Driving diversity at the World Business Forum

The facts are in. Diversity is a key driver of organisational performance, and Melbourne Business School’s Jody Evans will be driving the point home at the upcoming World Business Forum in Sydney.
Jody will chair a panel that includes notable champions of change from NAB, Holden and Australia Post, who will discuss the positive outcomes from strong diversity programs for their organisations.

“More and more research, including from BHP Billiton, shows a diverse workforce is more productive and a driver of productivity and organisational performance,” Jody says.

As an MBS marketing professor, Jody has a keen interest in diversity’s brand-enhancing power. She has put together a forum panel that includes Holden HR Director Ashley Winnett, who recently said in a social post, “From the football, meat pies and kangaroos jingle of the 70s, we’ve played a role in excluding women from our brand and our workforce.”

Ashley then asked, “Imagine a workplace where everyone is encouraged to work flexibly? Where there is no pay gap” Or where every lifestyle is welcomed and supported?”

Jody says the School is sponsoring the World Business Forum and facilitating the Diversity Panel because it has always been a leader in promoting the latest research and solutions to pressing business issues, including diversity.

“It's now 25 years since the Women and Management group was established at the School. We have skin in the game around driving the diversity agenda and progressing it, so we’re not just repeating the same conversations,” she says.

“Talk should no longer be framed around diversity as a problem but diversity as an asset. The challenges haven't gone away, but now we have more and more evidence to show the value of a diverse workforce.”
Jody says people often resist diversity when they become too comfortable.

“There's a comfort zone in having similarity that leads to content and resistance to change, which can be fatal for an organisation in a fast-changing world. Organisations need to be conscious at the highest level to get real value out of diversity.”

Melbourne Business School is the academic sponsor of the World Business Forum, which takes place in Sydney on 31 May – 1 June and also features MBS leadership professor Ian Williamson, who will discuss the latest research into empowering high-performance organisations.

For more information or to register, go to wbfsydney.com or phone 1300 306 650.