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Tag: diversity-and-inclusion

Flexing big for World Flexible Working Day


Posted on May 22, 2019

3 min read

Today is World Flexible Working Day. It’s a day to challenge the mindset that work can only be done in the confines of a formal office setting. Flexible working is all about giving employees the choice to change their arrangements so that work can fit in seamlessly with their lives.

We introduced our ‘All Roles Flex’ approach in 2014. This approach recognises that flexibility will mean different things for different people. For example, it may mean working part-time, working outside normal 9-5 business hours or working from different locations.

We encourage our leaders to manage flexible working by checking in with their team members regularly to see what’s going on outside work. And we encourage our people to take a guilt-free attitude to flexibility, because it improves productivity, engagement and results for our customers. 

From Yeppoon to Yatala, Ballina to Caulfield – Telstra has flexible workers all over the country.

Meet three of our flexible working champions who have changed their working times and locations. These changes have been made possible through the support of our leaders, as well as a continuous focus on flexibility, technology and connectivity.

Cameron Young

Parenthood is a challenge and for first-time father, Cameron Young has been able to be there for his wife and son and still complete his work requirements

Parenthood is a challenge and for first-time father, Cameron Young has been able to be there for his wife and son and still complete his work requirements. 

“Working flexibly wasn’t something I truly valued until it became available to me,” Cameron said.

“I’m able to support my family with time at home, both planned and short-notice, without missing a beat or lowering my productivity.” 

Cameron works as a product marketing senior specialist in Telstra Enterprise. He sees the benefits are not exclusive to working from home. He says he can seamlessly co-locate with stakeholders both inter-floor, inter-office and internationally. All the time maintaining productivity while on the move with minimal disruption.

“I’ve fully embraced the tools and structures that allow us to work flexibly, and I’m proud to be part of an organisation that has availed this style of working,” he said. 

Nicola Reeves

The Byron Bay hinterland is a dream holiday destination, and Nicola Reeves from the Telstra Sponsorship team has made it her permanent home

The Byron Bay hinterland is a dream holiday destination, and Nicola Reeves from the Telstra Sponsorship team has made it her permanent home. 

Moving from Wollongong 18 months ago, Nicola shifted north and took her role with her to the Ballina office.

Nicola believes she has a much more rounded perspective of the organisation since making the move.

“The thing I love about working flexibly is that you get to work with and meet a whole bunch of Telstra people that you wouldn’t otherwise,” she said. 

And her job remained the same given the technology Telstra offers. 

“The video conferencing is essential. So much about communication is non-verbal that if I couldn’t see people when I was talking to them it would be much more difficult.”

Moving north has given Nicola a more balanced life and she says it has given her perspective to reflect on things.

“I find that I am far calmer and less reactive as a result,” she said.

Mark Oberman

Cancelling his commute and getting back two hours of daylight was key for Mark Oberman in deciding to work more from home than the Brisbane office

Cancelling his commute and getting back two hours of daylight was key for Mark Oberman in deciding to work more from home than the Brisbane office. 

As part of the Telstra Global Partner Development team, with a specific focus on partner delivered professional and managed services, his role is not geographically focused.

“Being a self-confessed workaholic, my wife moderates my work hours directly,” laughed Mark. “I am more productive, as I am not distracted by activities around me.” 

IDAHOBIT Day 2019: we can all play a role as champions for diversity


Posted on May 16, 2019

4 min read

Since 2004, May 17 has stood as a day to celebrate LGBTI+ people around the world – to recognise their existence, to understand their struggle, and to commemorate their achievements in striving for equality.

The date stands in solemn recognition of May 17, 1990, when the World Health Organisation’s then-new International Statistical Classification of Diseases no longer listed homosexuality as a diagnosis for mental illness – and remembering the days before then when this was not the case.

Over the years since 1990, and even since 2004, the world has come a long way in embracing diversity and inclusion in many different ways small and large. In some ways, however, the progress has been slow. It has been barely 18 months since Australia’s Federal Parliament voted marriage equality into law, a crowning achievement for the LGBTI+ community. This achievement, however, also served to remind us that we still have a way to go to be free of inequality and prejudice.

