Diversity and Inclusion Champions
What is a Champion and Champions Network?
Agency heads are accountable for ensuring a diverse workforce and safe and inclusive workplaces.
To raise awareness of diversity issues many agencies have established diversity champions.
The role of a Champion is to promote and champion equal access and inclusion for employees who are members of diversity groups and employee diversity networks, advocate good practice relating to employment policies and processes and provide leadership to drive diversity and inclusion employment initiatives and organisational change, to create inclusive workplaces that value diversity.
Diversity champions are generally senior officers who are not formally responsible for implementation and monitoring of diversity strategies and initiatives (which is usually the agency HR area). They are officers who have a particular interest in the area and are keen to make a broader corporate contribution to the culture of the agency.
Champion arrangements vary between agencies. Some agencies have champions for diversity and inclusion more broadly, while others have champions who focus on specific areas such as disability, gender, cultural and linguistic diversity and LGBTIQ+. In many agencies an Indigenous Champion will also support the implementation of the Agency’s Reconciliation Action Plan.
To support the agency champions, there are currently a number of cross-agency champion networks:
- APS Disability Champions Network (Chair: Secretary David Fredericks and Secretariat: APSC)
- Indigenous Champions Network (Chair: Secretary Ray Griggs and Secretariat: NIAA)
- Women in Leadership Champions Network – recently established
These networks allow champions to share best practice, raise issues of significance and contribute more broadly in relation to diversity and inclusion issues across the APS.
Regardless of the area of focus, true diversity champions share some of these similar qualities:
- demonstrate inclusive leadership
- are visible and make the time to understand their role in lobbying for change
- model and promote the values and benefits of diversity and inclusion
- make diversity a top priority every time they speak
- facilitate conversation with employees and others to raise awareness about diversity and inclusion issues (both internally and externally)
- contribute ideas about improving our workplaces
- engage with other senior leaders and managers to represent the perspectives of their diversity cohort/s.
- promote to their peers, encourage and support managers and employees, to develop and implement inclusive practices based on diversity.
- act as an information resource for employees who want to know more about diversity and inclusion, as well as employers, supervisors, or managers who need updates on the implementation and success (or lack thereof) of new inclusion policies
What can you do?
Ask about your agency champions. Does your agency have a champion to support you or someone you are an ally for?
Find out if your agency champion is a member of a champions’ network and if not, encourage them to join.
If your agency doesn’t have champions speak to your HR team and seek out a SES sponsor you think would be a great advocate. You can also reach out to other agencies who have established well-respected Champions or networks and learn from them.