Telstra's Nicole McKechnie explores the role diversity and inclusion plays in creating a brilliant connected future for everyone.
The words diversity and inclusion are often coupled together, but what does it mean to actually be inclusive, particularly from a business communications perspective?
At Telstra, we have a global footprint and a workforce that represents all corners of the world – our people speak more than 70 different languages, they come from almost 140 different countries of birth, they represent more than 25 different religions and faiths, and are aged from 18 to 79 years old. So, why not let our people tell the story? After all, at its core, Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) is about people, and, like it or not, it’s personal.
The changes to the communications landscape have opened up doors in this space. Let’s take blogs for example. They provide an ideal platform for engaging content about a person’s individual experience that helps brings business objectives to life in a real and substantial way. They also:
- provide an opportunity to deliver an unfiltered view on issues
- allow a brand to humanise itself through casual conversations
- create an opportunity to showcase products, services and knowledge
- have great SEO benefit for your other websites
- reinforce social media channels by providing useful content in a similar tone.
Diversity includes differences of background and life experience, communication styles, interpersonal skills, education, functional expertise and problem solving skills. It also includes differences in gender, age, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation and cultural background, so there’s a whole host of potential content out there to draw on.
Our programs target inclusion for all at Telstra, with some specific focus also on gender equality, Indigenous Australians, other culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) employees, people with disability and their carers, and gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex (GLBTI) employees.
We regularly share personal stories on our Telstra Exchange and Telstra Careers blogs that align to a variety of D&I themes, such as MidSumma Festival (GLBTI), Being a White Ribbon Ambassador (violence against women), disability and Indigenous employment.
While traffic is less than typical careers related content, we’ve found D&I content performs very well when amplified in social media, with average engagement on Facebook more than five percent above our average, for example.
And, of course, it’s not just blogs and social media that we use to enhance our D&I initiatives. We use a range of rich media and photography for our people stories that shine a spotlight on everything from gender equity to our groundbreaking All Roles Flex initiative, where flexibility applies to every kind of role – a first for a large corporate in Australia.
This online approach lets us broaden our reach to both a passive and active audience and it encourages two-way conversations with those considering a career at Telstra, through experience, engagement and education. Our communities are more engaged than ever before, they share their stories and employment journey with us, and mirror the passion they see in our people.
Making it personal has had a fundamental shift not just in how Telstra communicates but how Telstra operates and what it stands for. Our purpose is to create a brilliant connected future for everyone. And we mean everyone.
From an employee perspective, it’s our people’s experiences – shared through their eyes – which enable us to showcase in an authentic and credible way why Telstra is a great place to work. Yes, we still have a way to go in some areas of D&I, in particular, true gender balance in the workforce, but we’re open about that and we’re working on it.
We know that leading people, businesses and society into a connected future starts with having the best team on board to help us do it. And that has to include diversity and inclusion. It enables us to foster greater innovation, stronger problem solving capability, greater customer connection, and increased morale, motivation and engagement. What’s not to like about that?
Nicole McKechnie is Director, External Communications at Telstra.