How we celebrate diversity and practiced inclusion

23 November 2021

At Life Without Barriers, we celebrate diversity, and we practice inclusion. We want our employees to be accepted and welcomed for the difference and diversity they bring.

In order from left: Phil Beckett, Neen Chapman, Ashleigh Sternes, Leanne Budd, Kieran Sneddon, Fiona Davies, Katherine McLeod and Darryl Monaghan attend the Pride in Diversity Australian LGBTQ Inclusion Awards in Sydney.

At Life Without Barriers, we celebrate diversity, and we practice inclusion. We want our employees to be accepted and welcomed for the difference and diversity they bring. This means providing a safe and supportive workplace for everyone inclusive of culture, ethnicity, faith, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, intersex status, and relationship status. We want our employees to feel valued, respected, and connected.

Life Without Barriers continues to work toward an inclusive and accessible workplace. Let’s take a look at some of our achievements over the last year.

Our employee networks

Pride Without Barriers

In February 2021 we launched our second employee network, Pride Without Barriers. Pride Without Barriers serves as a network and resource for LGBTQIA+ employees and their allies. In April 2021 we elected our first committee, led by Phil Beckett and Neen Chapman, and sponsored by Executive Director Group Risk, Performance and Impact, Mary McKinnon.

“It is my hope that the Pride Without Barriers network will smooth the path for members of the Life Without Barriers community who feel unsure about bringing their whole selves to work and acts as a beacon of true inclusion for LGBTQIA+ people.” Mary McKinnon.

Disability Ability Wellness Network (DAWN)

DAWN serves as a network and resource for employees with disability and their allies. In March 2021 we elected our second committee, led by Emily Reaper and Casey Gray, and sponsored by Executive Lead Disability Engagement, Chris Chippendale.

“Seeing DAWN grow as a space where employees with disability and their allies come together has been fantastic to see. Facilitating our ‘You Can’t Ask That’ style event for International Day of People with Disability last year gave us the opportunity to tell our stories and educate others on how to better support employees with a disability.” Emily Reaper, Senior Project Officer and DAWN Committee Chair.

Measuring our progress

Australian Workplace Equality Index

Life Without Barriers celebrated our Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI) results by attending the Australian LGBTQ Inclusion Awards on 28 May in Sydney. Life Without Barriers has participated in the AWEI for the past four years. Our score has increased each year from 18/200 in 2018, 54/200 in 2019, 74/200 in 2020, to 102/200 in 2021. This year we achieved Bronze Employer Recognition for the first time.

Diversity Data

In February 2021 we updated the way we collect employee diversity data to reflect best practice standards for the collection of diversity data in the workplace. These changes provide us with a richer insight into the diversity of our employees and ensure we can use the data most effectively.

Changing the way we do things

Inclusive Language Guide

In January 2021, we released an Inclusive Language Guide to promote the use of inclusive language across Life Without Barriers. We want the way we communicate with each other, and as an organisation, to be respectful and inclusive. The guide is complemented by a suite of Inclusive Language Intranet pages.

Email Signatures

In February 2021 we updated the Life Without Barriers email signatures to give employees the option to share their personal pronouns. We know that visible signs of inclusion act as positive cues, signalling a safe and inclusive workplace.

Accessibility Hub

In June 2021 we redesigned our Intranet Accessibility Hub. It’s our one-stop-virtual-shop for all things accessibility for employees including workplace adjustments, accessible content creation, event and meeting accessibility, and accessibility apps and tools.

Fostering inclusion through events

Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Week

In February 2021 we celebrated our annual D&I Week with the theme ‘I Belong’. We explored what it means to belong through a series of virtual events. We also invited employees to share their diversity information and workplace inclusion experiences with us through our first D&I Survey.

“Diversity is a fact, inclusion is a choice, and belonging is a feeling. We all have a responsibility to contribute to a respectful, person-centred organisational culture. The ability to empathise with the experiences of others, when you can’t always see or experience them yourself, is the key to creating change.” Ashleigh Sternes, Diversity and Inclusion Lead.

IDAHOBIT

In May 2021 we celebrated International Day Against LGBTQIA+ Discrimination (IDAHOBIT). We released a collection of pride-themed virtual backgrounds in the colours of the pride, trans, bisexual, and intersex pride flags.

International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD)

To celebrate International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD) 2020, DAWN hosted a virtual event in the style of 'You Can't Ask That'. Members of the network shared their personal stories to tackle the myths and difficult questions people with disability face all too often.

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