Please indicate if your Initiative is an Established Initiative.
Team - who worked on the project/initaitve
Ros Harvey is The Yield's Founder and Managing Director, with whom the importance of diversity within the organisation was founded. A champion of equality, diversity and inclusion her whole working life at local, national and international levels, her career has been marked by a consistent theme of promoting women in STEM – and this has only continued with The Yield which she started in 2014.
Our diversity initiative "Diversity – We're Growing With It" was developed by and implemented on behalf of The Yield's leadership team, which includes Ros, Felicity Turner (Chief Customer Officer), Phillip Wingate (Company Secretary and Financial Controller), and Chris Mendes (Chief Technology Officer), in consultation with The Yield’s HR consultant. Having buy-in from The Yield’s Board of Directors for its diversity program was vital to its success, and the team has received the full backing and support from the Board, who understand the driving force behind the company.
Of course, The Yield’s diversity initiative could not exist without the entire team across our Sydney, Melbourne and Hobart offices. Each employee is passionate about diversity and actively seeks to not only support our diversity initiatives and goals but works toward constantly making them better.
Founder and Managing Director
Overview - Provide a summary to introduce the project or initiative
Since being the recipient of the 2016 Tech Diversity Award, The Yield has been expanding at a rapid rate, from 12 full time employees within its first year to currently 28 and growing. Our successful "Diversity – We Live It" program was our commitment to inclusion and diversity that is the fabric of the organisation.
However, the rate of our expansion meant our diversity policy needed to grow too, leading to its next evolution: "Diversity – We're Growing With It".
Diversity – We're Growing With It incorporates the now-global aspect of The Yield, our vision for the wider industry and environment, and enables us to scale with a growing team that can no longer be considered small!
The program speaks for itself, with more than 50% of our workforce being women, including within the leadership team, while we come from 13 different countries and speak 14 different languages.
At its heart, Diversity – We're Growing With It is about recognising that diversity isn't a 'nice to have' for us – it is and will always be an integral part of The Yield. It's the reason why we are successful; being both the cause and consequence of every other measurement of success for our business.
An overview of the new program is below.
Diversity – We're growing with it
The foundation: diversity is everything
We fundamentally understand that a diverse business is a better business, promoted through these four factors:
- Recruit Well
- Retain Well
- Work Well
- Give Well
How would you say diversity is embraced within your organisation or sector? Are there diversity initiatives in place or are diversity approaches new to your sector?
It's well-known that the technology industry, both in Australia and abroad, has had a poor record when it comes to diversity, with men outnumbering women two-to-one on average, and women filling only 14% of executive roles. This is a huge issue, potentially even more so than in any other industry, because of the significant problems that will arise if a very narrow group of people develop the technologies across all industries we will all be using in the future. This is a significant reason diversity is integral to everything we do at The Yield.
Diversity – We’re Growing With It is a program that outlines the way The Yield embraces diversity at every level, striving to avoid tokenism and genuinely championed by everyone in the business. It isn't just about gender either as we focus on representation in different cultures, religions, sexual orientations, ages and abilities, while placing particular importance on recognising intersectionality.
The foundation: diversity is everything
We fundamentally understand that a diverse business is a better business with a higher-quality workforce. We value diversity of thought, opinion and background. For us, diversity is the natural consequence of developing a culture and having policies in place that account for and respect people’s differences and needs.
This is how we do it.
1. Recruit Well
Diversity starts with the recruitment process and going out of our way to unearth talent who may not ordinarily be found.
• We ensure job descriptions are inclusive and gender-neutral to ensure everyone feels comfortable approaching us, and actively engage with candidates about our philosophy.
• We work with supplementary recruiting platforms like Work180 to target those wanting or needing a more inclusive or flexible workplace. Work 180 is an Australian-based international jobs network aimed at ending workplace discrimination. Each company advertising on Work180 is intensively pre-screened to see where they stand on pay equity, flexible working, paid parental leave, equal opportunities and a range of other criteria. We’re honoured to currently be on their ‘Best Employers’ page.
• We’re passionate about advancing women's representation in the STEM field, so we attend events like WomenHack to unearth talent amongst women for our product development tech roles.