Every year, the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOBIT Day) is also an opportunity for allies of the LGBTI+ community to show their visible support, to declare “I proudly stand with you”, to speak up to reject homophobia, transphobia, interphobia, biphobia, and exclusive behaviour wherever we see it.

Part of that support comes from the understanding that advocating for inclusion is a constant process, and that everyone can play a role no matter how they identify.

Diversity and inclusion in the workplace

We realise that in our modern age, this discrimination can and does occur in many forms – institutionally and informally, on the street, in the workplace or online.

We sincerely believe everyone who works at Telstra should be able to bring their whole selves to work – and we want that to be true of anyone throughout their career, no matter their place of work.

For our part, we as an organisation are striving to move past simply considering age, gender and ethnicity in our work to instead take a holistic view of diversity, as part of our newly implemented company-wide Diversity & Inclusion Strategy, while prioritising fairness for any under-represented or marginalised groups.

This new strategy sets in stone our intention to use the power of diverse thinking in inclusive teams to pursue innovation – in creating an inclusive environment at Telstra where everyone can thrive, we want to ensure that under-represented people and groups are heard, and that diverse thinking is valued.

To that end, we’ve set up four new employee representative groups to champion diversity across our business, each with a sponsor from our executive leadership team – we want to underline the importance of this representation at every level within our organisation, and for everyone to commit to creating inclusive teams. These new groups come in addition to our long-running SPECTRUM network representing LGBTI employees and their allies at Telstra, now in its 11th year, and our Brilliant Connected Women group pushing forward in gender diversity.

Diversity is a reality; inclusion is a choice. We’ve made the choice to be inclusive, to set an example for others in our professional and personal lives. As an organisation, we’re a foundation member of Pride in Diversity, the national not-for-profit group advancing LGBTI workplace inclusion and the publisher of the Australian Workplace Equality Index. Diversity and inclusion permeates our culture, and we have embedded it in our values and priorities.

We know it has taken a long time for LGBTI+ people across Australia and the world to start to be included. Days like IDAHOBIT Day are important for us to recognise that there is still a lot more to do to champion diversity and inclusion in all its forms. Today is a day for us to remember that we all have a role to play to drive the change necessary to ensure our society and workplaces are equal for all people.

Young women bridging the digital divide in north-west Tasmania

Telstra Foundation

Posted on November 12, 2018

4 min read

A new digital inclusion strategy enabling young women to be change-makers and bridge the digital divide is taking shape in north-west Tasmania.

As the world moves forward with the next industrial revolution, tech skills are critical to a young person’s future and their ability to adapt and be innovative in an ever increasing digital landscape. Big hART’s Project O enables young women to learn new skills and create new employment pathways, building confidence and aptitude in digital media.

Whilst there was some improvement in north-west Tasmania evidenced in the 2018 Australian Digital Inclusion Index Report, digital inclusion in the north-west is still amongst the lowest in Australia, with economically disadvantaged communities across rural Tasmania having high exclusion rates.

Kimberley Chaplin, 15 from Wynyard in north-west Tasmania, is just one of the young women involved in Project O. With very limited computer access at home and school, Kimberley has joined Project O as she says it gives her more opportunities and gets her out of the house. She hopes to one day become an engineer and is hoping to learn programming, engineering software, and also film editing as part of the program. 15 year old participant Kailee Hanson had the opportunity to be mentored by Hobart filmmaker Eliya Cohen as part of Project O, learning about camera techniques, lighting and also working with editing software, Kailee said “I want to learn editing because it’s a form of art and it’s cool.”

Also supporting the young women is 17 year old Izzi Ward, who has come through Project O and is now a mentor. ‘It’s great the support Project O has in the community”, said Izzi, “It really creates a sense that there’s powerful women around you, supporting you.”

