In conversation with Andrea Grant, HRD Telstra - A focus on Diversity


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A insightful paper into diversity from one of Australia's leading lights.

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In conversation with Andrea Grant, HRD Telstra - A focus on Diversity

  1. 1. In Conversation With Andrea Grant Group Managing Director, Human Resources Telstra Corporation“Next Generation Gender Diversity: accelerating change for women.” May 2010
  2. 2. Setting the sceneHalf of the talented employees today are women: 60% of university graduates in Europe andNorth America are now women. Since 2007, 51% of managers and professional staff in theUS are women. In the market: Women make 80% of consumer goods purchasing decisionsin the US. They earn 40% of the world‟s GDP.A McKinsey study shows that Fortune 500 companies with the highest proportion of femaledirectors are more profitable and efficient than those with the lowest.A sole woman on a board often feels marginalised, according to a research report of HBR.The appointment of a second woman can help reduce this isolation but can also createdifficulties. A “Clear Shift” occurs when there are three or more women. It is then that thewoman is seen as a director rather than a „female‟ director. The boardroom dynamicsbecome more collaborative and the discussions richer and more informative.In Australia, women currently make up 45.4% of the workforce11 and: 2% of Chairs in the ASX200 are women 8.3% of Board Directors in ASX200 are women 10.7% of Executive Managers in the ASX are women 33.5% of managers in organisations reporting to EOWA are women 47.8% of managers in EOWA Employer of Choice for Women organisations are women“At the executive manager level, women are being funnelled into support roles and remainunderrepresented in key leadership positions. Women hold only 7% of key managementpersonnel positions, and are more likely to hold positions that have a low likelihood of beingkey management personnel such as human resources and public affairs.22”The scenarios that these statistics presented were robustly discussed at the recentRobertson Executive Search hosted Diversity luncheon in Melbourne. We at RobertsonExecutive Search have been engaged by various organisations, locally and internationally, toparticularly assist in identifying key female talent to meet diversity targets. Our observation isthat certain organisations, notably Woolworths, Telstra and Nokia, are increasingly requiringfemale talent specifically from search organisations.Robertson Executive Search has been approached from organisations within the ASX Top100 with clear instructions to ensure that there are women on the shortlist for all assignmentswe undertake for them. This is across areas such as finance, engineering, sales, marketing,information technology and risk. We have credibly assisted organisations such as Telstra inproviding access to talent that is not easily sourced and requires utilisation of our superiorsearch capabilities and deep networks locally and internationally.Though these specific assignments have been the immediate goal, organisations areincreasingly seeing the business need for gender parity for improved decision making inmost strategic and operations areas. Business plans now increasingly reflect thisrequirement.1 EOWA2 Human Rights CommissionAndrea Grant, Telstra Corporation May 2010
  3. 3. CASE STUDY: TELSTRA CORPORATION“Australia is one of the worst countries in terms of gender diversity amongst OECDcountries, but we are starting to gain traction. Only 56% of the female talent pool iscurrently working, and organisations are not doing enough to attract the rest.” AndreaGrant, Group Managing Director, Human Resources, Telstra Corporation.Telstra is arguably one of Australia‟s major employers with annual revenues exceedingA$24B and a total workforce of 46,000. It has had a long history of good intentions indiversity but no change; and the employee base did not reflect the diversity in thecustomer base. Women‟s representation was stuck at 31% for 18 years and there was a17% pay equity gap. The Australian „blokey‟ culture was alive and well inside thecompany!Telstra‟s practice is mirrored in the statistics provided by EOWA. It recently reported thefollowing statistics on diversity:The gender pay gapOn average, women working full time earn 17.5% less thanmen working full time. Female graduates on entering the workforce earn $3,000 p.a lessthan male graduates. Women executive managers in the ASX200 earn an average of28.3% less than their male peers“In 2009, only 42% of reporting organisations said that they conducted an annual genderpay equity analysis, while 37% believed a gender pay gap exists in their organisation.”Lack of Women in leadership rolesAndrea commented that, “Many frustrated Heads of HR are having this problem. It is alonger term issue due to demographics and female participation. Now that thedemographics are biting and the financial crisis is lifting, we are able to get more tractionon the issue.”Telstra has taken a holistic approach to diversity by initially establishing a DiversityCouncil, chaired by the CEO. The Council covers the following areas:- Gender- Work life flexibility- Indigenous- Sexual orientation- DisabilityThe organisation has taken an integrated approach to drive the right kinds of policiesand behaviours Results & Impact Connection & Participation •increase representation • grow women’s networks • build the pipeline • link with CSR • address pay equity • partner with external orgs Customer & Community Development & Leadership • celebrate women leaders in • develop men and women Australian business leadersAndrea Grant, Telstra Corporation May 2010
