Diversity and inclusion

Wesfarmers considers building a diverse and inclusive workforce a key enabler for delivering our objective of satisfactory returns to shareholders. Our customers and stakeholders are diverse and to gain the best insight into their needs and expectations, and how to meet them, diverse and inclusive teams are required. A diversity of perspectives and backgrounds also strengthens creativity in teams. Creating an environment that attracts, retains and develops team members with a wide range of strengths and experiences ensures Wesfarmers is best equipped for future growth.

Wesfarmers strives to provide an inclusive work environment where everyone feels respected and safe. Wesfarmers believes everyone has a part to play in actively and intentionally behaving with inclusion in mind and that means encouraging, recognising and including the many facets and combinations of diversity that characterise the teams across the Group. We have developed an Inclusion Policy that aims to promote inclusion and foster diversity at all levels across the Group.

Wesfarmers continues to focus on achieving gender balance across all divisions and continuing to boost employment of Indigenous people. We track metrics on these two areas. In addition to this, our commitment to diversity and inclusion extends to all people and perspectives. Our businesses focus on various initiatives relevant to their workforce, industry and communities in which they operate. 

Inclusion

In 2019, Wesfarmers developed a new policy, the Wesfarmers Inclusion Policy, to replace the Gender Diversity Policy that had been in place since 2010. This new policy aims to encourage an inclusive work environment where everybody feels respected at work and includes fostering diversity in all its facets at all levels across the Group. A copy of this policy is available here.

Our Inclusion Policy requires our Board to set measurable objectives that are reported on within our Corporate Governance Statement each year. The objectives, which are used to measure our progress, are reviewed annually by the Board. Our objectives are: (i) to be and to offer an inclusive workplace; (ii) to ensure equitable and transparent people processes and practices; and (iii) to increase or sustain gender representation to achieve gender balance in teams.

Across the Group, each division has developed its own diversity and inclusion plan that focuses on multiple facets of diversity and inclusion, tailored to the specific needs of that division. Initiatives illustrating the varied work from across the Group are categorised below according to two of our three objectives: to be and to offer an inclusive workplace; and to ensure equitable and transparent people processes and practices. Progress against our third objective, to increase or sustain gender representation to achieve gender balance in teams, is described here.

To be and to offer an inclusive workplace

Each business within the Wesfarmers Group takes a bespoke approach to diversity and inclusion, dependent on strategic priorities, workforce demographics, industry and other variables. While diversity incorporates gender, each of the Group’s businesses actively focus on other dimensions of diversity for the benefit of team members and the diverse communities the business serves.

Building capability in inclusive leadership practices has continued to be a focus area for some of the businesses, to ensure managers and leaders are equipped with the skills to foster a sense of belonging amongst increasingly diverse teams.

Some areas of focus over the past year include:

  • Inclusion training: Bunnings and Wesfarmers Chemicals, Energy and Fertilisers provided learning programs for leaders and team members on practical solutions and supportive practices for inclusive work environments. At Bunnings this has been run with over 350 managers and store support leaders; at WesCEF the workshop is now part of their team member induction.
  • LGBTQI inclusion: Kmart Group and Bunnings introduced initiatives for inclusion of LGBTQI team members and customers. This included but was not limited to policy review, support networks, marking days of significance, accessing feedback on LGBTQI inclusion and support to enhance people practices across employee lifecycle.
  • Parental support: Officeworks, Target, and Bunnings commenced involvement in the Perinatal Wellness Workplace Research Program through Transitioning Well and Cope, funded by WorkSafe Victoria. This research program investigates effective support to men and women during the perinatal stage. The outcome will be the development of online programs, which will be made available for all team members of participating businesses.
  • Disability: Kmart has improved accessibility for customers with autism. In 2020 Kmart successfully trialled ‘Quiet Space’, offering customers the opportunity to shop in a low-sensory environment with reduced noise, lighting and distractions. Customer feedback through community partners has been overwhelmingly positive and a formal review of the trial will inform further rollout.

To ensure equitable and transparent people processes and practices

Wesfarmers Group businesses have implemented actions to ensure that their practices identify, support, and encourage a diversity of strengths, styles, and working arrangements for all team members. These practices differ by business depending on team member needs, industry, and business priorities.

Parental leave: Leave that is available irrespective of gender is regarded as a key enabler of performance, engagement and retention. All divisions provide competitive paid parental leave allowances that are reviewed periodically.

This year;

  • Wesfarmers Corporate Office, Wesfarmers Chemicals, Energy and Fertilisers and Officeworks made improvements to their Parental Leave policies. Improvements include the provision of superannuation for paid and unpaid components of parental leave and inclusion of caregivers of any gender.
  • Kmart Group and Officeworks have partnered with external organisations to provide non-financial support to families.

Flexible working: Flexibility in all its forms is encouraged across Wesfarmers and is regarded as a key enabler of an inclusive work environment, team member empowerment and productivity. Wesfarmers commitment to flexibility has been further demonstrated during the disruption associated with the COVID-19 crisis where large numbers of team members have been enabled to work from home. Teams across the Group were supported with equipment and technology, as well as health and wellbeing support. This year Kmart Group conducted a review of the flexible work options offered by both Kmart and Target. The resulting policy and framework titled Flex Where, Flex When, Flex Well is being gradually rolled out from May 2020.

Gender pay equity: A Group review of gender pay equity has been conducted annually since 2010, with results reviewed by divisional Managing Directors and the Wesfarmers Remuneration Committee and Board. Any gaps are analysed to ensure they can be explained by market forces which may include different rates of pay in different industries, location, the relative supply and demand for different qualifications or specialist skills, individual performance and experience.

Across all managerial levels a pay gap of no more than five per cent exists, with the pay gap at General Manager having significantly narrowed from 7.1 per cent in 2019 to 2.7 per cent in 2020.

Wesfarmers’ businesses also conduct their own initiatives supporting the financial health of their team members in innovative ways. For instance, Bunnings launched ‘Financial Wellness’ workshops specifically targeting women, to help address the high figure (30 per cent) of women retiring into poverty.

Team member (employee) standards

Wesfarmers is deeply committed to treating all team members with respect and fairness. The policies and frameworks that support the Group’s day-to-day operations are designed to ensure all relevant universally recognised human rights are observed and safeguarded. Each division must comply with the principles of the Wesfarmers Code of Conduct and the Wesfarmers Equal Employment Opportunity Policy or incorporate these principles into their policies and procedures.

GRI 103-1, GRI 103-2, GRI 103-3, GRI 405-1