Lead Story: Measuring the impact of diversity to AMP

Lead Story: Measuring the impact of diversity to AMP: What Telstra
gained from the productive partnership project
Some managers may view diversity management as nothing more than compliance.
However, as reported in the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous
Affairs publication Diversity Australia, diversity can give you a competitive edge in the
marketplace. The publication shows how two of Australia’s large organisations, AMP
and Telstra, approach managing diversity.
One of the business imperatives for Telstra is to expand its operations and succeed
internationally. To do this, Telstra reports that it is establishing a number of ‘Points of
Presence’ overseas to assist with this international market expansion.
Telstra’s plan to make inroads into the Japanese telecommunications market resulted in
Telstra establishing its Global Customer Centre. Telstra is looking to ‘draw on the
language and cultural skills of workers in the centre’, to increase efficiency in how it
connects and communicates with its overseas markets, significantly improving customer
satisfaction with the level and quality of service they receive. Telstra’s capacity to
compete globally can be significantly enhanced through the language and cultural
diversity of its workforce.
Productive Diversity is part of the Commonwealth Government’s multicultural policy.
Through effective diversity management practices, employers are able to optimise
workplace innovation and performance, as well as build greater rapport with customers
and suppliers. As stated in Diversity Australia, ‘Productive Diversity is good for
business. It is also good for Australia as a whole’.
AMP is another large organisation that has entered into a ‘Productive Diversity
Partnership Program’ with the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and
Indigenous Affair (DIMIA).
DIMIA, in partnership with AMP, undertook a project to measure the return-oninvestment potential of its diversity initiatives. AMP sought to measure the business
benefits for its organisation in a number of ways. AMP analysed the changing
demographic profile of the workforce to monitor the impact of its diversity initiatives. It
measured employee perception of specific diversity related issues. To do this, AMP
tracked the organisation’s effectiveness in responding to issues of discrimination, and by
analysing customer needs and priorities.
Talking it over and thinking it through
1. As the examples of Telstra and AMP highlight, the benefits of managing diversity
effectively are not social issues. Organisations are presented with a ‘golden
opportunity’ to gain market advantage. Why do you think some organisations may
not capitalise on such an opportunity?
2. How would you go about changing an organisation that has potential for
benefitting from better management of its diverse workforce, but adopts the
attitude that ‘that is for others, not us’?
3. The examples of Telstra and AMP are representative of large organisations. A
very large portion of the Australian workforce works for small to medium-sized
organisations. How would the managing of diversity effectively assist these types
of organisation?
4. Should managers of organisations be trained in the effective management of
diversity? Should it be part of the selection criteria that managers have a
demonstrated ability to effectively manage diversity?
Australian Federal Government Publication, Department of Immigration and
Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs.
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