ASX setting "targets with teeth"

Each year the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA)  recognises employer commitment and best practice in promoting gender equality in Australian workplaces.

The WGEA Employer of Choice for Gender Equality (EOCGE) citation is designed to encourage, recognise and promote active commitment to achieving gender equality in Australian workplaces.

This year, one of the organisations successful in achieving the WGEA citation was the ASX. Canstar caught up with Lisa Green, ASX’s Group Executive Human Resources, to find out more about ASX’s equality initiatives.

 Q: What are some of the ways in which the ASX works to promote gender equality in the workplace?

A: We have focused on three main areas to achieve gender equality outcomes at ASX.

Firstly, we implemented ‘targets with teeth’. The targets were a real stretch – 40% female representation at every level of management over the next three years. We then tied them to financial incentives and included them in our performance dashboard. The targets have helped us achieve a material improvement in gender diversity at all levels of the company. As our CEO and member of the Male Champions of Change, Elmer Funke Kupper says, ‘we now risk meeting our targets, if not this year, then next year’.

Secondly, ASX introduced ‘all roles flex’. In one step we removed all assumptions about what is possible. We simply said everything is possible. The key was removing the burden of proof from the employee and the lengthy application process that too often positioned flexibility as a special requirement versus a normal business practice. We’ve made it normal.

Thirdly, we insist on a balanced short list for all management appointments. This forced us to look at 100% of the available talent pool and, as a result, find and hire talented women. More than half of our senior recruits and appointments this year have been female.

Q: Retaining loyal and committed staff is a goal for any business – do your equality initiatives pay dividends in this regard?

A: Absolutely. We have seen a 20% increase in our employee engagement levels and, specifically, an increase in female engagement and alignment.

Q: Are there any other workplace changes you would like to see going forward?

A: We are striving for irreversible change at ASX. We will continue to focus on gender equality by keeping gender equality on the agenda and reporting our progress.  We are working to eliminate all gender bias and have put in place a targeted selection program to increase female representation in areas where female candidate pools are typically lower.

You can find out more about the WGEA Employer of Choice for Gender Equality here.

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