Gender Equality Case Study: Australia Post

Case Study

(9) Professional development, networking, mentoring and sponsorship

Initiative Description

ProjectMe is a personal and career development program designed specifically to help inspire, energise and connect our women across our business. This program gives women the opportunity to develop themselves, grow their confidence, networks and put their hand up for opportunities where they may have previously not felt they could. ​

Over seven weeks, participants undertake learning through videos, workbooks, homework and discussion in group mentoring sessions facilitated by an Australia Post Group mentor (circle leads). Circle Leads are volunteers from the business who undergo a selection process and training to prepare them for this role.

Context

We found that we had higher levels of turnover and low lower levels of promotion within our female frontline workforce compared to our male workforce. When exploring why this was the case the following was revealed:​

Women worked in high male dominated environments and often only knew a few other females at Post​

Women did not feel confident to apply for higher duties and opportunities because of the makeup of the business​

ProjectMe was designed to help provide women with the tools, skills and knowledge to be more confident to apply for further opportunities but also allow them to connect with other women in the business, outside of their direct working teams. ​

ProjectMe was created in 2015, because at the time there were no ready-made programs that spoke to women at all stages of their career and lives (most were aimed at professionals/white collar and the content we trialled with our team members didn’t resonate). Prior to this, Australia Post had been using off-the-shelf product and the feedback on the program was that the content wasn’t relatable.

Action

  1. Partnered with an external consultancy, Inkling to co-create ProjectMe​
  2. Launched ProjectMe in 2015​
  3. Feedback was collected with each program/cohort​
  4. Refreshed and relaunched in 2019

Result

To date, 1528, women across Australia Post have graduated from ProjectMe since its launch. A recent internal study indicated that:

    • Engagement was higher by 3% for women who had completed ProjectMe
    • Graduates of ProjectMe increased their likelihood of being promoted
    • Rates of retention was significantly higher for ProjectMe graduates

A pre and post program self evaluation of our 2021 graduates saw our participants rated them as being more resilient, feeling more confident in driving their career and improved relationship with their leaders once completing ProjectMe.

Lessons Learnt

  1. The power of connection. One of the key highlights from the program participants is the opportunity to connect with women from other areas of the business that they may not have otherwise, as well as that connection with their circle lead
  2. Over the years, we have evolved the training of our Circle Leads as they play such a pivotal role – they now complete facilitator and coaching training as well as general Circle Lead training
  3. We also recognised the significance of the people leader and have involved them more actively in our refreshed version- they now attend briefings and sit in on the final circle
  4. Over the years we have also improved our engagement of alumni and embed their learning further through other internal opportunities and encouraging them to apply for the role of circle leads

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