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John Deere: Inclusive employer

John Deere Australia and New Zealand has been awarded Inclusive Employer status for the third year in a row. Image: John Deere Australia and New Zealand.

John Deere was awarded the Diversity Council Australia’s Inclusive Employer Status for 2023-24. Roads & Infrastructure Magazine learns more about the company’s ethos and principles, as well as what went into achieving the milestone.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are all essential components of healthy cultures within any company.

John Deere is one such company that exemplifies such qualities through numerous actions. 

It believes that by strengthening the diversity of its workforce, John Deere can give everyone their chance to leap forward. It’s why the company celebrates diversity, champions equity, and promotes inclusiveness so every employee can make the greatest impact as their true self. Its efforts have been honoured for multiple years as an open and inclusive employer of choice. 

Now the Diversity Council Australia (DCA) has awarded John Deere Australia and New Zealand Inclusive Employer Status for 2023-24, recognising the company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.

DCA announced the 82 employers to earn a place on the list, with John Deere being one of only six employers to receive the title three times, having previously been recognised in 2021-22 and 2022-23.

To make the list, participants must prove their commitment to diversity and inclusion by having employees complete an in-depth survey. This helps map the state of inclusion in their respective workplace and produce results that exceed national benchmarks on key measures.

John Deere Australia Aftermarket team members celebrating World Inclusion Day recently, (L-R) Kurt Petersen, Ravi Nayak, Anjana Nipuna, and Damith Gunaratne. Image: John Deere Australia and New Zealand.
John Deere Australia Aftermarket team members celebrating World Inclusion Day recently, (L-R) Kurt Petersen, Ravi Nayak, Anjana Nipuna, and Damith Gunaratne. Image: John Deere Australia and New Zealand.

John Deere commenced its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) journey in Australia & New Zealand in 2019. 

It focused on leadership education and established a DEI Council primarily comprised of its Executive Leadership Team. Leaders were taken on the journey to understand what DEI is and its business case. The Executive Team recognised that without leadership buy-in and alignment, DEI would continue to be another ‘HR initiative’ focusing on compliance and programs rather than becoming an integrated part of its DNA.

The education and programs developed by John Deere followed the Deloitte Diversity and Inclusion Model. It recognised that leaders need to take the business on a journey and adjust as the company matures in this space. John Deere recommends this approach to other organisations and would retake the same approach if it were starting out.

What achievement means

John Deere Australia and New Zealand Managing Director Luke Chandler says achieving Inclusive Employer Status for the third year in a row was a proud moment.

“Each year, this assessment has provided us with valuable insight on where to focus our efforts to ensure we offer an inclusive workplace for everyone,” he says. “An inclusive workplace is not the result of the actions of one, but the actions of many.”

As Head of People and Culture at John Deere Australia and New Zealand, Camilla Kelly has led the company’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) journey. She recognised the importance of taking the time and effort to truly understand DEI.

“DEI is multi-layered, requiring time, dedication, and a holistic approach to fully understand its complexities,” Kelly says. “It can challenge deeply held beliefs and raise difficult questions. It’s not about checkboxes or quotas. It’s interwoven in everything we do and everything we want to be.

“We have taken the time and energy to expand knowledge across the company – not just talk. Our policies, talent selection criteria and workplace practices have been updated, including introducing industry-leading gender-neutral parental leave. 

“We’ve also worked on developing leadership capabilities and implementing DEI frameworks that empower everyone to lead initiatives that move the needle on DEI.”


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New programs

John Deere’s Australia Aftermarket team recently led such an initiative, holding an event at the Brisbane office to celebrate World Inclusion Day. Staff were encouraged to share their personal stories and food from their cultural backgrounds. It was also an opportunity to discuss their perspectives on inclusion.

Aftermarket Marketing and Communications Specialist Laura Pozniak-Elphick is one such John Deere team member who took part in the World Inclusion Day event.

“Inclusion is all about creating a work environment where everyone feels respected,” Pozniak-Elphick says. “You should feel like you can bring your true self to work every day, and John Deere really embraces that.

“While your colleagues always try to be their most professional selves, it’s important to remember they are individuals with families and lives outside work. Someone could be smiling on the outside but struggling on the inside, so we need to be mindful of each other and be as kind and inclusive as possible.

“If your corporate values are rooted in diversity and inclusion, that extends to your ability to recruit the best people, ultimately elevating your whole business. I think there’s also a halo effect where a company is a good corporate citizen. They’re more likely to offer their products and services in the best possible way,” she says.

With innovation as one of John Deere’s key values, Kelly says diversity and inclusion are paramount to the company’s success.

“As a smart industrial company, we need both diverse talent and an inclusive culture to develop this competitive advantage,” she says.  

This article was originally published in the March edition of our magazine. To read the magazine, click here.

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