Over the past six years the project has been driven by a collective of women in the Australian region who felt we needed to support our female employees better in the workplace. Originally it was launched by a director named Natalie Khoury who was one of two women on the leadership team and felt that we needed to nurture, develop and grow our future women leaders today. Working with our HR lead, Julie Kirk, the initiative was launched to life creating a forum to support female needs in business and has progressed to focus in Women In Experian and diversity overall in A/NZ.
We launched the Ambitious Experian Women (AEW) forum as an opportunity for all the women in our business to meet once a month focusing on different areas of skills development. This was successful focusing on networking, career development and expanded further base don the needs we received insights to covering more well being elements like eating habits, self-defence and a range of other topics across physical, mental and environment ...but something was missing. Building on our local success, Experian has launched a global focus through Joy Griffiths, who is a female on our Board. Joy found it concerning that when she looked at the succession plan below her, it wasn’t showing a strong pipeline of ambitious women. After conducting research and seeing some hard facts about the situation, a global committee formed with representatives from every region with a five year goal to change the profile of diversity in our business.
Initially we conducted a survey of all our people with the aim of including everyone in understanding and raising awareness. The response and feedback was overwhelming and so insightful with verbatim. We got to hear from everyone about their perspective, concerns, ideas and how we could move forward. Data is great, but to give the data some life and ensure it was not open to interpretation, we underpinned the survey with 'all hands' workshops in each office that anyone could attend and participate in an open discussion. This was a great opportunity to hear it straight from our people some examples of what works and where we can improve and gave the opportunity for champions to step up to be more associated with the changes we take.
We’re committed to inspiring and supporting women to grow their careers, to build a culture which provides coaching, mentoring & other support for women to navigate through to the top so we are known as a great place to work. To achieve this, we identified four key areas and themes to focus on:
• Communication – visibility, success stories and exposure of females/other experiences
• parental support for all genders in our business
• environment focus that enables women to thrive – policies, facilities and role models
• training and development to raise awareness and up skill everyone
There have been a number of activities aligned to achieving our outcomes. As a snap shot:
We have already enhanced our paid parental leave support.
We have taken action to close the gap on pay opportunities.
We have adjusted how we advertise our roles using more diversity positive language to encourage a broader application of people.
We have started a different conversation and raised awareness with everyone in Experian A/NZ so people can call out anything they see, positive and constructive, to continue ownership across everyone for inclusion.
We have more visibility and tracking on our progress locally and globally in line with our goals to keep on track and course correct as needed.
We have a local female MD in Suzanne as a key role model and who has stepped up to be our Apac ambassador for Women In Experian as part of the global committee.
*We started with 10-15 people attending AEW in each location which consistently grew. With the recent all hands workshops we had over 1/4 of our A/NZ population attend supporting accelerated female and diversity development to increase representation at mid and senior levels which we continue to drive/communicate our progress around.
There was resistance initially as women felt they were being asked questions about why they were going to specific women events and developments sessions by colleagues who lacked some awareness of the value of the program. We needed to change the conversation and make it about diversity and involve everyone which we now have implemented leading to male champions getting involved as advocates, mentors etc.