Australian Indigenous Employment
In line with our commitment to Value People – Respect, Recognise & Reward, IPL’s Indigenous Employment Program aims to increase the number of opportunities for Indigenous Australians by providing access to employment, education and training as well as focusing on developing cultural understanding and respect within its workforce.
The program is also a key component of IPL’s approach to Diversity. With more than 15 projects operating throughout rural Australia, IPL’s Indigenous Employment Program is continuing to help our business to develop stronger relationships with the community. This year we met a target of 2% Indigenous Employment across the Australian businesses. Initiatives undertaken as part of our Indigenous Employment Strategy are described below.
Implementation of the Incitec Pivot Australian Indigenous Relations Policy
Developed during 2013, the Australian Indigenous Relations Policy was implemented across Australia this year. The purpose of this Policy is to provide guidance to the organisation as to how to strategically increase engagement opportunities with Indigenous Communities so as to benefit Indigenous Australians as well as IPL. The Policy provides a valuable opportunity for IPL to work in genuine partnership with Indigenous Australians and live the IPL Values of “Care for the Community and our Environment” and “Challenge and Improve the Status Quo”.
IPL is taking a best practice approach to improve Indigenous engagement outcomes. Our approach is based on:
• research into organisations who have been working successfully in the area of Indigenous engagement for many years
• an examination of our organisation’s current cultural capability
• working with Indigenous Communities to clarify expectations of IPL
• recognition that reconciliation and self-determination are integral to improving engagement outcomes
As a product of these learnings and to achieve Policy objectives, IPL has identified five organisational policy investment areas and is committed to changing the culture around diversity, policies and practices of IPL where required. These five areas are:
2. Community Development and Engagement
3. Education and Training
4. Indigenous Employment Program
5. Business Development (including sub-contract opportunities)
Cultural Capability Training
Last year, IPL engaged the Indigenous Community and Traditional Owners on the development and implementation of a Cultural Capability Program for the leaders, management and staff of our organisation. Last year we implemented the Program across the Australian businesses with 80% of Company leadership and management participating. This year we delivered the program to 40% of our people across Australia and will continue this training into 2016. The program encourages participants to recognise that different cultures have different ways of valuing, seeing, doing and believing, and that to work successfully with people from other cultures we need to know which characteristics are critical.
Indigenous Recruitment and Retention
Traditional HR systems and processes can present barriers for Indigenous people seeking to enter the mainstream workforce. We are working on improving Indigenous employment outcomes and have developed a range of systems to assist Indigenous people overcome these barriers. These include:
• Using local Indigenous networks to identify potential Indigenous candidates
• Focusing more on face-to-face communications
• Ensuring recruitment turnaround times are culturally appropriate
• Developing a work readiness program
Indigenous employees also face particular challenges in balancing work, cultural and family commitments and making the transition to a new organisational and cultural environment. For employees of fly-in, fly-out operations, an added pressure is the need to spend extended periods away from home. Strategies for increasing retention include:
• Provision of cultural awareness training for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous employees;
• Provision of ongoing mentoring and support via our ‘buddy system’ was extended beyond our Mt Isa and Pilbara Operations this year to all Australian sites with Indigenous employees;
• Provision of career development opportunities;
• Provision of family support; and
• Addressing racism in the workforce.
While the external employment market in Australia has slowed in 2015, we have continued to pragmatically work with leaders and the recruitment team to sustain our focus. Through these efforts we have employed ten additional Indigenous employees across our Australian business, which brings our overall Indigenous employment rate to just over 2%.
Importantly, through our proactive mentoring model we have retained 90% of our Indigenous employees.
As we look ahead we have some exciting initiatives, including the establishment of an Indigenous Council next year and the design of an online Indigenous Induction module that we will also roll out in 2016. All new employees will complete the module as part of their induction and orientation process.