Woodside promotes a spectrum of diversity

May 24, 2018

Due to the current political environment, conversations surrounding LGBTI+ are attracting more attention. So what is the Australian oil and gas industry doing to promote diversity within the industry? Woodside believes it’s a company that can lead the way in this context.

The Spectrum Community

The Spectrum Community is one of Woodside’s latest initiatives. An employee community group launched in October 2016, Spectrum aims to ensure people feel comfortable and supported at work regardless of their sexuality, gender identity or gender expression. It is open to people across the spectrum of sexual/gender identity, including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or intersex, as well as their allies. Membership numbers are more than 100 and proudly growing every day.

Woodside believes through communities like Spectrum, a workplace should feel comfortable for everyone, without fear of discrimination or disadvantage due to their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

The Spectrum Community aims to drive awareness, increase education on LGBTI+ issues and create a support network for the community within Woodside. The program develops campaigns and events to support key dates such as International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (May 17) and Wear it Purple Day (August 25).

The group also provides a forum to examine policy and key decisions from a LGBTI+ perspective.

Management support

Like all of Woodside’s programs, Spectrum enjoys the full support of Woodside’s senior management. This program is sponsored by one of its executives, Jacky Connolly, Vice President of People and Global Capability.

The work done by the Spectrum Community is something Connolly is obviously very proud of. “Just the fact we can comfortably have these dialogues with diverse people in the room is kudos to this company,” she said.

“Diversity and inclusion is seen as really important for our employees, and a big part of it just comes from increasing awareness.”

Ms Connolly also noted how important diversity and diverse thinking were to business and to Woodside in particular.

“One of Woodside’s key values is around respect,” she said.

“We need diversity and understanding on a variety of levels to be truly successful. And we’re seeing the benefits of this more and more across the company.

“Particularly when you think of innovation. Innovation is critical for Woodside and it only comes from a diversity of thought approach. Diversity in an inclusive environment goes hand in hand with innovation.”We need diversity and understanding on a variety of levels to be truly successful. And we’re seeing the benefits of this more and more.

Other community programs

Woodside runs a variety of differentcommunity programs in a similar vein toSpectrum. Other examples include the Women of Woodside group, Woodside Reconciliation Community and the STEM
(science, technology, engineering and maths) in Schools program.

The reconciliation program teaches several Indigenous languages, as well as providing a sense of connection through the naming of important places within the company. “We need to really understand where we operate, whether it’s up in Karratha or in Perth, and have an appreciation for the land on which we operate,” Ms Connolly said.

“A big part of the focus for us is on increasing our cultural experiences connecting back to our indigenous groups.”

The STEM program promotes interest in science, technology, engineering and maths in schools, particularly to young girls. Employees go into schools to facilitate interesting activities for kids. It has reached over 7000 students across Western Australia in the past 18 months.

The future is clear

Spectrum has a very clear plan for its future – and that is not to exist nor need to exist. The group is working hard to make itself irrelevant.

“In an ideal world what we are striving towards is this group not being needed,” Ms Connolly said.

“It would just be the way that we work. It’s not something that we would have to think about, it would just be part of our work culture.”

To learn more about creating a diverse oil and gas industry, subscribe now to our newsletter and join our exclusive ‘AOG Diversity and Inclusion (Formerly AOG Women)’ group on LinkedIn here.

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