Since announcing our aspirational goal to achieve gender balance in October 2016, a significant effort has been put behind communication – a critical component in helping us work towards true cultural change – across all levels of the business
As a starting point, achieving gender balance was selected to accelerate the Company’s inclusion and diversity focus, starting in FY2017.
In October 2016, we began the conversation about inclusion and diversity by updating Our Charter to include ‘Our teams are inclusive and diverse’ and distributed copies of this globally to all employees. We also announced our aspirational goal to achieve gender balance by 2025 to our employees and publicly at the London and Brisbane Annual General Meetings. The goal is now measured across the Company as part of a three per cent year-on-year KPI in senior leader scorecards. The metric was also published in the 2016 Annual Report for the first time and our progress has been 2.9 per cent.
Through FY17, we raised the profiles of our global Inclusion and Diversity Council (I&DC) via sharing quarterly updates, case studies and profiles internally, to help communicate our long-term strategy. Our global I&DC, chaired by CEO Andrew Mackenzie, has recommended four priorities to accelerate the delivery of a more inclusive work environment and enhanced overall workplace diversity: embedding flexible working; enabling our supply chain partners to support our commitment to inclusion and diversity; uncovering and taking steps to mitigate potential bias in our systems, behaviours, policies and processes; and ensuring our brand and industry are attractive to a diverse range of people. We have now published a selection of our I&DC profiles.
A series of internal engagement sessions were hosted by our global Inclusion and Diversity Council members to discuss the business rationale for inclusion and diversity with senior leaders through to supervisors. After all, we know that our more diverse and inclusive groups have higher performance both on safety and operational performance.
Gender balance formed an important part of the conversation and as a critical first step, leaders were encouraged to continue these conversations with their teams across the whole Company. These discussions uncovered some steps we needed to take to enable a more inclusive and diverse workplace. One of these steps was to update our HR systems and work us currently underway to make it easier to set up flexible work arrangements.
Inclusion and Diversity was the sole focus area in CEO and BHP Management Team (top 400 leaders) messages in September and October 2016, highlighting the importance of this for the Company.
Our leaders have been equipped with information to help them start and continue the conversation about inclusion and diversity. An Inclusion and Diversity Leaders’ Toolkit is continuously updated with information about our Inclusion and Diversity Council, our global priorities, our business case, frequently asked questions and conversation and scenario guides.
We’ve encouraged our employees to share their own inclusion and diversity stories via our internal social collaboration tool, Yammer and a number of the stories have also been shared via our public microsite, Our Stories.
Employees have taken part in a number of events this year to support and start conversations about inclusion and diversity, including International Women’s Day, A Taste of Harmony and Wear it Purple Day.
Conversations on our internal social network, Yammer, have also been key for cultural change, Our Inclusion and Diversity Yammer group has the highest engagement of all groups on Yammer, generating the most conversations, with the top three highest number of followers across the Company. CEO Andrew Mackenzie recently used Yammer to share why he is a great believer in flexible working, and outlining his own way of working flexibly. The post has generated a wide-reaching conversation with over 60 employees sharing their own stories about how they make use of flexible work to balance their lives and how they’ve seen attitudes to flexible work change for the better at BHP.
Since January 2017, our inclusion and diversity related stories have been resonating both internally and externally. We’ve had millions impressions on our LinkedIn Company posts, on Facebook, on Twitter and our company intranet.
To increase our understanding about the barriers to further employee engagement with our gender balance aspirational, we are working with external research firms to complete qualitative attitudinal research. The research will be completed by the end of the calendar year and aims to understand and explore the current experiences and impacts of gender at BHP, attitudes and perceptions towards our aspirational goal and to help build further engagement with the gender balance aspiration.
We’ve also looked outside our organisation to learn from others. David Morrison, Australian of the Year for 2016 and former Australian Army Chief visited to share his honest experiences of building inclusive and diverse teams; Lisa McMeeken from the Victoria Police visited on International Women’s Day to talk about how Victoria Police is creating a more inclusive and diverse workforce; and, following our announcement of becoming a major sponsor of the Crows AFL Women’s team, coach Bec Goddard came to talk to our employees about challenging norms and working with diverse teams.
Members of our management team have spoken at a number of at diversity-themed events alongside government and other businesses this year, including an address from CEO Andrew Mackenzie at the Deloitte Women in Mining Roundtable in February, discussing our commitments to and action on inclusion and diversity.
A number of our employees have been recognised this year for their contributions to inclusion and diversity. In May, Jacqui McGill, Olympic Dam Asset President, received an honorary doctorate for work in diversity and gender equity from the University of Adelaide and in early September, Vanessa Torres, Vice President Op Infrastructure WAIO was named Exceptional Woman in Australian Resources.
We are role modelling the importance of gender balance, including with business partners. For example, we’re working with our suppliers in the design of machinery to increase the range of people who can work at our sites. This supports our drive to get a more diverse skill mix in our business.
Inclusion and Diversity was also a discussion item on the agenda at the August 2017 Board meeting, where a case study on our Mooka Ore Car Repair shop showed how we’re achieving gender balance in practice.
Keeping the dialogue open and ongoing has allowed the flow of ideas and sharing of information across BHP. A concerted effort to highlight the business case for inclusion and diversity and use all Company channels to promote the cause has had a significant impact on our culture. Inclusion and diversity is now widely discussed in meetings rooms and on site, with a forward looking integrated communications plan set to keep the conversation going for years to come.