Where there’s a will there’s a way – the importance of using data to increase diversity and inclusion transparency and staff engagement.

Energy Australia’s CEO & Chairman last week announced a $1.2 million leap in pay for female staff to fix the gender pay gap.

Energy Australia’s CEO & Chairman last week announced a $1.2 million leap in pay for female staff to fix the gender pay gap.

In this post #timesup world all organisations have a choice. The first option is to continue to play the traditional, compliance based, reactive D & I “game” like Microsoft, who find themselves despite much talk of progress facing a barrage of gender discrimination accusations.

Alternately, you have the option to take what I think is the better approach, of employing a robust D & I strategy that when implemented effectively will increase employee and community trust in your brand and increase your organisation’s performance.

In this second option, leaders decide they are going to value and leverage their workforce diversity, and the evidence is – where there’s a will there’s a way.

Key to achieving this effective strategy shift is successfully communicating the data. To do this, it must come from leaders not HR reps, and be framed as an improvement to the business strategy, not a compliance or tick-box issue.

In my D & I training and focus group experience some employees argue that the corporate business case evidence is not academically robust. Some also argue that it’s political correctness gone mad. However, in my experience no one can argue with their own workforce data when it’s communicated effectively.

2 key examples of using data effectively:

·    The gender data when its presented graphically is a powerful visual, with the ‘jaws of death’ clearly demonstrating the waste of female talent at the higher professional and manager levels. These graphs give a clear indication that the issue permeates all sectors, including tertiary, government and corporate. As the ABC pointed earlier this week, in the tertiary sector 80% of tenured faculty in STEMM are male. Even in 2018, when you consider the amount of female talent that’s now available, it is clear a distinct underutilisation of available talent is occurring. 

·     Similarly, the cultural diversity data visually presented through pie graphs gives a clear indication that Australian workforces do not reflect our community. By showing the ABS Australian census data as below, it is clear Australia is one of the most multicultural countries in the world. By applying this, and comparing it to your organisation, you can see how reflective your workplace is of Australian society. For example, it was noted last week that Australia’s parliament visually looks nothing like the community it serves.


It is clear that such data finally has leaders’ attention in an increasing number of organisations, as this week multiple companies such as Energy Australia, PWC, Ernst & Young, and Fujitsu, came forward to offer public D&I data transparency. Key in this movement, is that leaders are not just talking about D&I as an existing problem, but are actually also talking about the mechanisms they’ve put in place to fix it, which is truly exciting to see.

When leaders make public commitments, it shows they’re serious about addressing the problem as part of their business strategy. Through this act of leaders sharing the problem, progress is accelerated as an increasing number of people understand the systemic issues. Due to our Australian pride in creating a fair go society, people then want to get involved and help take action. I think we might finally be getting closer to the tipping point, as journalist Georgia Dent suggests, where it is becoming impossible for organisations who are doing nothing in D&I to hide.

In 2018 we are living in a moment of increasing calls to action, such as encouragements to ban all male panels by boycotting and walking out of events. This is possible as more and more leaders and staff are willing to speak up when they see exclusion of talent due to traditional assumptions. The data has been public for over 35 years, but finally we are seeing a step up with company’s recognising the value of being transparent and committing to action. If this trend of public exposure and commitment continues, I truly believe we can look forward to more inclusive, and therefore better organisations for us all to work in.

To assist you in implementing effective D&I mechanisms to improve your business performance and deliver your commitment, request a free copy of my proven D & I Generational Impact model today.

Image via The Financial Review

Fiona KrautilComment