• Our recruitment process overall is inherently focussed on emphasising diversity. Every selection panel includes at least one woman. We have a huge focus on the values of the applicant – not just their technical skills - and how they would fit into the culture and vision of our business to support our diversity.
2. Retain Well
In our highly competitive tech space, retaining great talent is about growing the right culture, the right leadership, rewarding those who do well and ensuring we accommodate all the needs of our diverse workforce.
• Our leadership team is heavily invested in the ongoing wellbeing of all our employees and ensure all our diverse voices are captured, heard and acted upon. We use a weekly survey through Officevibe to monitor their feelings and perspectives on everything from their satisfaction with their work to how they feel we communicate and deliver on our company values. Our MD personally answers every comment made and actions suggestions.
• We spend a lot of time checking in with our diversity statistics and the colleagues we manage, with team catch ups and regular one-on-ones, and are constantly striving to improve our internal communications channels and level of transparency.
• Our work culture is one that helps people with diverse backgrounds and needs thrive. It’s all about flexibility – we care about results, not when you come in and out of the office. Our paid parental leave policy goes above and beyond what is legally required, and our employees have the flexibility to work from home, which can accommodate doctor's appointments, religious observances or simply being parents! We support and encourage each other, learn from mistakes, aren’t afraid to speak up and have fun.
• We aim to reward people who do amazing work, so even though we’re still a relatively small company our employees know there is room to grow and move up, no matter their background or needs. Libby Graham is a wonderful example of this; she was the first person brought in to The Yield, initially as Ros’ executive assistant but as her capability and drive was clear, she expressed interest in becoming a Business Analyst. The Yield agreed to train her for this role, including paying for a bespoke training program with a project partner in Sydney, supporting online training programs and ongoing mentoring, which saw her successfully move from Project Manager to a high-achieving Business Analyst. She has now recently been promoted again to Product Manager, with her wealth of knowledge about our customers and our company over the last four years being a vital asset to our next stage of growth.
3. Work Well
Our five company values inform and support our everyday work, but also help keep us diversity-minded and driven. Please see attachments for full details on our values!
• Our established company values aren’t just lip-service; they truly guide and inform the way we work. A key value geared towards diversity is the way we strive to be ‘grounded and rounded’. With our values hung on the walls of every office, it's a constant reminder to respect and actively seek people's diverse perspectives, understanding it's those differences that make our work and our company great.
• Another of our values, 'committed to greatness' reinforces many behaviours that make us ambitious as a culture, while supporting our belief that great companies are, by definition, always diverse. More than 50% of our team is women and we have many cultures represented. We believe a large part of our current and future success is due to the diversity of opinion and expertise that goes into what we do.
• We also ensure a significant level of senior level ownership of the initiative. We report on our diversity data in our people and culture report for our Board, consistently monitoring and reporting on our diversity track record at every Board meeting and every business planning session. All positions have a requirement to contribute to diversity and inclusion and leadership roles in particular have diversity KPIs which are monitored and linked to performance assessment.
• As we expand rapidly, it's important to us that we ensure diversity is at the core of The Yield, now and into the future. Establishing values that we genuinely live every day supports our journey to grow and expand, ensuring our many future employees have the same chance to reap the benefits of diversity.
4. Give Well
True job satisfaction for people from all walks of life comes from the company giving back to not just to them, but the industry and world in which they work.
• Internally, this means we do everything we can to keep employees happy and healthy – physically, mentally and in their work. We have a robust internal development program, ensure people take their leave and have our birthday as an additional leave day.
• We’ve recently developed a wellness program to ensure the health and wellbeing of our teams and introduced policies around domestic and family violence.
• We have committed to a paid parental leave program which is supported by policies that ensure new parents’ journey back to work is as smooth and stress-free as possible.
• Many people on our leadership team and in middle management also engage in some amazing mentoring work with our employees internally; there’s a lot of opportunity for our up-and-coming people to have women and culturally-diverse role models for their career progression.
