually.

We remain committed to supporting regional Australia. As restrictions lift, we are looking forward to getting back out across our beautiful and vast country to hear from our customers, and continue to provide assistance in the future to organisations that are helping to improve the lives for all Australians.

Community | Inspiration |

Why we’ve been Wearing It Purple for 10 years

By Tom Roets August 28, 2020

Today marks 10 years of Wear it Purple Day – a day designed to show LGBTQ+ young people they have the right to be proud of who they are.

We’re a proud supporter of the day and the Telstra team has been getting on board by wearing purple and featuring a purple background in their virtual meetings – and sharing photos of all their purpleness with their colleagues.

Our commitment to inclusion is championed by our Spectrum network, which creates opportunities for our LGBTQ+ team members and allies to connect and support each other, both inside and outside of work.

This year Telstra Spectrum sponsor Tom Roets spoke to engineer Maddie Sumner about what Wear It Purple Day means to them and why being supported in the workplace is so important.

Tom Roets: Maddie can you tell me a bit about your story and why Wear it Purple Day matters to you?

Maddie Sumner: My story started not too long ago and fortunately it has been pretty smooth sailing. I initially came out as transgender to my close friends and then to my family a few months later. This was a very intimidating time of my life despite facing very few challenges. No one can escape the reach of the media though.

Many of my family members and friends have ‘come out’ over the years, and I’m pretty desensitised to it now! I can barely recall some of the nervousness and difficulty they had just bringing up the courage to tell others, since it’s so common and even celebrated now.

But it was still one of the hardest things I’d done and I cannot imagine what it must be like for any young person who fears for their safety when being themselves, let alone any individual – and I want to help change this.

TR: What was it like experiencing your transition while in the workplace?

MS: In my previous company, I came out while in the workplace and it was terrifying. But when I joined Telstra, I applied under my last name and then changed my name after joining.

It was a very weird thing to apply as one person, and then join six months later as me. But everyone was very supportive of me.

TR: How did Telstra deal with that?

MS: When I came to Telstra, it wasn’t mentioned once by peers unless I brought it up.

That was amazing for me. I still have anxiety that people will treat me differently when they hear, and I worry that someone will put me in a box. But starting at Telstra, I went for weeks on end not even thinking about the fact that I am transgender which is amazing. It just didn’t matter and everyone was so nice. People just accept me for who I am – Maddie.

TR: Why do days like Wear It Purple Day matter to young LGBTQ+ Australians today?

MS: Rainbow young people still receive abuse and can often feel worthless thanks to the immaturity of others and miseducation of LGBTQ+ issues in general. From others showing support in schools, workplaces and at public events, we can help so many people feel at least a little more comfortable with who they are.

Wear It Purple will always be here to do our part, at least until LGBTQ+ people no longer face so many challenges compared to the rest of the population.

TR: Why is it important to you that your employer gets involved in activities like this?

MS: Corporates have more influence in this area than many realise. Of course we can help spread the message and encourage support far wider than some, but by celebrating Wear it Purple Day in the workplace means we can also boost morale and celebrate diversity and inclusion internally too.

It’s estimated that more than 1 in 10 people identify as not exclusively heterosexual – meaning if any of us celebrate Wear it Purple at work and this news is spread to 10 people in our lives, we may be helping someone. Usually you won’t know if someone is struggling, and this could be someone in your family, friend circles or at work.

TR: How does it feel when you see your colleagues getting involved and supporting your community?

I feel proud working for Telstra when I see so many of my colleagues support various inclusion initiatives throughout the year. Especially thanks to the fact that they are supported to do so.

MS: Tom, what does WIPD mean to you?

TR: As a cis gay man, I am part of a majority within a minority, and feel tremendous privilege and responsibility as a result. Being part of the LGBTQ+ community I know what it feels like to be misunderstood and fear discrimination from the larger majority, but have also learnt I have a big blind spot for those members of the LGBTQ+ community, especially transgender, intersex and queer people, who struggle to be understood even by their LGB brethren.

So Wear It Purple is this great opportunity to just talk about all the aspects and facets of it so we can help everyone grow and gain more understanding, across all aspects of the spectrum of society.

We need to do so much more to help LGBTQ+ people feel comfortable to be their best selves and bring their whole selves to work.

MS: Tom, can you tell me about your experience of being gay in the workplace?

TR: I’m originally from South Africa and l liked the idea of living all over the world as a management consultant. I realised this was because it was easier to be me while living outside of South Africa.

But even after I came out to my friends and family, I still struggled with coming out in the office. Before I was out at work, I really struggled with simple questions like “Hey what did you do this weekend?” when I was too afraid to say my boyfriend and I went to the movies, out of fear that being gay would result in discrimination or worse.

I used to get mortified by really innocent questions like “Hey Tom, so do you have a girlfriend?” Nowadays I simply reply: “I don’t think my boyfriend would really like that!” But it used to be much, much harder to cope with being gay in the workplace.

The Australian Workplace Equality Index 2020 findings show that less than 45% of LGBTQ+ people are ‘out to everybody’ and youngest respondents were least likely to be open about their diverse sexual orientation or identity. The data also showed that the number one reason for people not being out in the workplace is that it “would not be accepted by some on my team”. These aren’t statistics from 1980, that’s TODAY.

We still have so many of us who struggle, and we need Wear It Purple Day to show us it’s okay. We need straight allies to show and say “Hey we don’t care, in fact we love you for being you, so just be you, okay?” And wearing purple says that without you having to say it.