Is it really a good idea to bring your whole self to work?

Media releases

The 2018 Diversity Council Australia and National Australia Bank Annual Diversity Debate will ask: Is it really a good idea to bring your whole self to work?

The Debate will be held in Sydney on the evening of 20 November and will be moderated by journalist and host of ABC TV’s Q & A, Tony Jones.

DCA’s CEO, Lisa Annese, says this year’s Debate will challenge the prevailing wisdom that people should bring their whole selves to work.

“Research has shown that if people are able to be themselves, they will feel more comfortable and will be more productive and engaged. Masking who you really are at work can expend valuable time and energy and negatively affect productivity, not to mention employee wellbeing.

“But what if your whole self is racist, sexist or homophobic? Or what if your workplace isn’t inclusive, and if you were yourself, you might be discriminated against or harassed?

“The Debate will be a really entertaining and thought provoking discussion of both sides of this hot topic,” says Lisa.

With an audience of more than 450, including CEOs, HR directors and managers, diversity practitioners and business leaders, there will be plenty of wisdom in the room and lively debate from our panellists, as these early comments foreshadow.

On the Affirmative team:

Lorraine Murphy, Chief People Officer, National Australia Bank says bringing your whole self to work is about being authentic: “Having a ‘work persona’ that doesn’t reflect the real you doesn’t work. Most people can see straight through that in a second.”

Lawrence Leung, comedian, screenwriter and speaker argues there are benefits to bringing your whole self to work: “Studies suggest that showing your true self at work correlates with successful outcomes, so I intend to bring my ‘whole self’ to the Affirmative team.”

Karen Mundine, Chief Executive Officer, Reconciliation Australia agrees: “I’m looking forward to making the case for the Affirmative. When people are working in ways that align with their authentic selves, organisations thrive.”

In contrast, on the Negative team:

Effie Stephanides, cultural icon (AKA Mary Coustas) believes some people should definitely not bring their whole self to work: “The world would be a better place if Kayne West, Harvey Weinstein and Donald Trump brought only 5% of who they were to work...and seriously that would still be too much.”

Alan Kirkland, CEO, CHOICE says some workplaces don’t enable people to be themselves:  “Until diversity and inclusion are universally embraced, workers deserve the right to choose what aspects of their identity or private life they display at work!”

Jack Heath, Chief Executive Officer, SANE Australia says this is especially the case for those who experience mental health issues: “Stigma, outdated ideas and misinformation about mental illness plays a huge part in why people do not disclose their diagnosis within the workplace like what they would a physical ailment.”

For full details of the event, visit Panellists are available for interview. The debate results will be available after the event.

Download the media release.

This event is proudly brought to you by major sponsor National Australia Bank, supporting sponsors Optus and Accenture and associate sponsors Bloomberg and Hall & Wilcox.

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