• Externally, we’re an active member of the agriculture and tech communities, sharing news, wins and promoting external programs geared towards diversity we hear about amongst our network. Our MD Ros uses her personal influence at the many speaking engagements she participates in each year around the world in order to further promote our diversity values and support the role of women in STEM and leadership positions. She is passionate about adding her voice to events like the upcoming Women in Agriculture awards in October, contributing to the progression of diversity on a large scale.
• We share our knowledge and our passion for achieving our long-term vision: to feed the world without wrecking the planet. We find this really resonates with our employees and the kind of people we want to work with.
• We encourage staff to participate in external events that promote diversity, including the participation of girls and women in STEM.
Detail the approach that was taken to implement the project or initiative, what actions were taken and why?
While our Diversity – We Live it program was very successful and set the stage for our culture of diversity from the outset, it soon became clear we needed something more robust that could scale with us as The Yield expanded. It’s important to recognise that diversity for us is not a one-off project but an initiative we use in all decision making; we track our diversity statistics regularly to ensure decisions are made to optimise our approach.
With this, Diversity – We’re Growing With It was born. Communication throughout its implementation was straight-forward and collaborative, followed up in team meetings, one-on-ones and available for comment on Officevibe. As the diversity project was a reflection of our existing values that were already appreciated by our employees, it was very well received.
We reflect regularly on our commitment to diversity and how our diversity program is tracking, looking at the business as a whole all the way down to teams and individuals. This way, we can ensure we are always working toward meeting and exceeding our diversity goals and can address any challenges that may stand in the way.
Demonstrate the leadership shown in driving the initiative and fostering behavioural and organisational change.
Of course, it is ultimately up to the leadership team to drive home the importance of our diversity commitment and ensure it’s a living, breathing apparatus for change that’s not just tokenistic words on paper. Additionally, diversity and the We’re Growing With It program is an initiative we encourage all our staff to be leaders in.
We promoted diversity and this program through first ensuring each member of the leadership team was on the same page regarding understanding the need to be a diverse business, and then agreeing on the way we communicate this to our employees, via our channels from company-wide announcements to checking in and discussing it all with our colleagues as individuals.
We continually ensure we make decisions that respect the diverse needs of our employees, customers and stakeholders and empower our staff to make diversity a theme in everything they do. We hire on values and ensure that our leaders in the organisation live and breathe those values in a truly concrete way.
Was there organisational/industry or other resistance to the initiative? If so, detail the actions taken to overcome resistance to the project or initiative.
Since we are very particular about the people we hire and their culture fit, and that diversity was integral to the company since the very beginning, we found no resistance amongst our employees at the announcement of Diversity – We're Growing With It, particularly as it was the natural progression of what they already knew and appreciated about The Yield. In fact, we learned that for many of our new employees, it was a key factor in their decision to join us in the first place.
We rely on all our team – from the leadership team to staff across the entire business – to continue to promote and foster an equal and supportive environment.
Detail the follow up or response to the project or initiative by the organisation /industry /sector. For example has it been extended for a further year, or has the scope been expanded?
Diversity – We’re Growing With It is still quite new, but it’s already received a warm welcome from our employees, board members, investors and other organisations we work with. It’s designed in such a way that it will continue to be our overarching diversity policy for the foreseeable future as The Yield expands within our three Australian offices and grows internationally.
Diversity is so important to us that we refuse to be complacent about it – no matter how well we do – so we will continue to evaluate, improve and build upon our already successful diversity policy in the years to come.
Please provide 2 references being the beneficiaries or people that experienced the change (as a result of the initiative). Details to be provided should include:
4. Phone number
6. Short description (up to 250 words) of association with the nominated diversity initiative eg as a beneficiary, experiencing the outcome, etc.
Tallulah joined The Yield recently in April 2018 as a new addition to our Marketing and Communications team – one that needed expanding quickly due to the ever-evolving and growing nature of our business. For her, diversity was one of the key reasons for coming on board. As she explained to us,
“I came from a business that was quite old-school in how it operated, from everything having a literal paper trail to everyone in middle management and above being a man. Coming to The Yield was like a breath of fresh air – my managers are all women, as are the heads of the product tech development teams which is exciting and still unfortunately too rare to see.”
