How effective is D&I in Australia?

'Leadership is important, but real change happens when we engage and enable our people'

How effective is D&I in Australia?

Many leaders in Australian organisations are well schooled in theory of change in organisations and the robust evidence-based models used globally that underpin any change management strategy and process, according to Diversity Council Australia’s (DCA) CEO Lisa Annese.

“It’s time to apply that lens to change in diversity practice so it leads to greater workplace inclusion,” added Annese.

Her comments come as DCA together with Deloitte and Google have released a new report which sets out an innovative framework to make diversity and inclusion change that works.

The report, titled Change at Work: designing diversity and inclusion differently to achieve organisational change reveals that three quarters of D&I practitioners report that their change initiatives are not always implemented effectively.

Consequently, the report presents an evidence-based model structured around key concepts in organisational change, urging businesses to approach and manage D&I like any other major transition that can happen in a workplace.

READ MORE: Diversity: far from female only

DCA’s CEO Lisa Annese explained DCA wanted to find out how effectively D&I is being practiced in Australia, and they took these findings as a call to action to design D&I change differently.

“This report provides our members with evidence-based guidance to make sure that when they are doing D&I change, they are doing it right,” she said.

Deloitte’s CEO Richard Deutsch said that he believes “we’ve reached the point where our culture recognises and understands the value of inclusion, which is fantastic”.

“Not just as ‘the right thing to do’, but as a necessary business imperative. But we need to ensure we’re driving lasting change and can really sustain it.

READ MORE: Ten steps to capitalise on cultural diversity

“The research in this report will be instrumental in how Deloitte continues to embed meaningful and effective organisation-wide change.

Deutsch added that leadership is important, but real change – as demonstrated in this report – happens when we engage and enable our people.

“I’m excited by this report’s potential to create a movement to drive change in

Australian workplaces and society. So let’s do it.”

The key findings of the report include:

  • How effective is D&I change management in Australia?
    • Three out of four (75%) D&I practitioners and change agents report that D&I change management is never, rarely, or only sometimes implemented effectively – close to one in three (29%) practitioners indicated that D&I change management is never or only rarely implemented effectively.
  • How can change be implemented better?
    • Use models of change – ONLY 6% of practitioners indicated they used a model of organisational change when designing and implementing D&I initiatives and were able to nominate this.
    • Target teams – ONLY 14% often or always implement D&I change initiatives at the team level.
    • Cultivate capabilities – ONLY 17% often or always train staff to develop their change management capabilities.
    • Recognise readiness – ONLY 24% often or always investigate organisational readiness for change prior to implementing D&I change initiatives.
    • Learn from history – ONLY 30% often or always examine past successes and failures to inform new D&I change initiatives.
    • Set realistic goals – ONLY 40% report that their organisation often or always sets realistic D&I change-related goals.
    • Evaluate impact – ONLY 37% of practitioners report that their organisation often or always monitors and evaluates the impact of its D&I change initiatives.

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