Inclusion@Work at Suncorp
At Suncorp, we focus on building an inclusive culture to support our diverse workforce and leverage the diversity of thought, backgrounds, and experiences that brings. We recognise that this creates greater innovation, a deeper understanding of our customers’ needs and ultimately improved business performance. It also means our people can be themselves at work and feel valued and respected for their perspectives and contribution.
Encouraging our people to connect and share
Inclusion is an essential pillar of the Suncorp Diversity & Inclusion Plan and Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) support this commitment. ERGs are grassroots initiatives created by our people to come together around a common purpose. Passionate Suncorp senior leaders sponsor these groups, helping to lift awareness and coach contributing members.
There are currently six ERGs across Australia and New Zealand supporting different communities within Suncorp, including the LGBTIQ+ community; female and male allies of gender equality; culturally and linguistically diverse employees; mature age employees; youth; and veterans, reserves and defence families. Two additional ERGs are in formation - for people with disability and for carers.
Amplify: supporting LGBTIQ+ inclusion
Amplify was established in 2017 with a clear purpose to champion an inclusive environment where LGBTIQ+ employees feel confident and safe to bring their whole selves to work every day. Over time, this purpose has broadened to improve the engagement and lives of LGBTIQ+ employees, their leaders and allies. Some of Amplify’s initiatives include:
- Creating a network with peer support, networking, communications and external activities, providing a tangible impact on the careers and lives of LGBTIQ+ employees and allies.
- Creating an LGBTIQ+ champion network in every Suncorp location.
- Recognising LGBTIQ+ days of significance with event celebrations and awareness campaigns.
- Launching LGBTIQ+ Awareness Learning at Suncorp – Specialised LGBTIQ+ inclusion trainers facilitate two-hour awareness sessions and a social learning video series has been created focusing on building foundational understanding of sexuality and gender diversity.
- Partnering with Suncorp Women Connect (another of our ERGs) to ensure consideration and access is provided to transgender and non-binary employees.
- Supporting the external LGBTIQ+ community through regular fundraising activities for LGBTIQ+ youth charities, obtaining grants for various LGBTIQ+ charities from Brighter Futures, Suncorp’s employee giving program, and partnering with external LGBTIQ+ networks to host events and awareness sessions, one of which was a session on domestic violence in LGBTIQ+ relationships.
It is important that Suncorp ERGs have a voice at the table and Amplify has also consulted on an Inclusion Audit of Suncorp’s policies and practices, the Parents at Suncorp buddy program, AAMI’s Broken Heel Festival, the introduction of gender-neutral bathrooms and is currently assisting with policy formation to support transgender employees, just to name a few.
Suncorp has uplifted from Bronze to Silver Employer at this year’s Australian LGBTI Inclusion Awards, recognising our commitment and continued progress with LGBTIQ+ inclusion. While we’re still learning, we’re proud of the actions taken to raise LGBTIQ+ awareness at Suncorp and improve the workplace experience for our LGBTIQ+ employees.
LIFE-X: looking forward, giving back
LIFE-X, short for Life Experience, was established in 2018 to empower our people aged 50+. Its purpose is to champion and transform the employee experience of the LIFE-X community – to help them feel valued because of their experience, wisdom and business acumen, and to enhance the understanding of options available, both inside and outside of Suncorp. Some of the initiatives within the LIFE-X program of work include:
- Growing a 700+ strong network of members and champions.
- The ‘Inspiring Stories’ series, raising awareness of the unique experiences and benefits LIFE-X members bring to the organisation.
- Hosting events that drive shared experiences and build awareness on personal and professional development topics, such as late stage career development options.
- Rolling out an employee survey to understand the mature age experience at Suncorp and collating insights on the unique challenges, needs and motivations of mature age employees.
- Completing research on mature age attraction and retention best practice, which, combined with the employee survey, informed the mature age employment pathway strategy.
- Co-created an intergenerational mentoring program. Partnering with another ERG, the goal of this initiative is to empower people to influence their own development and create relationships across generations, positions and hierarchy.
- Applying an ‘age lens’ to inform an internal Inclusion Audit of Suncorp’s policies and practices, ensuring age demographics are not excluded through language, policy and communications.
- Assisted with the creation of leader guides on various topics supporting employees in late stage careers.
Critical to Suncorp’s success is attracting and retaining the wisdom, knowledge and experience of mature age employees so that we can better reflect the communities we serve. More than 600 employees have participated in ‘Envisage’ workshops, which are specifically designed to help our people aged 50+ to proactively plan and set goals for the next phase of their lives and careers at Suncorp. We’ve also recently introduced Navigate, a program to build leader capability to inclusively lead age-diverse teams and provide practical skills for supporting mature age employees.
As a result of these efforts, Suncorp has been recognised as an Age Diversity Finalist in this year’s Australian HR Institute (AHRI) Awards.
A more inclusive culture at Suncorp
ERGs provide employees with a sense of belonging by uniting on their commonalities to problem-solve, innovate, build relationships, and develop their leadership skills. The business benefits of ERGs include greater understanding of diverse customer needs, improved employee engagement and wellbeing, and a diverse source of talent for future leaders. Inclusion will continue to be a focus at Suncorp because our people, customers and communities all benefit from a fairer and more inclusive culture.
Celebrating Life - Novartis introduces equal parental leave globally
Novartis recognises that becoming a parent is one of the most life-changing moments that many people experience. To ensure all parents at Novartis have the opportunity to spend time with their new family member, the company took a step to review its already competitive Parental Leave Policy, looking in particular at ways to make it more inclusive.
Parental leave policies hold one of the keys to addressing issues related to gender equality, and they also need to keep pace with society as families just aren’t traditionally defined anymore. Novartis highlighted the following changes to its own policy:
- No more labels – removing the primary and secondary carer labels for company paid leave
- More eligibility – removing the waiting period and introducing day one eligibility for new starters and extending the same parental leave eligibility for parents in cases of adoption or surrogacy
- 14 weeks paid parental leave – an increase of two weeks on its existing policy, regardless of parental role
- Additional eligibility – enabling parents to take their leave at any time during a 24 month period
- Providing professional parent pre-leave and re-entry coaching
- Allowing co-parenting – enabling employees to take their parental leave concurrently with their partner
- Adding additional parental leave for parents in cases of premature birth (<37 weeks)
- Allowing flexibility to take the paid leave at 14 weeks full-paid or 28 weeks half-paid parental leave
- Removal of claw-back conditions in cases where employees don’t stay with the company
The leave policy complements a number of parent support programs that Novartis has in place to help parents balance their career and family. These include highly valued flexible working opportunities, as well as a subsidised on-site school holiday care program at the Sydney head office.
The new policy came into effect in Australia on 1 January 2020 and a number of the updates were grand fathered for those who became parents in 2019. By 2021, Novartis Group company employees across the world will all have access to the core elements of this new policy.
The Novartis Parental Leave Policy is a symbol of equality for all new parents at Novartis. It gives parents choices to suit their individual circumstances, as well as precious time to bond with their new family member. By offering the same parental leave to all parents, regardless of gender or LGBTIQ+ identity, Novartis is furthering its commitment to diversity and inclusion within the workplace.