As a company facing huge industry disruption, Yellow NZ Ltd has embraced diversity and inclusion as the cornerstone of its transition strategy, with a real focus and commitment across several different workplace diversity dimensions during the past 12 months.
Yellow, which is transitioning from providing the iconic Yellow Pages into being a digital marketing agency, has 200 employees across various offices around the country. This organisational transformation has highlighted the importance of having an inclusive culture to unlock innovation in a disrupted business environment.
In July 2018, CEO Darren Linton made a formal commitment to diversity and inclusion at a companywide event, supported by a commitment statement on the company’s website. This began a series of changes and policies which made diversity and inclusion the centrepiece of the company’s new strategy.
The entire Executive Leadership Team received cultural intelligence training, and a Diversity and Inclusion Committee was formed to develop an overall strategy for the organisation. Yellow ran its first diversity and inclusion survey to benchmark where the company was at, and to give the broader organisation an ability to have a voice in the ongoing changes.
Yellow has also worked closely with TupuToa, an organisation which places Māori and Pasifika young people into workplaces. Yellow has successfully transitioned three interns into full-time employment, and has provided TupuToa with an office space and a car free of charge.
Yellow also launched its Parallel Project, which is an initiative designed to enable positive change concerning the lack of women in leadership in New Zealand. Yellow committed to only employing women until a 50:50 gender split amongst senior employees has been achieved.
Perhaps most significantly, Yellow provided all its people with learning and development opportunities in areas that influence diversity and inclusion. As part of this, the entire company has gone through unconscious bias training.
The training was first rolled out for the People and Culture team, as well as senior leaders at the company, and this received extremely positive feedback. Working with Diversity Works New Zealand, Yellow looked to immediately roll this out throughout the company.
This was implemented through in-person workshops in the Palmerston North and Auckland offices, and webinars for employees in other offices. As part of the workshop, employees were asked to complete post-it notes listing individual, team and company commitments they would like to work on. These post-it notes are now displayed in the Auckland office and will inform further training.
After the company’s new commitment to an inclusive culture and this training, engagement scores jumped by 12 points in six months. Many employees commented on noticeable changes in company culture and a new feeling of family within the organisation.
Chief Experience Officer Tracey Taylor says, “I believe that we are building not only a successful business but also a community. This is something that if we can get all of our people to understand, the impact could be huge.”
The judging panel said Yellow NZ Ltd’s comprehensive programme over 12 months was an excellent blueprint for any organisation beginning its diversity and inclusion journey. The organisation showed a genuine commitment to including all employees in the work it was doing, including those in regional offices. They focused on metrics and measures that link engagement to performance, putting workplace inclusion at the heart of its strategy.