  4. 4. This approach has yielded significant success for Telstra garnering them not only theCatalyst “Changing Workplaces. Changing Lives” award on an international stage butalso improved the performance in gender representation, closed the pay equity gap by3% and built a talent pipeline of women.Other issues tabled and discussed were:Genetics The way that females and males communicate differently, i.e. females emote more and network less – that was something many hadn‟t thought about before. Female competition.The Female Economy It‟s the biggest economy in the world – women‟s purchasing power in relation to holidays, homes, cars etc is greater than that of males.Historical Context Older „dinosaurs‟ running organisations while Generation X are moving up and Generation Y have watched both parents work and face retrenchment at different times. Most male senior executive staff have stay at home wives.Domain realities Many organisations eg: mining, engineering, construction, aren‟t really female friendly. It‟s important not to sideline males too much when talking about diversity Cultural diversity is still an issue i.e. more difficult for non-Caucasian to progress in many Australian companies.Generational Shift Managing the generational change and sensitised generational differences will be/is a challenge. Younger people can‟t comprehend being discriminated against. Generation Y females don‟t think it‟s an issue because they don‟t see it and don‟t see the sense of urgency.The Board/ Executive The “Old Boys” network as well as the “Old Girls” network especially at Board levels still dominates the market place.Summary of discussion:Though this forum initially was all about sharing key learnings and experiences, from some ofthe best industry performers, given the talent and expertise at the table, there wereinteresting ideas and suggestions offered as to how organisations could improve theirperformance in diversity. By no means are these a panacea, however, we do believe that theideas tabled were great thought starters and could provide a framework for others on asimilar journey. As we know flexible workplaces are the highest rated driver amongst women,and a way to encourage diversity.Andrea Grant, Telstra Corporation May 2010
  5. 5. Some of the ideas were: Identify a handful of senior men, give them the data and let them „solve the problem‟, to champion the problem, if women are not being heard. Work on two performance metrics, one for performance/achievement and one for behaviour. Get beyond diversity being a KPI. The CEO needs to mandate it and succession pipelines need to be researched. Set targets, educate men in operational areas and find champions If you have selection criteria and can‟t find females with the right criteria, you can combat the issue by enlisting HR. Provide research to leaders showing that years of experience doesn‟t equal success; they might not realise that their bias creates issues; research candidate slates and succession pipelines; research the percentage of women applying and percentage of successful female applicants. Be courageous, persistent and show some attitude where it is warranted.Summary of findings/outputs:The Telstra case study demonstrates how a traditional engineering based workplace can,given positive intent, CEO support and an articulated strategy, transform to embrace genderdiversity, and capitalise on talent that benefits the balance sheet.For example, Telstra has taken this journey with Robertson Executive Search across theirfinance community and now have hired a female CFO in both their Media business unit andtheir New Zealand based Telstra Clear business operations.Successful strategic partnering in the area of gender diversity, utilising executive searchfirms such as Robertson Executive Search or special interest groups like FITT (Females inIT&T or Executive Women‟s Business) will provide you with the transparency that the marketrequires and enable you to attract female talent that is not necessarily easy to locate.Andrea Grant, Telstra Corporation May 2010
  6. 6. Attendees: AIM Susan Heron Chief Executive Officer Amcor Maria Galati GM Talent and Leadership ANZ Vivienne Nguyen Group Head of People & Diversity NAB David Bannatyne Chief Risk Officer NAB Oshana De Silva Head of Risk, CSA, GBS, P&C Origin Energy Lisa Burquest GM, Resourcing Robertson Search Peter Goddard Managing Partner Robertson Search Denise Goldstein Partner Robertson Search Paul Rush Partner Telstra Andrea Grant Group MD, Human Resources UXC Bus Solutions Karen Hayes Dir, Corp Engagement & Human Group Capital Visy Phillip Irvine Human Resources Director Andrea Grant, Telstra Corporation May 2010