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MGT5DPP Developing People And High Performance Organisations 2

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Case Study – Diversity and Inclusion at Red Telecom

Organisational Change Context

Red Telecom (‘Red’) is a multinational enterprise in the telecommunications services sector. Its principal business is to provide business and residential customers with a comprehensive range of mobile and fixed line broadband and voice services. Red operates throughout Oceania, with the majority of customers and infrastructure located in Australia and New Zealand. As part of a strategic refresh intended to improve outcomes and service for a range of stakeholders, Red recently launched a new diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiative titled Red’s Inclusive Strategy 2020 (commonly referred to as RISE). Red takes a broad approach to defining diversity, including all characteristics that make employees and customers different. Thus, Red defines diversity as including visible characteristics such as race, gender, age, and physical disabilities, as well as non-visible characteristics such as religion, educational background, social class, and non-visible impairments (e.g., mental health, chronic pain).

RISE identified a number of shortfalls in Red’s existing approach to D&I. For example, the project identified gender inequities such that the senior management team was almost entirely white, male and Australian while the majority of call centre and customer support personnel were female and from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) groups. RISE also identified inclusion issues for individuals with a disability. For example, employment records indicated that very few Red employees had disclosed a disability, and many customers with a disability indicated that the company website lacked important accessibility features and perceived that Red service staff discriminated against customers with a disability.

RISE also seeks to increase diversity within Red’s workforce by setting the following workforce targets to be met by 2020:

  • Increase women’s representation in senior leadership roles from 11% to 25% (50% representation by2025);
  • Increase LGBTIQ representation across all roles from 2.5% to8%;
  • Increase disability representation across all roles from 0.7% to5%;
  • Increase CALD representation in senior leadership roles from 9% to 15% (25% representation by2025).

Importantly, Red hopes that D&I will be ‘business as usual’ by 2020. To facilitate this transition and improve ‘buy in’ from across management, RISE sets Red’s broad D&I strategy, but different departments have discretion in how they implement the strategy. General managers are expected to work with Red’s HR department to develop specific programs to increase D&I within their work teams. Red’s HR department will ensure that the department-specific programs are aligned to RISE.

Problem Statement

The general manager for Red’s Customer Resolution Department has been in this role for approximately one year. Around the same time as RISE was launched, the Customer Resolution Department also underwent a significant restructure in which the entire department was moved to an Australian call centre that relies on multiple work teams, multiskilling of team members, and expanded Team Leader roles. Staff are feeling stressed and frustrated with their jobs, customers, colleagues and overseas counterparts as a result of the restructure.

The current Customer Resolution Department has a team structure. Teams include 8-15 frontline customer service representatives who report to a team leader (team size varies depending on the number of part-time staff in the team). Each team leader reports to both the Operations Manager and the General Manager. Among frontline customer service representatives, the majority (70%) are female, 42% are from a CALD background, less than 2% have disclosed a disability, and 3% openly identify as LBGTIQ. The department relies heavily on part-time staff, of whom 80% are female.

Among the department’s leadership team, only one team leader is female; the remaining team leaders, operations manager, and general manager are all male.


As a HR manager working with the Customer Resolution Department’s General Manager, design a learning and development program for the Team Leaders. Note that the proposed training and development program should clearly align with at least three of the General Manager’s aims and should take no more than 12 months to implement.

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