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Aurecon wins Inclusion Award for culture

Aurecon has been awarded silver status at this year’s Australian LGBTQI+ Inclusion Awards – a direct reflection of the purposeful focus the organisation has taken towards nurturing a diverse and inclusive workplace culture.

Aurecon Chief Financial Officer Andrew Muller and Executive Sponsor for Diversity & Inclusion said the company has been working towards creating a whole-of-business focus on diversity and inclusion initiatives.

“The main commitment we have made is around supporting a workplace culture that is inclusive and diverse. We believe everybody is entitled to bring their authentic selves to their workplace,” he said.

“This is a journey we have been on for some time, but this year we have spent more time updating our policies and guidelines regarding the transgender community. We recognised that we needed a stronger focus in this area.”

Muller said Aurecon has been revising its people policies and guidelines to make sure they include the right terminology in order to support staff.

“We have updated and renamed our intimate partner, domestic and family violence policy. We’ve been working on ensuring we have inclusive guidelines in terms of the specific challenges that might be experienced by members of our staff and community,” he said.

“But we have also been working hard at driving awareness across our business wherever we can.

“Pride month is a great opportunity to raise awareness. We have also run a panel discussion to hear from our LGBTI+ colleagues, as well as other meetups and activities, to provide the opportunity for more open communication around diversity and inclusion issues.

“We want to take every opportunity to push awareness so that we can embed diversity and inclusion into the culture of our organisation.”

Aside from ensuring safe and inclusive workspaces, Muller said focusing on diversity and inclusion is also good for business.

“Having a diverse work environment absolutely leads to better outcomes for our clients. People are a massive part of our organisation. In many aspects of what we do, there is a pressure on procuring talent and we want to make sure that we attract and retain the best talent that we can,” he said.

“Tapping into a more diverse group of candidates makes sure that we are building a robust staff base. But it’s also about making sure that our workplace is geared towards getting the most out of our staff by ensuring they feel included and supported.”

In terms of helping the water sector to achieve better diversity outcomes within their businesses and communities, Aurecon Chemical and Process Engineer Shao Yap said Pride in Water offers an excellent platform for water businesses to start their diversity and inclusion journey.

Pride in Water is a network created for LGBTIQ+ people and allies that work in the water industry throughout Australia.

“My involvement with Pride in Water started last year in 2020. It’s an excellent initiative that helps lead individuals and organisations to more open conversations around diversity and inclusion,” Yap said.

“Pride in Water is about supporting the LGBTQI+ community within the water sector, but we also recognise the importance of LGBTQI+ allies. Having individuals and companies that identify as allies helps to normalise the LGBTQI+ presence within industry.”

Yap is also currently involved in leading a Pride in Water initiative called the Rainbow Profile.

“There are a lot of companies that release LGBTQI+ statements. The Rainbow Profile is about identifying key people that can help support companies and provide mentorship in their diversity and inclusion journey. We are trying to help make support in this area more accessible for individuals and organisations,” Yap said.

“It’s there to support companies who are starting out, it’s about supporting strong diversity and inclusion strategies within the water sector. If you are keen to do more in the diversity and inclusion space, it’s important to reach out to other people.

“Identifying the people who have experience in this area and reaching out to them for their opinions and advice is a great way to grow, or to keep up diversity and inclusion momentum within your organisation.”

Muller agrees, saying that Aurecon has been recognised for its diversity and inclusion success due to a willingness to seek support and insights from the broader community.

“We have learnt a lot by listening to other organisations. We are all facing similar challenges in terms of ensuring diversity and inclusion within our businesses. Don’t be afraid to seek input and support from other groups and companies,” he said.

And while seeking support is a good place to start, Muller said it is important for businesses to ensure that diversity and inclusion leadership is visible, both within the business and the broader community.

“Part of my role is about providing really visible leadership within this space, too. It’s all well and good to have a policy or a statement, but you’d be surprised how much of an impact you have to your company and community when you provide very visible leadership and support,” he said.

“This is about inviting conversation and showing very clearly that LGBTQI+ inclusion does matter. You don’t have to know all the answers. You just need to be open to having the conversation.

“But we are definitely not finished. It’d be great if our culture had developed to the point where we don’t have to push these initiatives. We will continue to work at it until diversity is at the foundation of how we work and what we are.”