Evaluation highlights the effectiveness of evidence-based inclusion initiatives
SYSTRA ANZ, an engineering company specialising in public transport and mobility solutions, have discovered opportunities to expand their diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives by evaluating their Women in STEM program using the STEM Equity Evaluation Portal.
The STEM Equity Evaluation Portal, from the Office of Australia’s Women in STEM Ambassador, is a user-friendly resource that helps organisations to evaluate their equity initiatives and share what works.
SYSTRA’s Women in STEM program focuses on attracting and retaining women, with high-level goals of changing policies around harassment, increasing access to STEM programs, and eliminating the gender pay gap. Other objectives include increasing men’s participation in gender equity initiatives and improving access to parental and carer entitlements.
Nancy Nguyen, People and Culture Advisor from SYSTRA, is responsible for endorsing and tracking the progress of SYSTRA’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives.
“Over the years, we’ve tried different strategies to increase the number of women at our company with varying success. We found early on that hiring quotas were not effective on their own and have since focused on flexibility, engagement, and other inclusion directed initiatives which have been effective.”
SYSTRA’s gender equity measures have seen them achieve gender parity at the executive level, and they’ve seen a 10% increase in the number of women within their workforce over the past five years. However, Nancy believes their efforts have plateaued.
“We are undergoing this evaluation to identify weaknesses in our DEI strategy and break the ceiling to further our progress.”
“Examining our stakeholders during the evaluation process highlighted an opportunity for us to influence gender equity practices in our joint ventures, and with subcontractors. We plan to roll out a gender equity policy and mandatory sexual harassment training for these stakeholders so that the project operations align with our greater company values.”
Completing the evaluation also identified an opportunity for SYSTRA to improve their mentoring program by collecting feedback from the employees who participate in the program.
“It is valuable information, especially since our partnerships with TechGirls and local universities have engaged SYSTRA women engineers and project managers through mentoring activities.”
For anyone who is unsure about what they need for their evaluation, Nguyen recommends using the National Evaluation Guide, Evaluation Planning Tool, and example evaluations to interpret what is needed for each section.
“Using these resources helped me identify hidden stakeholders, differentiate between similar sounding goals, and plan survey feedback.”
Nancy was one of the first people to create a user profile on the Portal and begin an evaluation. As an early adopter, she was supportive and generous in helping identify opportunities to improve the Portal.
“The team, especially Dr Isabelle Kingsley, is very responsive so if you experience any problems with the website, reach out,” Nguyen adds.
SYSTRA ANZ became a Women in STEM Decadal Plan Champion in 2022, reflecting its commitment to this important issue.
“We feel very strongly about the ability for all people from diverse backgrounds, ages and genders to access STEM skills,” says Alana Newbrook, SYSTRA’s CEO.
“Not only does it help you think critically and solve problems, but it is at the cutting edge of enabling us to solve global issues such as efficient resource usage, population growth, sustainability and digital technology.”