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Vulnerable and accountable leaders key to psychologically safe workplaces — Gold Industry Group

Gold Fields’ Vice President People and Engagement (Australasia) Karen Bradshaw, said business leaders had to provide workplaces where people felt empowered to be their best selves, starting with accountability of the individual and by the individual to call out inappropriate behaviour.

“We talk about unlocking the potential of our assets, but this starts with unlocking the potential in our people,” Ms Bradshaw said.

“There has been a change in the standards of what is acceptable. Leaders have a significant role to play here, to hold people to account for their standards.”

West Coast Fever Head Coach Dan Ryan, fresh off leading the team to its maiden Super Netball League Premiership on July 3, brought a mining industry outsider’s perspective to the discussion and drew parallels between managing the culture in a high-performing sporting team to seeking similar outcomes in a high-performance workplace.

“If you see something and don’t say something you are a part of the problem,” Mr Ryan said.

“We are all responsible for holding each other to account.

“It is the responsibility for everyone to play their part. Everyone is just as important. If the buck stops with one person, the change doesn’t necessarily come.”

Ms Bradshaw said one of the biggest hurdles to achieve a respectful and inclusive workplace was the reluctance of people to speak up about incidents as they occurred. She said to fix this reluctance, leaders must be more observant and hold people to account for psychological safety.

“One of the things we know is people are uncomfortable in speaking up,” she said.

“There must be different pathways for raising issues. People must feel comfortable with their reporting avenues.”

Mr Klein agreed, saying change must be embraced by every worker in every office and on every site.

“We are very early on in this journey. Society wants change. It is all around us and the mining industry has showed us where we are at. The vast majority has to demand the respect,” Mr Klein said.

Ms Warburton said education would play an incredibly important role and help with establishing best practice across the business community.

“Not all resources companies have the same level of resources. The bigger companies sharing with the juniors is important,” Ms Warburton said.

“Between mining and other sectors, the level of conversation does not differ, but the starting point of where we are and where we need to go is different. We need to look across all of Australia for the solutions.”

Gold Industry Group Chair and Gold Fields Vice President of Legal and Corporate Affairs Kelly Carter said there was an invaluable opportunity for the sector to reposition itself and further leverage the ongoing work of the Gold Industry Group.

“Diversity and inclusion has long been at the core of the Gold Industry Group’s role and activities in strengthening the reputation of the gold sector with our stakeholders,” Ms Carter said.

“Reflected across everything we do nationally, our perception-changing National Gold Education Program continues to inspire thousands of students to consider careers in the gold industry and our Gold Jobs platform and communications profile women in the industry across a range of roles.

“Our influential diversity debates and leadership forums such as this are driving important discussions on key issues, and our support of women’s sport and education is highlighted through our landmark partnership with West Coast Fever, Netball WA and Shooting Stars.”


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