Through the program, young women participate in innovative, highly engaging workshops in graphic design, animation, augmented reality, virtual reality, drone-piloting, sound production, podcast creation, blogging, filmmaking, entrepreneurship, digital media and more. This will culminate in a series of high profile events engaging the community. These are run by the local young women, promoting them as capable, confident and digitally savvy.

Genevieve Dugard, National Director of Project O, says that Project O’s approach is not a one-size-fits all program but one that is tailored to each young women’s interests and needs, providing them with experiences and opportunities they would not normally have, led by strong female mentors. “The aim of our digital inclusion strategy is to equip these young women into the future with not just tech skills but also a confident, creative and entrepreneurial mindset, growing future young female leaders and business owners which will in turn strengthen the economy of north-west Tasmania”, says Genevieve.

Speaking at the launch of Project O’s digital inclusion strategy, 7th October 2018, at Table Cape Tulip Farm in Wynyard, north-west Tasmania, Robert Morsillo – our Digital Inclusion Senior Specialist – talked about the importance of being connected, having a sense of community and contributing creatively to society. “I commend Big hART and Project O and the amazing hard work of these young women who make it so special, “said Robert, “We want everyone to be able to thrive in our increasingly digital world and digital economy. Inclusion is really important for everyone – for jobs, for accessing government services and it can also be a lifeline.”

Project O is an initiative of Big hART, Australia’s leading campaigning arts organisation, which won the Telstra Business of the Year and Charity of the Year in Tasmania in 2017, and is led by 2018 Tasmanian Australian of the Year Scott Rankin. Project O’s new digital inclusion strategy is being rolled out in Wynyard and Smithton in NW Tasmania, Frankston Victoria, and Roebourne in the Pilbara in Western Australia.

Tackling technology challenges and improving business through diversity

Telstra Vantage™

Posted on October 12, 2018

5 min read

A panel of female technology leaders at Telstra Vantage 2018 discussed the ideas, techniques and actions that will attract more women into the industry.

With a gender distribution of roughly 25 percent women to 75 percent men, the technology industry still has considerable work to do to be more diverse and inclusive. But Westpac CIO of consumer bank Anastasia Cammaroto said we’ve at least reached the point where it’s an accepted fact that diversity and inclusivity are the right thing to do.

The question now, then, is how to do it — how do we address this gender imbalance, at every seniority level, and reap the benefits of diverse teams and diverse leadership in technology organisations? And how do we navigate these challenges while also steering our way through the fourth big industrial revolution that’s underway right this minute, with 300 years of technology advancements crammed into just the next three years?

For panel moderator Katherine Boiciuc, enterprise operations executive at Telstra, it’s the technology businesses that achieve diversity and inclusivity that will thrive in this period of unprecedented transformation. And for Telstra COO Robyn Denholm, it’s precisely this transformation that should be the catalyst for the change we need to see in our workforce across the board.

Making tech careers more appealing to women and girls

Part of the solution for doing that, she added, is to leverage all this exciting new technology to add a cool factor to the industry so that more kids might then say “I want to be that nerd”, study STEM subjects and make their way into technology careers.

Cammaroto had much more to add on the long view. Westpac set a goal of 50 percent women across all roles, she said, and 10 years later they’ve made it. But achieving this goal took a serious look inwards.

Getting more women into technology and developing them into highly-skilled leaders is not as simple as saying you need them. It requires much greater inclusivity in the phrasing of job advertisements and workplace behaviours and biases, as well as a conscious effort to set role models for the types of values you have in your organisation.

It also means reaching out to girls about the technology pathways they could take in their careers. Westpac has started to run work experience programs for girls at underprivileged schools for this very purpose — because, as Elizabeth Hunter, chief HR officer and shared services at Incitec Pivot, explained, “if they can’t see it, they won’t be it.”

Hunter said that we need to make it clearer as an industry that there are many more kinds of jobs and roles than just being a coder sitting in a room and not talking to anybody all day.

Then once young women enter the field, she added, they need mentors and sponsors who will see their potential and be prepared to give them a go — to help them advance their career and to give them a voice to reframe their roles and step up.

