Pat Remulla (she/her) is the Vice President of the Performance Centre team for Global Business Services and is based in Manila. This is her story.
Our diversity differentiates who we are from others and makes us unique, but it should not limit what we can do and what we can achieve and contribute to society. Inclusion and diversity for me, is about having the freedom to do what you aspire to do, and to be treated and valued based on merits and skills, regardless of one’s background and profile.
In my previous roles, I have come across what is called a ‘diversity play’ which meant that some people may be getting roles or promotions because of their diversity. So, if someone was female, LGBT+ or belonged to an ethnic minority, that person at times, could have a higher chance of getting good roles or achieving progression to certain levels, as the company was just trying to fulfil a diversity target. This doesn’t really sit right with me because I strongly believe that promotion or being assigned to great roles, should be a reward to the most qualified and deserving. Being diverse doesn’t mean getting special treatment. We should all have an equal opportunity and should be developed and evaluated using the same standards that don’t discriminate or favour one group over another.
As BHP becomes more global, the diversity of our organisation across gender, culture, religion and other aspects is also increasing. We need to ensure we are also building capability as an organisation, to understand different cultures and diversity profiles in our teams and how they translate to work dynamics and relationships. It doesn’t sound urgent, but can make a world of difference in improving our collaboration cross culturally and improving how we develop and evaluate capabilities and skills.
Being inclusive doesn’t have to be daunting either. Simple things like making sure everyone has a chance to speak in a meeting, can make a big difference in giving an opportunity for someone’s voice to be heard and building their confidence. Being open and assuming positive intent also always helps. Sometimes misunderstanding and miscommunication are due to people having different backgrounds or unique approaches vs having ill intent.
I believe that if we can lead, support and promote initiatives that drive people to listen, understand, value differences, and foster a diverse and inclusive environment, we can inspire more people to do the same. And maybe we have a chance at making the world more equal, where differences are valued and respected. It starts with each of us.