Hi Amanda. Can you introduce yourself and how your passion for diversity and inclusion came to be?
My name is Amanda Revis and I am the Chief People Experience Officer of the Suncorp Group. I lead the People Experience function with accountability for Suncorp’s Human Resources, Real Estate, and our Partnering and Robotics strategy and governance.
I have worked in a number of industries in many countries and cultures, and I have seen how great environments benefit businesses and people. I truly believe that people and culture are the differentiator for organisations and know that diverse and inclusive cultures are more innovative, productive, and much more interesting and fun to be a part of. So, I absolutely see myself as an advocate for diversity and inclusion, and am extremely passionate about creating cultures and environments where everyone can be themselves and feel valued, involved and respected for their perspectives and contribution.
What do members need to know about D&I in 2019 and beyond?
Building a diverse and inclusive culture means more than achieving gender balance or recognising different identities. It’s about making everyone feel welcome, valued, and able to be themselves, regardless of race, religion, background, culture, age, gender, sexual orientation, or personality type.
I think we are seeing an increasing need to encourage and empower everyone to own the diversity and inclusion agenda. We need to ensure that employees – and businesses – have the capacity and bandwidth to champion and support diversity and inclusion initiatives. Within Suncorp, we have a groundswell of passion for Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), which are networks created by our people, for our people. They foster a diverse and inclusive workplace by serving as a resource for employees to come together around a common purpose, interest or background. I think forums of this kind will go a long way to building better cultures.
I also believe that to truly create diverse and inclusive workplaces, we need to invest in enhancing leadership capability to lead diverse teams. We need to ensure that leaders are supported and have the tools, knowledge and emotional intelligence to lead a range of people including people with a disability, Indigenous employees, culturally and linguistically diverse employees, millennials and mature age, and LGBTIQ+ employees.
What have you learned in your time at DCA that others in the D&I space would benefit from knowing?
Diversity and inclusion was one of the highest rating dimensions in Suncorp’s engagement survey last year, proving that employees are positive about the environment we have created.
Providing our people with flexible working options also plays a massive part in creating a diverse, inclusive and trusting culture. At Suncorp, 84% of our workforce take advantage of flexible working arrangements. We know that flexibility is key to creating an inclusive workforce where people can bring their whole selves to work, and that it allows our employees to manage their personal circumstances with business obligations. It also equips us to be responsive to the changing needs of our customers.
Since being on the DCA Board I have developed a deeper appreciation and understanding of the amazing expertise and capability within the DCA team. The work they do and the support they provide to DCA members is internationally leading and making a real difference to Australian businesses.
Name three stubborn areas of inclusion that we need to work more on.
Businesses can struggle to strike the right balance between resourcing and funding of D&I initiatives relative to other commitments regardless of the knowledge that a diverse and inclusive culture will generate better business results. With increased regulation and competition across many sectors, organisations need to be committed to investing in their people and culture, in the knowledge that it is those elements that create their point of difference.
While gender balance has been a focus for some time, I am not sure that gender equality has been as well understood, probably because it runs much deeper than reaching a desired representation. I am committed to achieving further progress in gender equality, by constantly reviewing and improving our policies, practices, offerings (like Domestic and Family Violence Leave) and guidelines to ensure that Suncorp remains a leading gender employer of choice. Of course, it is still critical to maintain and improve gender balance – at Suncorp we have achieved gender balance across our total leader population and our Board, and plan to continue to exceed our senior leader targets by strengthening our pipeline of talented female and male employees.
More focus needs to be placed on lifting the representation in the workforce of mature age employees, people with disability, and Indigenous people in line with Australian and New Zealand populations. We know we will be our best when our workforce is as diverse, talented and passionate as the communities in which we live and operate. Apart from all the value that these people bring to workplace culture, a very real issue for employers is the changing shape of the employed workforce in Australian and New Zealand. Attracting and retaining people with different backgrounds, experience and capabilities, especially mature age employees, will not only be critical to maintain diverse workplaces, but a significant competitive marketplace advantage. Having an inclusive culture and diverse workforce promotes greater innovation and better responsiveness to customer needs.
The challenge for all businesses is to adapt to changing workforces, ways of working, societal shifts and technology, while maintaining a focus on diversity of employees.
What can our members expect from you in the coming years and months?
I am passionate about building amazing work environments, where people love to come to work because of the interesting work they do, the talented and caring people they work with, and the supportive, energising culture they are part of. Increasing diversity and inclusion is core to creating this experience.
My priority for the future is to continue to take a strategic, integrated and also practical approach to creating more inclusive workplaces. I want to see Suncorp leading the way on flexibility and gender equality, inclusion, cultural diversity and a diverse aged workforce.
I’d like to continue to attract the most talented people to our organisation and raise the bar on building culturally diverse leadership teams, and at the same time ensure our workspaces and work offerings are accessible for everyone. And finally, I’ll be ensuring that flexible working becomes the norm. We know that it is good for employees and good for business – and it is certainly good for inclusion.