If you have a homogeneous workforce you end up with the same perspectives – the same approach – without any variation. If you don’t have any individual differences, then you don’t have any innovation. You don’t have any creativity.
Pensar is passionate about diversity. We recognise each job as different, its clients as different and ensure our methodology changes to add the most value to each unique project.
Diversity and inclusion at Pensar
Among our 150+ employees are people from Asia, Latin America, South Africa and Europe, many levels of skill and ability and ranging in age from 20 to 62 (Even younger if you count those 17 and 18-year-olds on our undergraduate and graduate programs).
But diversity extends beyond race, ethnicity and gender. What it’s really about, when you peel it back, is unique differences that we all have as individuals. This includes education, religion, physical ability and disabilities, marital status, political activity, motivations, experiences, where you live and so on.
So, the type of diversity that is good for the workforce is whatever unique characteristics individuals bring with them. The challenge for us is to make sure we offer a workplace that accepts and values those individual differences. A core focus at Pensar is to make sure that we have an inclusive workplace.
Diversity is about capturing talent
Former Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane made the point in 2015 that diversity wasn’t about ticking a box or meeting a quota, or even good PR. It was, he said, “about capturing talent, it is about boosting innovation, it is about encouraging productivity.”
Reese Deaves, Director of Civil Infrastructure at Pensar, has hired numerous new staff with what would be considered diverse backgrounds and says in each case they brought something unique and valuable to the organisation.
One of them, Eduardo Poley, a Brazil national who is now a Project Engineer in Pensar’s Civil Infrastructure Division, had unrivalled industry experience – but because none of it was in Australia, had been overlooked by numerous other employers.
“He had trouble getting a job, and in fact could not get many interviews, due to not working here previously,” Reese says of Eduardo.
We need to make our workplaces attractive
Pensar’s efforts in the area of workplace diversity have paid off, not just for the unique individuals we employ but the company as a whole. Pensar’s achievements in the area of diversity include:
- A workplace in which 13% of employees are female
- Corporate memberships with organisations such as the Diversity Council Australia, and the National Association of Women in Construction
- Key people involved in mentoring programs with Indigenous students
- Involving key people in mentoring women, via the Women on the Tools forum
- Indigenous strategies and protocols for engaging and maintaining good working relationships with Aboriginal communities, and supporting Indigenous-owned supplier groups so that they can grow their businesses, employ more people and do further training and development
- Cultural awareness training as part of the induction process
- Tours with the traditional custodians of land upon which Pensar employees will be working
There really are many levels and multiple approaches we need to take to make sure that diversity is part of the company culture. With the skills shortages that we’ve experienced over the last few years, we need to make sure that we are not excluding people that have the suitable skill sets for the jobs that we offer, but also to make sure we offer an inclusive working environment for people to want to come and work for us – unique people with a rich tapestry of individual differences will only add value to Pensar.