Diversity improves business outcomes

Denholm noted the importance of empowering men to empower women as a practical way to address the gender imbalance. This has had “amazing” results for Telstra in a short period of time, she said, and more broadly the panel agreed that the results of having even a small amount of diversity in your technology teams will speak for themselves.

There’s considerable data to suggest that diverse teams are more profitable, more productive and better problem solvers than non-diverse teams. This goes for diverse leadership, too, with diverse executive teams 21 percent more likely to experience above-average profitability than non-diverse teams.

The panel had plenty of anecdotal evidence to support these numbers. Denholm has been the only woman in many executive teams over the years, for instance, and the men on those teams have often commented that just having that one woman’s presence improved the team dynamics. Similarly, in a previous role in financial services, Hunter learnt that the most profitable team at the firm was also the most diverse.

But Eglantine Etiemble, the CIO of Dulux, cautioned that, for all the many benefits diversity provides, it is also harder to manage diverse teams. You need to work on yourself as an individual and a leader, she advised, to transform yourself and to understand your bias. Only then will the transformation follow.

Hunter echoed the sentiment. Assumptions are often wrong, she said, “So check your assumptions, find out if they’re true, and you might find that a whole new world opens up.”

Greater diversity to tackle the challenges ahead

Business is changing tremendously fast. A whopping 85% of jobs that will exist in 2030 don’t exist yet. And these new jobs are likely to require diverse skill sets across our industry.

Christine Russo, technology sales executive at Telstra, said that the future of sales — and all professions — lies in softer skills like humility and empathy and abundance. For that, she said, we need to think about how to build teams where ego is left at the door.

Women leaders also need to think about and choose carefully how to “lean in” to create conditions for women to be successful, she added, while Boiciuc likened diversity to the high school dance. “You can invite everyone to the high school dance,” she said, “but there’s a difference between being at the school dance and being asked to dance at the school dance… So how many people are you inviting to dance?”

We’re proud to be among world leaders for gender equality


Posted on October 5, 2018

2 min read

Our ongoing commitment to gender equality has been internationally recognised twice in the last week.

We’ve been listed in the top 200 companies globally leading the field for gender equality in 2018 by Equileap, a not-for-profit organisation aiming to accelerate progress towards gender equality in the workplace.

Each year, Amsterdam-based Equileap ranks over 3,000 companies in 23 countries on gender equality based criteria such as leadership, gender pay equity and flexible work practices. In 2018, we’ve been ranked 62nd on the list.

Australia had the fourth highest proportion of companies in the Top 200 (36 per cent). The countries with the highest proportion of ranking companies were Norway (43 per cent), Israel (40 per cent) and Belgium (38 per cent).

And in the same week, Andy Penn has appeared in the second annual HERoes Champions of Women in Business lists, published by The Financial Times.

The HERoes lists celebrate company leaders who are passionate about gender equality and actively support women in business. All of those on the lists were nominated by peers and colleagues, with the nominations then reviewed by a panel of judges.

It’s fantastic to see that Andy has been ranked eighth out of the top 50 Male Champions of this year’s list, which includes leading businesspeople from all over the world. We are the only Australian company ranked in the top 10. Andy’s inclusion is on the basis of his personal commitment to gender equality both within Telstra and externally as a Male Champion of Change.

We can all feel proud that Telstra is being recognised internationally as an organisation that cares passionately about diversity and inclusion – there has never been a more critical time for us to focus on the benefits of a diverse and inclusive workforce.

You don’t have to be a Male Champion of Change to make a difference. We can all play a role in amplifying women’s voices and celebrating their achievements.

Nominations are now open for the 2019 Telstra Business Women’s Awards, which celebrate women in leadership who are transforming the way we do business. The program, now in its 24th year, continues to recognise outstanding women who are achieving business success by doing things differently.

Participation starts with a simple nomination. Anyone can nominate – friends, family, employees, colleagues, clients, customers or yourself. You can nominate here and nominations are open until 8 November.