Culture and ethnicity
Culture is what shapes us. It shapes our identity and influences our behaviour.
Culture is our “way of being,” and more specifically, it refers to the shared language, beliefs, values, norms, and behaviours that are passed down from one generation to the next.
According to the Diversity Council of Australia, cultural diversity means having a mix of people from different cultural backgrounds – it can include differences in cultural and ethnic identity (how we identify ourselves and how others identify us), language, country of birth, religion, heritage or ancestry, national origin, and race.
McKinsey’s Delivering through Diversity report found that cultural and ethnic diversity was correlated with profitability.
At Investa, we are immensely proud of the fact that the ethnic and cultural diversity of our people reflects that of the communities we serve. Almost half of our staff have one or more parents who were born overseas.
We regularly celebrate our rich cultural diversity by acknowledging dates of cultural significance at our monthly CEO town halls and our Harmony Week cultural feast, where staff bring plates of food from their cultural background to share with their colleagues.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians
2020 and the Black Lives Matter movement has further elevated the issues around injustice and inequality experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia.
Corporate Australia has been on a journey to reconciliation for some time. Landmark research
undertaken by the Diversity Council of Australia, has highlighted the need for employers to develop genuine relationships with Aboriginal people, communities and organisations to better understand the social and economic challenges experienced by Indigenous people and to partner to implement strategies to address them.
Investa is firmly committed to promoting positive change for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. We have an important role to play in closing the economic, education and employment gap that exists between Australia’s First Nations people and the wider Australian community.
Investa’s inaugural Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) marks the first steps on this journey. In line with its aspirations to engage and support a culturally diverse workforce, Investa hopes these actions will create a more inclusive environment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians to join our team.
Investa CEO Jonathan Callaghan says the completion of a RAP is just the first step in Investa’s commitment to reconciliation.
“We know that change starts from within, and to that end our Reflect RAP will focus on our greatest asset, our people.
“Our goal is to ensure that our staff, our tenants, our investors and our broader community of stakeholders are educated and respect our First Peoples’ rich history, cultures and achievements.
“We are confident that over time this will lead to a step change in the relationships and partnerships that Investa enjoys with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians,” Mr Callaghan says.
Age diversity means creating a workforce with a cross-section of people of different ages. Due to an ageing population and increasing life expectancy, there older Australians are remaining in the workforce for longer. There is considerable evidence to support the business case for age diverse workplaces and for the inclusion of mature workers.
In a tight labour market, research
suggests older Australians represent a key (and growing) group of potential workers who can respond to the projected labour market shortage. Ernst & Young
found that workers aged 45-64 had the highest profile of productivity. Retaining older workers can ensure key skills and knowledge are not lost and that the organisation can continue to tap into a wealth of accumulated experience.
Age inclusive teams and organisations perform better than their less age diverse counterparts, particularly when facing complex decision-making tasks.
According to the Diversity Council of Australia
, gender diversity in the workplace delivers measurable and well documented benefits: improved financial performance, market share, retention, innovation, safety, group performance, access to talent, and productivity, as well as reduced turnover, meeting regulatory reporting requirements and minimising legal risks.
Despite the compelling business case for gender-balanced organisations, women account for just 21 per cent of executives in Australian companies. The United States and United Kingdom have even further to go, with 19 and 15 per cent respectively.
The same holds true for board positions, with Australian companies at 30 per cent, US companies at 26 per cent, and UK companies at 22 per cent.
Investa is proud to be one of only 119 organisations across Australia to be recognised by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) as an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality for 2019/20.
Investa was assessed across a range of criteria including practices in leadership, learning and development, remuneration, flexible working, support for carers and parents, employee consultation, harassment and discrimination. Our influence on driving gender equality across the property sector was also considered
Amy Wild, Group Executive People & Culture, says the WGEA certification confirms Investa’s ambitious five-year strategy is delivering dividends.
“The WGEA certification provides further assurance to staff, customers, investors and other stakeholders that Investa is truly committed to achieving gender equality in Australian workplaces,” Wild explains.
