Will regulation create cultural change?

Recently, I was reviewing the “diversity reporting requirements” set out for ASX listed companies, namely:

  • All ASX listed companies with a December 31, 2011 balance date must now comply with the Corporate Governance Principles and Recommendations with 2010 Amendments (Recommendations).
  • Importantly, this means that these companies must now satisfy the diversity reporting requirements contained in the Recommendations in their annual reports.
  • The diversity requirements include an obligation on companies to establish and disclose a diversity policy, set “measurable objectives for gender diversity”, report on progress made each year towards achieving their diversity objectives and disclose the proportion of women they employ in their organisation, in senior executive positions and on their board.

(Thanks Freehills for the insights.)

As I read this I just wondered, “what does it really mean”? I have heard Gail Kelly say on many occasions – “what you focus on is what gets done”. Perhaps this reporting will result in organisations changing their practices, evolving corporate culture to be based on inclusion. I question though if having this reported on will lead to actions to address the massive imbalance – because as I said in my blog last week – this is a very complex issue.

It is at least one step in the right direction (one small step for man – one giant leap for diversity).

We are fast approaching International Women’s Day and there will be events around the country that will champion the cause of “we need more women in leadership”. It is becoming like Ground Hog Day; every year it’s the same thing.

Perhaps next year this reporting will give us insights into those organisations that are reaping the benefits of having a truly diverse work place. But this reporting is only for ASX listed companies – not privately held enterprises – so can we expect to see a shift in businesses practices across all segments of the community?

Well at least now we will be able to see what is going on with ASX companies… watch this space.

Naomi Simson is considered one of Australia’s ‘Best Bosses’. She is an employee engagement advocate and practices what she preaches in her own business. RedBalloon has been named as one of only six Hewitt Best Employers in Australia and New Zealand for 2009 and awarded an engagement scorecard of over 90% two years in a row – the average in Australian businesses is 55%. RedBalloon has also been nominated by BRW as being in the top 10 Best Places to Work in Australia behind the likes of Google. One of Australia’s outstanding female entrepreneurs, Naomi regularly entertains as a passionate speaker inspiring people on employer branding, engagement and reward and recognition. Naomi writes a blog and is a published author – and has received many accolades and awards for the business she founded – RedBalloon.com.au.

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