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John Deere achieves ‘significant’ inclusion recognition

John Deere Australia and New Zealand has achieved Inclusive Employer Status for the third time. Quarry finds out how the company has achieved this success.

The Diversity Council Australia (DCA) has granted John Deere Australia and New Zealand Inclusive Employer Status for the company’s commitment to its employees.

Luke Chandler, John Deere Australia and New Zealand managing director, said achieving the status for the third year in a row was a proud moment.

“Each year, this assessment has provided us with valuable insight on where to focus our efforts to ensure we offer an inclusive workplace for everyone,” he said.

“An inclusive workplace is not the result of the actions of one, but the actions of many.”

Companies can receive recognition by proving their commitment to diversity and inclusion. This includes having employees complete an in-depth survey that demonstrates the employer’s inclusion measures and produces results against national benchmarks in key areas.

John Deere is part of a select group of employers to have received the recognition three times in a row.

The company’s aftermarket team recently led an initiative at its Brisbane office to celebrate World Inclusion Day. Employees were encouraged to share their personal stories, food from their cultural backgrounds, and discuss perspectives on what inclusion means to them.

“You should feel like you can bring your true self to work every day, and John Deere really embraces that,” aftermarket marketing and communications specialist, Laura Pozniak-Elphick said.

“While your colleagues always try to be their most professional selves, it’s important to remember they are individuals with families and lives outside work.

“Someone could be smiling on the outside but struggling on the inside, so we just need to be mindful of each other and be as kind and inclusive as possible.

“If your corporate values are rooted in diversity and inclusion, that extends to your ability to recruit the best people, which ultimately elevates your whole business. I think there’s also a halo effect where if a company is a good corporate citizen, they’re more likely to be offering their products and services in the best possible way.”

The DCA announced that 82 employers had gained the status as part of Inclusion of Work Week last year.

The employers range from art galleries and pharmaceutical companies to sporting bodies and machinery manufacturers like John Deere.

According to data from the DCA, workers in inclusive teams are four times more likely to provide excellent customer service, more than twice as likely to work hard and more likely to be innovative.

“We know that inclusion has significant benefits for both employers and employees. DCA’s Inclusive Employers Index is a rigorous process that reveals the state of inclusion and diversity across participating organisations,” DCA chief executive officer Lisa Annese said.

“It’s an opportunity for workplaces to show their commitment to inclusion, reflect on their achievements and identify ways to do even better.

“Recognition as an Inclusive Employer means your organisation is doing the necessary work to create a welcoming and inclusive workplace where everyone feels valued and respected.”

It may sound simple, but fostering a culture of inclusion and diversity requires work every day and a commitment from all employees.

Camilla Kelly is tasked with leading John Deere Australia and New Zealand’s diversity, equity, and inclusion journey as head of people and culture at the company.

Kelly said the journey to achieve diversity and inclusion requires time, dedication, and a holistic approach.

“It can challenge deeply held beliefs and raise difficult questions. It’s not about checkboxes or quotas, but rather it’s interwoven in everything we do and everything we want to be,” she said.

“We have taken the time and energy to expand knowledge across the company — not just talk.”

As part of its commitment to fostering this culture, John Deere has updated its policies, employee selection criteria and workplace practices. An example of this is the company’s gender-neutral parental leave and developing leadership capabilities of employees.

“As a smart industrial company, we need both diverse talent and an inclusive culture to develop this competitive advantage,” Kelly said.

“Fostering genuine, sustained diversity in the workplace takes many years and a genuine heartfelt commitment from all staff. It’s important that business leaders take charge to lead and empower other staff to follow.” •

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