Champions Creating Cultures of Care

During our Champions for Change summit held in April, Roger Gray (CEO Port of Auckland) and Peter Reidy (CEO KiwiRail) shared with us the invaluable experiences and unique challenges they’ve each faced on their journey toward diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within their respective organisations. These stories provided a testament to their dedication as Champions for Change, highlighting their achievements, ongoing efforts, and the vital lessons learned along the way.

A pivotal theme that emerged from both Champions’ experiences was the critical role of ‘care’ as a driving force behind their organisations’ DEI initiatives. For both Port of Auckland and KiwiRail, the physical safety of team members is paramount. Beyond health and safety measures, care also serves as the foundation for creating authentic and inclusive cultures. It is by prioritising care that organisations are able to foster a true sense of belonging in the workplace.

For Port of Auckland, care is embedded in the organisation’s DEI strategy through its focus on making safety fundamental.  This focus is integral to the strategy’s initiative to ‘Strengthen our Mana,’ and is the top priority to be executed following the initial planning and stakeholder engagement phase of their DEI strategy. With safety as a cornerstone, Port of Auckland aims to build a culture where care is intrinsic, contributing to a sense of empowerment among its team members. By prioritising the safety of its team, Port of Auckland can confidently and effectively focus on its core business, celebrate its diversity, and ultimately realise its full potential to deliver for Aotearoa New Zealand.

In a similar vein, KiwiRail underscored ‘Care and Protect’ or ‘Manaakitanga’ as a central tenet of its value system, emphasising that care and protection extend beyond mere health and safety. As with Port of Auckland, the focus on protection and safety is particularly relevant given the physical nature of KiwiRail’s workplace and the inherent risks involved. The organisation is committed to not just providing material care and protection but also to ensuring a wraparound, holistic approach to care. Through targeted networks dedicated to uplifting underrepresented communities within the organisation, individuals are empowered to bring their whole selves to work. In fostering a secure and inclusive work environment through a culture that puts the care and safety first, KiwiRail is enabling the shift of mindsets and behaviours organisation-wide.

Reflecting on the summit’s discussions, it is clear that nurturing care and protection can lead to the cultivation of a truly inclusive workplace culture. By making care a cornerstone of belonging, organisations can realise their commitments to valuing and protecting every individual. It is this dedication to caring for work teams that paves the way for true diversity, equity, and inclusion within the workplace.