27 January, 2020

D&I award moves the dial at the 2018 AdAs

D&I award moves the dial at the 2018 AdAs

Celebrating drinks companies that champion diversity and inclusion will be a focus at the 2018 Australian Drinks Awards. Drinks Trade editor Hannah Sparks sat down with Diversity & Inclusion at Drinks Council Chair Denis Brown to hear his views on how the industry is moving the dial.

The Inclusive & Diverse Workplace Award recognises organisations that prioritise diversity and recognise the value of an inclusive workplace for individuals and their organisations.  

Entry into this category is recommended for organisations who demonstrate excellence in initiatives and strategies facilitating a diverse and inclusive workplace including people wellbeing initiatives, fair and equitable treatment of employees and corporate values/principles that incorporate cultural change to diversity and inclusion.  

Bacardi-Martini Managing Director Denis Brown explains why the award is an important step for the Australian drinks industry.

1. How does a business win the Inclusive and Diverse Workplace Award and what does it mean?

Judges will be looking for an organisation that involves its employees at all levels in creating and maintaining a diverse and inclusive workplace. The organisation should also demonstrate a proactive approach in the fair and equitable treatment of all employees and show evidence of how it is taking action to eliminate discriminatory attitudes and behaviours i.e. training, education, policies/ procedures for recruitment etc

These awards are to be independently judged by members of The Drinks Association Board. Once submissions are closed, completed applications with supporting statements and evidence will be supplied to our shortlisting panels for the judging process to commence. There will be three to four judges per award.

2. How do you hope the Inclusive and Diverse Workplace Award will resonate with the industry?

Like all the Drink awards, showcasing the real life examples by member companies encourages us all to raise our game.

3. Why are diverse and inclusive workplaces important to the industry?

Firstly, numerous research initiatives show that diverse and inclusive workplaces outperform non-inclusive environments across many metrics. On a people level the desire for inclusion is also quite obvious to me – you want people to bring their individual best, and the team/company/industry to achieve better results, managing inclusively will accelerate this.

On the flipside, it is hard to imagine leaders want ‘cliquey’ teams, where people feel excluded and don’t contribute fully.

We want the drinks industry to be an attractive place for people to want to work and to develop a long-term career. If we are not inclusive, I feel great people will be drawn to other industries and leave. At an industry level it is a long-term battle for great people and the drinks and the hospitality industry is ultimately a people business.

4. Do you think the drinks industry is moving the dial on diversity and inclusion?

Yes I do. I fortunately hear examples across the 28 member companies in the D&I Council meetings. I see leaders striving to evolve their workplaces to bring out the best in their people, and help their cultures move forward.

Also, at the council, where we have a spectrum of members from advanced to beginning, I hear examples of Councillors taking the ideas discussed back to their leadership teams and talking about real change. D&I is day-by-day cultural change, not a wall chart, so I see Councillors working hard to bring their ideas to life in their companies. 

I firmly believe we are making progress, even by raising awareness and discussing these issues. Surely a leader who is thinking about how they include everyone is making progress.

5. A recent report from LinkedIn Talent Solutions pronounced diversity as "the biggest game-changer' for hiring processes in 2018 - what are your thoughts on that?

It resonates with me. I am not surprised 78% of the 9000 talent acquisition professionals, across 39 countries rated diversity as ‘very/extremely important’. To me, it is quite natural HR Hiring managers would be looking for managers who can manage everyone in a team, encourage diverse ideas and view points to develop better plans.  

I also like the challenges and scepticism from various commentators that remind us all to keep this real. We are dealing with long-term change, and I am personally happy to celebrate progress, strive for more, rather than be overly negative and give up. Not everything is working everywhere, however that is no reason to give up.

6. How is the Diversity and Inclusion at Drinks Council evolving?

The Council is evolving well. From humble beginnings with a willing team of volunteers we have made great progress. We are finding our stride and the council is strengthening. We have defined our roles: Councillors, Sponsors and Ambassadors, and defined our projects for the year. I know we have significantly increased the awareness and number of activities promoting D&I across The Drinks Association this year vs the last few.  

7. What does the D&I Council have planned for 2018?

So far we have two events planned for this year. We will be hosting The Drinks Association's upcoming Network Breakfast "Leading In An Age of Inclusion" on June 26, where Dr Jennfer Whelan will be sharing ideas on how we can develop leadership practices to be more inclusive and therefore more successful.

And in September we will hold a ‘Future ready’ CEO session. I am also hoping we can launch a ‘reverse mentoring’ program in the fourth quarter to look at the different styles to help manage generation gaps.

Entry to the Contribution to Industry Awards will be via submission and is open to both member and non-member companies. To request submission documents, email The Drinks Association at awards@drinks.asn.au. The 2018 Australian Drinks Awards will be held on Thursday, September 13, at The Ivy in Sydney. Click here to read more about the awards.


Pictured main: Denis Brown with D&I councillors Lucy Nandi and Ashley Powell.