Normalising flexibility is crucial to achieving diversity and inclusion
We had the pleasure of meeting Kiah Grafton, Chief People Officer at IMDEX, to chat about the important work she is leading, how we can challenge the bias to achieve diversity and inclusion, and the importance of normalising flexibility.
Kiah provides strategic expertise across all aspects of HR, including talent acquisition, employee relations, sustainability, organisational capability, and development.
What does diversity and inclusion mean to you?
Diversity to me is about acknowledging individual differences, including gender, age, and cultural backgrounds, and embracing the unique blend of knowledge, skills, and perspectives that comes from this diversity. Having inclusion ensures our teams have psychological safety and trust. It is about removing barriers to allow all employees to fully participate and have equal access to opportunities.
Our approach to diversity and inclusion at IMDEX is simple – we want everyone to feel welcome, heard and valued as a unique contributor, and to achieve success in what they do in an environment that values different perspectives and collaboration.
How do we challenge the bias and ensure everyone feels like they belong and are welcome?
We encourage all our employees to challenge their own unconscious bias in all their interactions with others. We want all our people to feel a sense of community at IMDEX, feel valued for their contributions, and respected for who they are as an individual.
Our team members are encouraged to create opportunities through connections with others - both within their team and across our regional team, and share expertise that leverages the strengths of our global and diverse workforce. These connections foster a sense of belonging.
We measure all these areas in our Gallup Employee Engagement surveys that we facilitate as an organisation every second year. It is only through measurement and deliberate action plans that we can shift the employee experience and ultimately our culture.
Can you give an example of your own challenges faced in the industry and how you personally overcame them?
I have found promotional opportunities and unconscious bias more challenging as a senior female leader, particularly after returning from a period of parental leave.
There is unconscious bias in the industry around women with family responsibilities and their contribution in the workplace. Furthermore, there are fewer roles offered at a senior level that are part-time or job share which leads to higher dropout rates in the workforce of highly qualified women between the ages of 35-44. This impacts talent pipelines and society as a whole.
It is hard to be what you cannot see, and because there are so few women at the top, people don't see it as a probability. We need to sponsor and mentor more women and address these deep systemic issues that we are all conditioned to. If we are going to make serious inroads into increasing women in leadership in STEM, then flexibility must be part of the deal. We should challenge ourselves to shift diversity from a community perspective.
Can you share some of IMDEX’s initiatives that champion diversity and inclusion?
We are always improving and embedding new Diversity and Inclusion strategies and have launched many programs and initiatives to date. To list a few:
- We launched our Parental leave and Domestic violence leave procedures to support with caring responsibilities to create a family-friendly workplace.
- We have closed the gender-pay gap through annual pay equity discussions and deliberate changes.
- We designed and implemented our IMDEX Flex procedure, which is our global approach to flexible work. This supports and creates an environment and workspace that ensures our people feel engaged and can perform at their best. IMDEX Flex is a cooperative arrangement between leaders and their team members that focuses on the 'what' and 'how' of what our employees do, not the 'where'.
- As part of our onboarding process, we ensure that all employees participate in Code of Conduct training which reinforces the importance of diversity and inclusion at IMDEX and how to demonstrate respectful behaviors at work.
- In 2022, we designed and launched our ‘Better Together’ training program which educates our teams on their own unconscious bias and how this affects their work, stimulates discussion on how we can increase diversity in our teams and how we can create a more inclusive environment for all team members.
- We have a special employee group called our GEDx – the Gender Equity and Diversity group that has been running for 4 years and is currently involved in arranging an International Women’s’ Day Event on 8 March.
- We selected our global Diversity and Inclusion council, and they held their first meeting on 24 February to define a plan of action for 2023.
IMDEX is a Series Partner for AusIMM's International Women's Day Event Series. For more inspiring stories like Kiah's, follow AusIMM on social media and the hashtag #CelebratingWomeninMining or catch up via our latest news!