Opinion: Let's talk about diversity

Greg Parkes of Autopia shares the organisation’s journey towards a more diverse and inclusive workplace

Opinion: Let's talk about diversity
In the midst of significant global changes such as generational turnover, talent shortage and advancing technology, Greg Parkes, Executive General Manager at Autopia, shares the organisation’s journey towards a more diverse and inclusive workplace.

There are thousands of articles discussing the importance of diversity, while study after study proves the economic benefits of a diverse workforce to an organisation.

As a result, over the last decade, the corporate world has focused more on diversity,  celebrating our differences in gender, cultural background, ways of thinking and more.

The journey towards diversity

At Autopia, the importance of diversity and inclusion stems from the core of our business: our customers. Having built an organisation with a personalised, highly consultative approach, it was evident to us that our customers came from a whole range of backgrounds, and our staff should too.

So, in an effort to learn how to promote diversity and inclusion within our organisation and create a positive impact in our business community, we embarked on our own diversity and inclusion journey, leading to the development of our thought leadership program.

Diversity matters: facilitating the conversation

Through Autopia’s Diversity and Inclusion thought leadership program, we have had the privilege of sharing experiences with corporate leaders from around Australia, and partnered with pivotal organisations, including UN Women National Committee of Australia and Juggle Strategies, a workplace flexibility consultancy firm.

Through these partnerships, we have developed a series of White Papers for business, exploring gender and cultural diversity, as well as workplace flexibility, and best practices for promoting and implementing effective diversity and inclusion programs within a business. With the objective of generating discussion around these issues, these White Papers also aim to provide guidance for companies on their own journey of change.

Along the way, and thanks to insights from our expert partners, we have learned that it is not enough to achieve a statistically diverse workforce; true inclusion comes when there is a cultural shift within the organisation. As Vernā Myers, Author and Diversity Advocate once said, ““Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance.”

Undoubtedly, changing an organisation’s culture can be slow. In fact, achieving diversity and inclusion is not a one-off, set-and-forget exercise. It is an ever-evolving process that must go beyond written procedures to become part of the day-to-day life of an organisation.

Achieving diversity and inclusion is a process that requires us to re-think how we do business, but one that we know can have a positive and tangible effect on productivity and performance. Working towards diversity and inclusion in the workplace is not only the right thing to do; it’s the smart thing to do.

Greg Parkes is the Executive General Manager at Autopia - a specialist novated leasing provider to the corporate sector in the Smartgroup network of companies, an ASX-listed group recognised for innovation and exceptional customer service. To explore Diversity and Inclusion white papers produced by Autopia, visit autopia.com.au

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