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Diversity and Inclusion

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‘Diversity’ refers to all the ways in which we differ. It includes visible differences such as gender, age, ethnicity, physical appearance, mobility and nationality, as well as underlying differences in thinking, religion, sexual orientation, culture and family status. ‘Inclusion’ refers to creating a work environment and culture where all differences are valued, respected and utilised.

Toyota’s commitment was formalised under a Diversity and Inclusion Policy, published in October 2019, to ensure equality and fairness are applied consistently and without bias. It extends to all areas of the business.

A couple of inter-department teams meet regularly to develop projects that support these objectives and create a welcoming work environment.

A key achievement in 2019 was the roll-out of stage one of unconscious bias training. Stages two and three will be made available in 2020. These courses help people to recognise inequity in the thinking, actions and behaviour of themselves and others, and how to mitigate and manage it.

Other activity includes:

Culture and ethnicity

Our first step is to gather better data to understand potential issues around employees’ cultures and ethnicities, and whether barriers exist to anyone’s learning or career or their sense of belonging at TNZ. We are examining how this can be improved in our communications to staff, from when they first join the company.

Māori became an official language in 1987 but is only spoken by about 3% of New Zealanders. To encourage its wider learning and acceptance, dual-language signage was added around the head office and well-known phrases and welcomes were posted during Māori Language Week in September.

As a fun activity to celebrate diversity, morning tea is planned to which employees will be invited to bring food from their cultures.

Gender

Toyota’s attendance at career expos now has an equal gender split. Recruitment posters, handouts and social media recruitment campaigns feature stories of female employees and technicians. See this video here.  

The annual Toyota Retail Graduate Programme, which has run since 2014, has predominantly attracted male applicants. To change perceptions of the career opportunities at Toyota Stores and attract more women to apply in 2020, we profiled the work of a female graduate; View here.

TNZ’s corporate recruitment process requires gender-neutral language. Both men and women are represented on the recruitment panel to reflect different views and insulate against unintentional bias.

A parental leave guide was published in May 2019 to support prospective parents working at TNZ with clear guidance, helpful tips and information on:

  • What to do before leaving: such as making a formal application for leave and a return-to-work plan. It describes what happens to staff benefits, salary reviews, KiwiSaver, the TNZ pension plan, health care and company property
  • What happens while on leave: for example, agreeing on a communication plan for parents to stay informed of company activity and department changes
  • Expectations on returning to work: including options for part-time hours or getting back into full-time work straight away

Disability

One in four New Zealanders identifies as being disabled, and they are three times less likely to be employed as able-bodied people.

TNZ’s head office has applied to Accessibility Tick for recognition as a workplace supportive of people with a range of visual, hearing, chronic health, mental health, communication and physical difficulties.

This year we conducted a site self-assessment. This was followed by an external audit of facilities’ ease of access and potential hazards, attitudinal or cultural barriers. Nine areas of competency were reviewed: Commitment, Physical Environments, Employer Support/Workplace Adjustments, Communication and Marketing, Products and Services, Information and Communication Technology, Recruitment and Selection, Career Development, and Suppliers/Partners.

Improvements have been included in short-term (12-month) and five-year action plans, which will be reviewed annually. This will assist our understanding of the needs of a broader range of employees and customers. We expect to gain certification before the end of 2020.

The Accessibility Tick

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Age

We wish to support employees at all ages and stages of their careers and have begun by mapping the age distribution of employees to better inform our plans.

Our immediate focus is on those approaching retirement. This includes exploring a stepped withdrawal from the workplace, such as through part-time or contract opportunities, to ensure valuable knowledge and experience are not lost. It may also encompass upskilling aged workers, as well as wider considerations such as pensions and financial advice, and social activities to ease the transition.

The demographic review also indicates that under-35-year-olds tend not to stay as long with TNZ as other age groups, so we will examine how we can make the workplace more appealing to this group.

Work/Life balance

We are working to assist all staff to maintain a healthy balance of work, family and lifestyle by exploring different ways of working. In 2018 we began a selective trial of flexible work hours.

After four weeks, participating employees and managers were surveyed to determine how well it was working. A clear appetite emerged favouring flexibility, which suited personal work patterns and gave some employees better scope to accommodate the fixed schedules of their dependants. Many managers reported that their staff appeared happier, and appreciative of the ability to work in a manner more adaptable to their personal routines.

This resulted in flexible hours being offered more widely across the company (pending management approval), but events quickly overtook this with the arrival of the COVID-19 virus to New Zealand shores and the mandatory working at home under the nationwide lockdown. See here for the initiatives put in place.