“But the WGEA acknowledgement is just the first step for us. At Investa, we know that providing a work environment where all of our people feel safe, respected and included leads to happier and more productive people. Happy people impact our bottom line. It’s a no-brainer.”
Ms Wild says Investa’s current priorities include “improving access to and uptake of parental leave, carer’s leave and flexible working arrangements by our male team members, striving for better gender balance in both male and female dominated departments and improving our support options for carers of elderly or disabled relatives”.
Investa’s flexible working policy includes 21 different flexible working options, Ms Wild adds.
“Our people come from a diverse range of backgrounds and each of us has different priorities and needs outside of work. We’ve worked hard to ensure that anyone at Investa can work flexibly, for any reason, with a range of flexible options designed to appeal to a wide variety of interests and needs.
“Whether it’s starting work later so they can enjoy an early morning surf or supporting our millennials keen to explore Australia by taking a gap year, we’re committed to making it work.
“Working parents also have the opportunity to purchase additional annual leave to help manage childcare responsibilities over the school holidays.”
People with physical and intellectual disabilities have a lot to offer the workplace, and creating inclusive environments where they can contribute productively and meaningfully makes sense both economically and socially.
The Diversity Council of Australia argues that organisations with access to the broadest possible talent pool benefit from a diverse range of skills, abilities and valuable new perspectives.
Supporting employees with a disability can strengthen engagement and productivity by demonstrating a genuine commitment to the welfare of people and to diversity and inclusion more broadly.
Investa is a proud Job Support
partner and employs people with intellectual disability in our Sydney headquarters who are among our most loyal, productive and positive team members and passionate advocates for the Investa brand and culture.
LGBTIQ+ and gender identity
In Australia, the Sex Discrimination Act 1984
(SDA) makes it unlawful to treat people less favourably than another person in a similar situation because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status.
Sexual orientation discrimination happens when a person is treated less favourably than another person in a similar situation because that person has a sexual orientation towards:
- persons of the same sex
- persons of a different sex
- persons of the same sex and persons of a different sex.
Same-sex couples are also protected from discrimination under the definition of ‘marital or relationship status’ in the SDA.
Gender identity discrimination happens when a person is treated less favourably than another person in a similar situation because of that person’s gender-related identity, appearance, mannerisms or other gender-related characteristics. It does not matter what sex a person was assigned at birth or whether the person has undergone any medical intervention.
The SDA also includes protection against discrimination on the basis of sex, pregnancy, breastfeeding, marital status and family responsibilities, as well as protection from sexual harassment.
The SDA makes it unlawful to discriminate when advertising jobs, during recruitment and selection processes, when making decisions about training, transfer and promotion opportunities, and in the terms, conditions and termination of employment.
The Diversity Council of Australia
has found that LGBTIQ+ people in highly inclusive workplace cultures were three times as likely as workers in non-inclusive cultures to be out to everyone at work. In fact, 37 per cent of workers in highly inclusive cultures were out to everyone compared to only 12 per cent of workers in non-inclusive cultures.
An LGBTIQ+ inclusive culture was a greater influencing factor than whether an organisation was highly active in the LGBTIQ+ arena or had implemented LGBTIQ+ initiatives like an allies network or resource group.
Bold leadership was the next most important factor for LGBTIQ+ inclusion, according to the Diversity Council of Australia’s research. For example:
- 41% of workers with visible LGBTIQ+ leader were out to everyone, compared to 24% of workers in organisations with none
- 38% of workers with supportive leaders were out to everyone, compared to 25% of workers in organisations with none.
Why does this matter? Consider the amount of energy and mental attention an employee who is not out at work would have to devote to ‘covering’ every day in the workplace. Creating an inclusive and psychologically safe work environment where LGBTQ+ people feel safe to bring their whole selves to work both increases the talent pool available to a business, but also the individual productivity of LGBTQ+ staff.
Investa has an active LGBTQ+ diversity committee that drives an educational program of events designed to inform employees about issues relevant to LGBTIQ+ inclusion at work and challenges in society more broadly. These events are fun and always attended by executive-level allies in a strong show of support and encouragement.