“I feel like there is a certain kind of inherent understanding, appreciation and empathy underlying our work, what we do and how we do it that comes from having a diverse business – everything is richer for having different opinions and experiences go in to making it.”
“The Diversity – We’re Growing With It program I think really encapsulates everything I was looking for in the next stage of my career. I care a lot about work-life balance so the flexibility was really appealing to me, as well as the wellness program and the casually friendly yet high-achieving culture they’ve developed.”
“The way The Yield goes to such lengths to maintain diversity is a big part of why I feel we’re all working towards something pretty great – and I really quite like coming into work!”
Taimoor also came to The Yield quite recently in March 2018, drawn to the work we do and the inspiring bigger picture of changing the future of agriculture. Diversity as fostered by the We’re Growing With It program has led to many of the benefits that to him, make The Yield a great place to build his career.
“It’s fantastic to be a part of an organisation that is so gender and culturally diverse. This is important to me, as I strongly believe people with different backgrounds contribute different ideas and help challenge your beliefs; you learn more about yourself and other people. And especially for The Yield and what it wants to achieve on a global scale in a diverse, more inclusive world, it’s important we reflect those values now. It prepares us for the future.”
“Having a young family also means the flexibility of the role takes a lot of weight off my shoulders. It allows my wife and I to be on an equal footing, so we can both have fulfilling careers and be the best parents to our child. I know my managers will support me if something comes up; I can then put 100% into my work and be more productive.”
“What’s quite rare about The Yield though in regard to cultural diversity – it’s not just that there are different cultures and we respect them, it’s that we’ve fostered a culture of true equality; being sensitive towards and understanding of our differences doesn’t make us shy away from open and honest communication. No one hesitates from what needs to be said or addressed to get the job done – we’re all on the same page, the same team.”
What outcomes have been achieved against overall program or organisational performance? Using metrics specify these outcomes, for example financial, growth, policy achievement, performance or capabciltiy uplift?
The success of our diversity policy can be captured in several qualitative and quantitative measurements across the business.
In our previous diversity program, our goal was to maintain a minimum of 50% gender split. We’re pleased to report we have met this, with 28 full time employees, including 14 women and maintaining that 50% at the leadership level, putting us significantly above the Australian IT industry average for gender diversity which is around 30%.
We also come from 13 different countries and speak 14 different languages, so we have a wonderfully culturally diverse workforce that promotes the diversity of ideas and perspectives that our employees value so highly.
Our track record via Officevibe is also exemplary; all questions about inclusion, diversity and wellness have achieved a perfect rating of 100% satisfaction among our employees, indicating everyone is truly happy and engaged with the Diversity – We’re Growing With It program.
Away from statistics, we have a team that is genuinely passionate about diversity and equality. They are not afraid to call out inequality or problematic behaviour when they see it, be it inside or outside the business, and make it a part of everything we do.
What do you consider your significant achievement with this Initiative and why?
For us as employees of The Yield, it’s the quality of our internal culture, strongly supported by our We're Growing With It diversity program that we’re most proud of. People choose us, are excited to work with us and are happy to come into work. They believe they are a part of something great, are excited for what the future brings and how we can shape it. The feeling of helping create something like that is very powerful.
Who inspires you from a diversity perspective? Who provides leadership in diversity and why?
On a professional level, we’re inspired by Professor Michelle Simmons, a scientist who heads the quantum physics department at the University of New South Wales and won Australian of the Year in 2018. Not only is she doing amazing things in her work but she uses her platform of influence to inspire women and girls to take up STEM subjects, where they still face significant structural barriers.
On a personal level for our Founder Ros, she has always been inspired by her own mum. Now 87 years old, she's always been pretty amazing. She was brought up by her own single working mother, won a scholarship to study medicine and was one of the first women doctors in Australia. Back then there was a marriage bar in Australia which meant that women were forced to give up their jobs when they married. Ros’ mum raised her six kids and when the youngest brother went to school, she did a refresher course and went on to have a very successful medical career. She always encouraged her children, especially her four daughters, to blend work and family and to always strive for excellence. She has absolutely been the foundation of the values Ros has instilled in The Yield and still work towards today.