Inclusion at Work Week
Why it's important to me. And we

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This #InclusionAtWorkWeek we’re taking a moment to share what inclusion means to us, at Folk.

The Diversity Council of Australia is the independent not-for-profit peak body leading diversity and inclusion in workplaces, and we’re proud to have been involved in the inaugural #InclusionAtWorkWeek with DCA which ran from 14 to 18 November 2022.

The week-long campaign celebrates diversity and inclusion in Australian workplaces and encourages us to share why diversity and inclusion is important to us.

Folk became a member of the DCA just over two years’ ago, joining more than 1,100 organisations committed to taking action towards creating inclusive workplaces. The opportunity to become a member came with many others; mostly to reflect on our own working and recruiting practises, and consider how we design inclusive experiences for diverse audiences. You can read more about our becoming a member (and reflections on Netflix’s Coded Bias) in our Unconscious by us journal post.

Here’s what each of us at Folk had to say:

I went along to the launch of the Minderoo Foundation Indigenous Employment Index earlier this year. In amongst the stats was this:  50% OF INDIGENOUS INTERVIEWEES REPORTED DIRECT OR INDIRECT RACISM CURRENTLY AND THROUGHOUT THEIR CAREERS.

So in Australia, in 2022, more than half of Indigenous people experience racism at work. That’s rubbish and the workplaces where that happens should be ashamed. Everyone has a right to meaningful and safe work. 

Everyone has rich life experience and stories that make work a better place to be. In the type of work we do at Folk that diverse perspective helps people to suspend judgement. It brings understanding, compassion and empathy. And in Folk’s world that means we do better work that help organisations to connect more powerfully with their many and varied audiences.

Employers and workplaces need to recognise the value of diversity and embrace it. For better workplaces and better work.

Michael Broadhead (he/him)
Managing Director

Diversity and inclusion is important to me because it continuously offers opportunities to be challenged, to learn and to grow. When people have different upbringings, cultures, context of existence, experiences – they bring unique ways of thinking to the work we do. What I might see as an obvious answer or perspective can be turned on its head by someone with a different world view to me, and I am challenged to think differently or look through a different lens. That, to me, is where the really exciting ideas or opportunities come from.

Jo Paterson (she/her)
Senior Strategic Designer

Building a diverse and inclusive workplace is absolutely key to the work we do and our design practice. Diversity of thought drives innovation and makes for more holistically designed products and services.

The experience of having people from different backgrounds and with different life journeys, come together to solve problems creates a richness of perspectives and a melding of interesting ideas and concepts. 

For us internally, creating a culture where everyone feels empowered to speak-up knowing that their unique perspective will be heard means that everyone is contributing to their fullest potential – which is exactly what we want.

Lou Helliwell (she/her)
Experience Design Director

It’s about diversity of thought. And… it’s the thought – that diversity brings – that counts. 
Cause and effect.
If everyone’s thinking the same, somebody (or nobody) is really thinking.
It’s a great cause. With a great effect.

Diversity + Inclusion = Belonging.  
A proof point of authentic, vs claimed, diversity and inclusion is… Belonging. 
No tokenism or residue of “I’ve contrivedly been included”. Rather, “I’m a part of this” (and vice versa, hopefully). 

Graham Barton (he/him)
Creative Director

To me, diversity and inclusion at work isn’t about filling a quota, it’s about actively building a team of humans that think, feel, and express differently, both to others and through their work, and continuing to show-up for this. Hiring diversely is one thing, but unless everyone continues to feel supported, respected, and appreciated, then the wrong intention was there in the first place.

Kiara Quig (she/her)
Product Designer

All the subjects we cover in our professions require a sense of understanding and empathy to the everyday person. Without a wide variety of ideas within Folk we‘re only we catering to a specific set of people. Modelling our work on a wide range of ideas and thinking is Human Centred design. Working with a more diverse team builds confidence, I feel people are more comfortable to be themselves, celebrate themselves and speak their minds.

