Please indicate if your Initiative is an Established Initiative.
Team - who worked on the project/initaitve
Business Technology Services (BTS), a division of Telstra Enterprise, has nurtured and encouraged a team of D&I advocates across a range of Talent & Capability initiatives, supported by BTS business leaders. This has seen the initiatives sponsored by members of the senior leadership team and endorsed by HR, team managers as well as diversity advocates and champions.
The BTS team also collaborate with internal stakeholders including Telstra Careers, Human Resources as well as Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) committees across the organisation. External partners also contribute to our suite of initiatives including the Diversity Council Australia, Vic ICT for Women, Females in Information Technology and Telecommunications (FITT), Women in Tech, Skilling Australia Foundation and several others.
Executive Director, Business Technology Services (BTS), Telstra Enterprise
General Manager, BTS Capability
Overview - Provide a summary to introduce the project or initiative
Telstra Business Technology Services (BTS) strives to attract, develop and retain top female talent in all role segments and levels globally. Our Talent & Capability initiatives encompass a diverse range of career development options – from young people starting their career journey to those that are re-training or seeking new opportunities. A selection of our initiatives are listed below:
• BTS Academy program, which develops and supports talented technologists from diverse career backgrounds;
• Brilliant Connected Technical Women, an internal grassroots networking initiative focused on engaging, educating and empowering professional, intelligent and influential women in BTS by connecting them with each other.
The Telstra BTS D&I community is also active outside of Telstra, and in the community. We support a number of external initiatives through sponsorship, including as:
• A Partner for P-TECH, a Government STEM in schools initiative which aims to boost digital employment opportunities pathways for high school students;
• Sponsorship of Grad Girls, a one year program run by Vic ICT for Women that helps female undergraduates prepare for the working environment; and
• National Pledge Partner for Soldier On, a program that supports soldiers and their families to connect with civilian employment and education opportunities.
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?
Telstra has long been committed to Diversity and Inclusion in all its forms. We set and report on measurable objectives and have a range company-wide initiatives in place. Many of these initiatives are designed to increase female representation, including the Gender Equality Shortlist Procedure.
Telstra BTS are specifically progressing a number of Talent & Capability initiatives focused on D&I, as part of our BTS 2020 business strategy. Whilst diversity is not new to us, participation from our leaders and staff base has significantly grown.
Here are a few examples:
• Actively endorse the LGBTI community through Telstra HR policy and internal networking groups like Spectrum, as well as our BTS LGBTI community’s participation and contribution to initiatives such as InterTech Australia
• Successfully achieving two intakes of the BTS Academy so far; with retention overall for both groups now at 34% females in technical engineering roles. This represents an uplift from less than 10% previously;
• Launching Brilliant Connected Technical Women, a new internal initiative to help support women across BTS through education, and to address a networking and mentoring gap; and
• Externally, we have engaged in the development of STEM skills in schools through our involvement in the Federal Government P-TECH program, focusing on McCarthy Catholic College in Western Sydney NSW for 2017-2018
In BTS specifically, our people are increasingly focused on engaging in and promoting diversity activities. For instance, a BTS D&I Committee formed in 2018 to drive these priorities and includes both male and female leaders from across the business. This committee aligns to other D&I steering groups across Telstra Enterprise and Telstra International to facilitate a unified, consolidated execution of our priorities and to ensure we pool resources and funding to achieve maximum impact.
Detail the approach that was taken to implement the project or initiative, what actions were taken and why?
This year we have actively sought to draw together disparate pockets of diversity activity into a formal cross-business program, endorsed by Telstra senior management and governed by the BTS D&I committee. Our overarching intent, from a Telstra Enterprise perspective, is to:
• Attract women to technical and non-technical roles, through flexible work practices and by creating opportunities to build new skills and capability;
• Develop women by encouraging them to progress their careers in either technical and non-technical leadership; and
• Retain women in technical and non-technical roles.
Demonstrate the leadership shown in driving the initiative and fostering behavioural and organisational change.
Telstra’s Executive Director of Global Business Services, Christopher Smith has led our diversity initiatives with enthusiasm and passion, encouraging the participation of his senior leadership team. He is also a member of an internal initiative called the Men’s Responsibility for Gender Equality in the Workplace. He has been a catalyst for BTS D&I initiatives, campaigning for the active participation of his male colleagues, particularly over internal channels such as Yammer; our enterprise social media platform. Chris’ leadership has inspired participation across the BTS organisation, particularly from our grassroots technical communities.
Was there organisational/industry or other resistance to the initiative? If so, detail the actions taken to overcome resistance to the project or initiative.
• BTS Academy – to address a shortage of junior technical talent in the market, particularly in networks and security technologies, and recognising that there was a requirement for BTS to proactively build and nurture a pool of this talent inside Telstra, we built a business case to fund an Academy. The BTS Academy business case was submitted and rejected a number of times, eventually succeeding as a pilot program, primarily due to senior management sponsorship. In addition, the BTS Academy presented a new approach to Telstra recruitment, learning and development and talent management, which meant there were some initial challenges in HR processes that were eventually overcome.
• Brilliant Connected Technical Women (BCTW) – the program was initiated as a response to the BTS business recognising the need to address a gap in attracting, retaining and progressing more technical women, specifically in BTS’ networks line of business. The program had no foundation or activity base on which to draw and overcame very little funding. Its success is a reflection on the power of leveraging our people’s enthusiasm and has expanded naturally to embrace some key areas that need more focus – like our recruitment processes and procedures.
Additionally, many BTS people have been willing to contribute their time and efforts to our sponsored and partnership initiatives. For instance, our involvement in Grad Girls was greeted with enthusiasm from employees across Telstra and encountered minimal challenges while the potential of the P-TECH program was fully realised when Chris Smith stepped up to lead our sponsorship.
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?
Many of our Telstra BTS Talent & Capability initiatives continue to expand. Some areas have gained momentum following an enthusiastic response across the business. For instance:
• BTS Academy, funding endorsement for a third intake has been received, with the recruitment process to commence shortly. This program may also be broadened to include collaboration, application and project services competencies. Furthermore, the Academy’s success is also being leveraged to evolve Telstra’s new Early Careers program and for future Telstra talent initiatives with the HR team.
• BCTW, initiated in 2018 from a need for BTS to address our gender participation rate and to help attract, retain and progress more technical women. This initiative gained a critical mass in BTS and then joined forces with the Telstra Enterprise initiative, Brilliant Connect Women, which has become its parent program.
• P-TECH, as a partner of the Australian Government’s STEM in schools initiative we focused on McCarthy Catholic College in Western Sydney NSW, embracing a number of opportunities for technically focused BTS people to engage with and encourage students to plan to pursue STEM based careers.
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.
NAME: Yvette Sraga
ORGANISATION: Telstra, BTS
PHONE: +61 2 98663620
ROLE: Engineering Team Leader
DESCRIPTION: I think of myself as a change agent, and I’m active in the LGBTI IT community. I was tasked by my Network Services Director, Paul Nicholls, to initiate a program to improve our gender diversity participation rate of 16% and help attract, retain and progress more technically focused women into the BTS business. True to my skill set, IT Project Management, I’ve brought together a number of resources from across the business, such as communications support, as well as nurtured the formation of regional based cohorts - Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane so far, with more cohorts to come. I’ve driven what were initially networking opportunities for technically focused females, which have since developed to become part of a broader Diversity and Inclusion program, Brilliant Connected Women. Changing its name from BTS Women in Tech to Brilliant Connected Technical Women, the program now also offers a chance for members, not all of whom are technical (no one is excluded), to hear from internal and external speakers as well as opportunities to meet like-minded colleagues through the facilitation of speed dating sessions. I have also actively participated in the P-Tech program, encouraging Year 9 students to pursue STEM based subjects during a number of workshop sessions in Western Sydney. While I actively participate in these programs, I’ve also been a beneficiary in that I’m as inspired as the programs’ beneficiaries. Contributing and making a difference to my team, my group and the BTS business have provided me with a personal growth opportunity which has sparked momentum and enthusiasm, driving change for many.
