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Diversity: from buzzword to byword

Dewang Bhargav and David Smales

Dewang Bhargav
Senior Leader, Change Manager, Diversity of Thought, Engineer
Energy Queensland

“Diversity” has become a hot buzzword in recent years. It’s the focus of much research, there are think-tanks devoted to it, and it seems to be a must-have addition to every organisation’s values statement. But what does it really mean, in practical everyday terms, and why should we care?

I am a member of Energy Queensland’s Diversity and Inclusion Council and of Queensland’s Multicultural Queensland Ambassador Program, and am the first-generation son of migrants. As such, I hold both organisational and personal views on what diversity means, and why it matters.

Energy Qld has five goals: creating a truly inclusive workplace and organisational culture; fostering talent; to genuinely represent Queensland and our communities; raising employee potential; and becoming a community leader. I’m proud that my company’s very aspirational goals run parallel to the Multicultural Queensland Charter principles. And Energy Qld has the opportunity to run vs walk towards its diversity goals, thanks in part to our involvement in the Ambassador Program. This program brings together around 80 organisations, representing sectors and structures from every corner of Queensland’s business community, and collectively overcomes the pitfall of reinventing the wheel. Instead, we’re all able to learn from each other, including from those organisations which have been focusing on this area for longer. Partnering with government through the Ambassador Program also ensures input into the Charter, which in turn means this guiding document is relevant and truly reflective of our workplaces and community.

As a first-generation immigrant to Australia, diversity and inclusion aren’t just buzzwords to me – they’re very personal values. As a dad, this is exponentially deepened. We are better workplaces, better communities and ultimately a better and more competitive country when Energy Qld’s aspirational goals are simply part of how we operate as businesses and as a society – at its heart, diversity is about ensuring everyone has the opportunity to contribute, and we all benefit from this. We’re not there yet, but we’re on our way.

I believe in ‘Think Big, Start Small and Learn Fast’, and it’s particularly relevant to the diversity context. We have a grand vision with the Charter, underpinned by the Ambassador Program that encourages us to make small changes in our own organisations and through this forum, collaborate for fast learning. We have organisational leadership which recognises and very genuinely embraces the values of diversity and inclusion. The time is now, and it’s up to all of us to champion the change we want to see to create the Queensland we want to be.

Originally published on LinkedIn on 28 August 2018

Last updated: Monday, Nov 30, 2020