Andy Hearne (he/him)
Senior UI Designer

Diversity and inclusion in (and outside) the workplace is important to me because it allows people to be. Being able to be yourself builds confidence, respect and benefits all involved.

Nicole Sievert (she/her)
Business Performance & Insights Manager

To me, it’s about considering and building safety into everything we do (among ourselves, our clients, and research participants) – where everyone’s voice is heard and contributes to that space. It’s about reflection, listening, openness, collaboration and respect. 

Mel Stenner (she/her)
Strategic Designer

Feeling heard and respected is something I really value about our workplace. People coming together from different backgrounds, with different opinions and perspectives brings diversity in thought, problem solving abilities, and it means we can create things that are really special and unique, particularly when everyone feels that sense of inclusion and support. 

Nikki Moffat (she/her)
Senior Account Manager

Inclusive workplaces, in my opinion, share the following traits: 

- Employees have a voice and aren’t worried about sharing what they have to say, in a way that’s comfortable for them.

- When a colleague voices their opinions (respectfully, and mindfully of course), they are received with empathy (something we as designers should have in abundance).

- Employees feel valued and have a sense of belonging (easy to know without asking, people stay in the jobs longer, and happily so).

- Employees are treated equally and have equal opportunity.

- Workplace celebrates and embraces diversity.

Unfortunately, it’s much easier to create a perception that a workplace is inclusive. It’s much, much harder to be inclusive.

Ranjeet Elkunchwar (he/him)
Senior UX Consultant

A workplace without diversity is a workplace devoid of breadth of values, ideas and beliefs – Without an abundance of these attitudes and lived experiences our perceptions would become dull, and the end result of our work would fall on deaf ears.

Cas Nolan (he/him)
Senior Digital Strategist

Diversity and inclusion to me is less about the head count and having an even spread of cultures and nationalities in the workplace. Rather it is more about respecting the unique needs, perspectives, and potential of all the team members.

Laurence Publico (he/him)
Junior Product Designer

Inclusion at work matters to me because of all the different perspectives, experiences and ways of thinking, learning from each other to create something great.

Beatrix Sheldrick (she/her)
Senior Digital Project Manager

It’s nice to work at a place where people genuinely feel valued, are heard and comfortable to be themselves, which in turn creates a feeling of a supportive and inclusive environment. For clients and projects, it ensures we bring different ways of thinking and greater creativity. 

Gemma Dittl (she/her)
Client Services Director

For me, it's about broadening your own perspective. It's about respect and acceptance not only for yourself, but for others – because once you shed all the layers, we’re all just human.

I think when a company or organisation fosters and nurtures a diverse and inclusive working environment, it’s living and breathing evidence that you can have cohesion despite individual differences.

Thara Amerin (she/her)
Senior Digital Project Manager

For me, good design is inherently about diversity and inclusion. To create ‘good design’, you need a diversity of perspectives. You need to embrace different viewpoints, worldviews and ways of being in the world. Design is not about an individual’s creation. It has to work for a diverse range of people and serve a purpose.  

The more diverse the perspectives and the more inclusive you are, the better a piece of design can be. Good design isn’t exclusive and when design is at its best, it works for everybody. 

Everyone should be able to experience good design, everyone can be included, and everyone can benefit. 

Good design is universal. And that’s why I love design and working at a design company that celebrates diversity and inclusion like Folk. 

Tim Alexander (he/him)
Lead Product Designer

At Folk, it’s important for us to keep talking about diversity and inclusion – we’re committed to continuing to learn, to keep the conversations going, and to keep building diversity and inclusion into our culture and the work we do with clients.  Even more important is meeting words with action; making purposeful and conscious decisions around how to truly build diversity and inclusivity into our teams and products and services. We’ll continue to reflect and learn – respectfully and humbly along the way.

Keep learning about Inclusion At Work (Week) by: