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The inaugural HR Leader Roundtable: What's happening with DEI and what can we do better?

By Shandel McAuliffe | |5 minute read
The inaugural HR Leader Roundtable: What's happening with DEI and what can we do better?

HR Leader hosted its first roundtable on 6 October with guests from across the HR and people leadership arena including Matt Gowan (Hays), Joe Hart (True Perspective), Anne Le Blanc (Mercer Workforce Solutions), Bodo Mann (auticon), Kellie-Ann McDade (Baker McKenzie), and Steve Gard (The Circle Back Initiative).


The discussion focused on DEI, with attendees sharing insights on what their organisations are doing and what they think Australia can do to improve DEI in workplaces.

Each of our guests set the scene by explaining how DEI is important to them. Mr Hart shared: "So leadership development is the primary area that I work in, and diversity and inclusion for me is really about having a workplace that enables people to be really effective, regardless of their backgrounds, their differences – whether that be gender, race, sexuality, whatever it might be – but the primary focus is about effectiveness at work."

'Candidate experience' is at the core of Mr Gard's initiative, and he stated: "Diversity and inclusion is a really key part of candidate experience as well. So I think it goes beyond the employees we bring in, it's really throughout the recruitment process as well and that 'candidate experience'."

Explaining where Baker McKenzie fits into the market, Ms McDade commented: "Baker McKenzie is probably the first truly global law firm. And so really, at its heart has been diversity and inclusion right from the get go. We're also one of the first global law firms to announce gender targets for the partnership. So, we do consider ourselves to be somewhat market leading in the D&I field."

HR Leader recently covered insights into auticon's workforce, including the fact that as of 2021, 70 per cent of their 350-strong team was autistic. Mr Mann explained on the roundtable that "our entire mission is providing meaningful employment for people on the spectrum, particularly in the IT space."

In sharing that Hays has a presence around the world, Mr Gowan noted "The communities that we serve are extremely diverse. We represent everyone in the community and many of our clients are from all sorts of environments or backgrounds as well."

Ms Le Blanc explained that their work covers "a huge array of different activities across the employment life cycle, from strategy right down to employee listening". She continued: "DEI is really close to our heart in terms of helping our clients. But we're also really proactive within our own company as well."

Listen to the full roundtable below! 

Shandel McAuliffe

Shandel McAuliffe

Shandel has recently returned to Australia after working in the UK for eight years. Shandel's experience in the UK included over three years at the CIPD in their marketing, marcomms and events teams, followed by two plus years with The Adecco Group UK&I in marketing, PR, internal comms and project management. Cementing Shandel's experience in the HR industry, she was the head of content for Cezanne HR, a full-lifecycle HR software solution, for the two years prior to her return to Australia.

Shandel has previous experience as a copy writer, proofreader and copy editor, and a keen interest in HR, leadership and psychology. She's excited to be at the helm of HR Leader as its editor, bringing new and innovative ideas to the publication's audience, drawing on her time overseas and learning from experts closer to home in Australia.

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