NAME: Olga Rankin
ORGANISATION: Global Services
PHONE: 0423 903 828
ROLE: HR Business Partner
DESCRIPTION: I have a HR background and came to Telstra via a company BTS acquired in January 2016, called Kloud. The company still operates as a separate BTS entity today and continues to provide a nurturing and inclusive work environment for its 250+ employees. In my new capacity as Global Services HR partner, I have initiated a BTS recruitment Proof of Concept which is outside Telstra’s HR policy and processes and seeks to address a current gender imbalance in the group of 23% female to 77% male gender. The POC also ensures that the language and criteria used in job advertisements promotes Telstra as a safe and progressive environment for women and in which they can expect both flexibility and career progression. To understand the employee experience disparity between the two organisations - Telstra and Kloud - I started explorative exercise which has become known as #random coffee, in which first me and then others randomly choose a member from the internal BTS Yammer group and invite them for a coffee. #random coffee is now widely adopted throughout Telstra Enterprise for its networking characteristics as a way of connecting with peers and groups of people which otherwise would not have been visible prior to the random coffee. Both programs – the #random coffee initiative and the recruitment POC - are substantial departures from the ways in which Telstra has traditionally operated, breaking down people barriers and processes, turning traditional ways of doing things on their head, attributes that I feel I’ve brought to Telstra from outside. While the outcomes of the POC are yet to be seen, the impact for Telstra Enterprise and BTS will be a completely fresh approach to people and culture.
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?
• BTS Academy – Recruitment into the Academy has increased from 24% female representation in intake one to 40% female representation in intake two. Capability uplift, measured by Australian Computer Society (ACS) using the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) capability framework, validated 90% role compliance and 71% skills uplift within 12 months. Team members also achieved certification to the industry professional association for the ICT sector (28 achieving Technologists status and 7 achieving Professionals status) together with 260+ vendor certifications.
• Telstra Graduate program – BTS team has recruited 5 females to every 7 males for the 2019 intake i.e. 71% female graduates will be commencing in the BTS team
• BCTW – This initiative started very modestly, the first Melbourne networking event in early March 2017 numbered about 15 attendees. This grew to 250+ registered for a Melbourne speaking event in July 2017. The types of activity BCTW offers has also expanded - from pure socialising opportunities, to sessions that connect upwardly mobile female talent with senior management (formally as in a roundtable situation and less formally like a walk in a local park), to interesting internal and external speakers, to speed networking sessions. The activity has also expanded regionally – Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane cohorts are firmly established with more to come.
• P-TECH – Following on from Telstra’s involvement in the McCarthy Catholic College (MCC) subject selection night, as well as other initiatives, there are now 42 students enrolled in the P-TECH pathway for Year 10 - 12 commencing in 2019, studying for Certificate III in IDMT (Information Digital Media Technology). Other students are selecting STEM subjects and electives after realising the multitude of diverse career opportunities socialised through the Telstra team activities.
• Employee engagement – Telstra survey results in 2018 for Global Services (including BTS) employees reflected an uplift from 2016 with an increase of 2 points for Diversity & Inclusion and 3 points for Career Development against the technology sector norm.
What do you consider your significant achievement with this Initiative and why?
Our initiatives cover a broad range of bi-directional D&I activity – from the grassroots up and from senior and middle management down. We believe we are achieving successful outcomes due to passionate agitation by a number of BTS change agents, enthusiasm and engagement at the grass roots of the BTS organisation with plenty of diverse opportunities for our people to contribute, coupled with more visible management participation and endorsement. Our activities embrace all – no one is excluded, with a number of male employees being very active in supporting and helping to drive change. We believe we are making measurable difference by encouraging the business to quarantine funding for us and then carefully prioritising that funding against activities that will have the greatest impact – for example in key areas such as recruitment, capability uplift and active engagement.
Who inspires you from a diversity perspective? Who provides leadership in diversity and why?
Deborah Harrigan joined Telstra 12 months ago as BTS Head of Operations. She is a passionate advocate for women within Telstra, representing BTS through her role on the Telstra Enterprise D&I council. Deb also represents these initiatives beyond Telstra, giving tirelessly to the community through her volunteer work and Board position for Hornsby Ku-Ring-Gai Women’s Shelter. The Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Women’s Shelter provides temporary supported accommodation for women who are victims of domestic violence and/or homelessness. They provide a safe, non-threatening environment for women that will assist them through their emotional and physical crisis. Their Board also works with local, state and federal politicians to bring about policy change. The shelter receives no government funding and is entirely dependent on donations.