Lauren Jauncey, (formerly) Head of Diversity & Inclusion, Australia Post

There are few organisations in Australia that can boast a Diversity and Inclusion program as comprehensive as Australia Post’s. Particularly impressive is the range of career development programs on offer for women. Lauren Jauncey, former Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Australia Post, tells a very compelling story about their use of GLWS in a diversity context, within a mentoring program for high-potential female executives and the positive effect it has had for the career advancement of participants and the organisation.

It was within these mentoring sessions that an important theme started to emerge. For many of the executives, the struggle to manage their increased work demands without a knock-on negative toll on their relationships outside of work, was starting to have a significant effect on their overall sense of wellbeing. The cost to their personal wellbeing seemed to be particularly pertinent once the female executives reached a certain point in their career progression.

The importance of explicitly exploring and acting upon wellbeing became evident to Lauren Jauncey, the then Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Australia Post and so the GLWS was introduced as the diagnostic to assist the executives gain insight into the factors that affected their wellbeing and provide action points for what to do about it. This became an important element of the mentoring program.

We asked Lauren to tell us more about this successful initiative…

It was within these mentoring sessions that an important theme started to emerge. For many of the executives, the struggle to manage their increased work demands without a knock-on negative toll on their relationships outside of work, was starting to have a significant effect on their overall sense of wellbeing. The cost to their personal wellbeing seemed to be particularly pertinent once the female executives reached a certain point in their career progression.

The importance of explicitly exploring and acting upon wellbeing became evident to Lauren Jauncey, the then Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Australia Post and so the GLWS was introduced as the diagnostic to assist the executives gain insight into the factors that affected their wellbeing and provide action points for what to do about it. This became an important element of the mentoring program.

We asked Lauren to tell us more about this successful initiative…

“What has been so powerful for the participants is how tangible the outcomes are. The GLWS allows you to fast-track the coaching conversation and immediately identify which aspects of wellbeing need attention. The conversation very quickly becomes about brainstorming actions that will improve overall wellbeing. It’s such a positive and empowering tool.”

Lauren Jauncey, (formerly) Head of Diversity & Inclusion, Australia Post

What is the tenprogram and why was it introduced?

“Active mentoring and sponsorship make all the difference when it comes to advancing careers. Unfortunately, research shows that men are significantly more likely than women to be mentored and sponsored and are more satisfied with their rates of advancement.

We actively wanted to address this and we have therefore put in place a range of programs focused on female leadership development, mentoring and internal sponsorship. What we’ve tried to do is look at what support women need at specific transition points in their career path and design the programs accordingly.

We identified that once women got to a senior executive level, they have usually taken on large teams with large responsibilities and they’re managing a lot of stuff both in and outside of work. But what they lack in comparison to their male counterparts is internal sponsors. So we set up a mentoring program for women at this point in their career transition – the tenprogram.

The tenprogram was launched in 2013 and is a six month mentoring program for our talented executive-level female leaders with high potential for GM roles. We partner 10 female leaders with 10 members of our Management Committee (who are the top 50 leaders in Australia Post) and the mentors are men and women. Each executive is matched with a mentor outside of her direct area. This is intentional so as to encourage development of new relationships across the business and to foster new relationships that might not otherwise have been formed.

Over the six month mentoring period, they develop a great relationship and they also meet the other mentors involved in the program through a series of round table discussions. We have great success stories of women moving into diverse cross-business roles as a result of the program, that they would probably not have considered, had it not been for the relationship with their mentor and being exposed to new areas of the business.”

How is Wellbeing relevant to the issue of Diversity in the workplace?

“We all experience challenges to our sense of Wellbeing so I don’t want to make this a gender issue. But I think there is a different pressure that women tend to experience more, in that many women struggle trying to manage internal business pressures and external responsibilities outside of work. A lot of women experience a sense of needing to prove themselves at work and progress their career at the same rate as their male counterparts. As seniority and responsibilities increase at work, they are striving to progress without negatively impacting their relationships or responsibilities outside of work. So the pressure escalates. The outcome is that so often women put themselves last, which over time starts to affect their health and overall wellbeing.”

How is Wellbeing addressed in the mentoring process?

“This is the 3rd year we have offered the tenprogram and each time we’ve refined and developed the program. One thing that came out of the earlier programs was the struggle to manage the work/life blend and the effect this was having on their overall wellbeing. We wanted to actively address this need and the GLWS was the perfect solution to address this.

The GLWS is completed by the executives at the beginning of the program so that tangible development needs can be identified upfront. Each participant receives a personal feedback session, where we explore their responses and the areas that are critical to their personal sense of wellbeing. It is then each participant’s choice as to how much detail they wish to share with their mentor.

From an executive coaching perspective it works so well, because is sets the scene from the outset.”

What are the benefits of adding the GLWS® as a Wellbeing diagnostic at the beginning of the mentoring program?

“GLWS gives us a huge benefit – it fast tracks the coaching conversations. Cuts to the major challenges straight away. It allows us to get straight to the biggest issues from the outset. It’s deceptively powerful because it is such a simple and quick survey and yet it allows you to open up the conversation and get to the heart of the issues that are holding them back.

For those executives who are in sync and are in a great space, it allows the conversation around how and why things are so good at the moment. But we know wellbeing isn’t a constant state and the pressures and challenges we face change. So it’s valuable to identify what’s working so well at the moment and understand the important factors to each individual so they know what affects their wellbeing the most. This gets these important points on the radar and can be returned to later when things are not so great to redress the balance.

I also love the face validity, there’s no secret formula. It’s simply replaying what the person has said in a coherent and structured way, against a clear and sensible framework, that can then be acted upon.

The questions are thought provoking and direct so people can’t hide away from what is in there. So it is an eye opener and can be confronting for some people but the GLWS framework has been described in a way that allows people to really understand it and understand it in a productive and positive way. This is another critical point because the process doesn’t leave people feeling negative. It casts light on all facets of what is important to you and if you are out of sync, it pinpoints why. There are direct development action points and steps that can be taken to redress the balance and have a positive effect on wellbeing. This is one of the absolute strengths of the GLWS.”

What feedback have you received from executives about the GLWS and the wellbeing discussions?

“What has been so powerful for the participants is how tangible the outcomes are. Specific actions can be put in place off the back of feedback, straight away. This is what I can do to address this issue… this is having a strong impact on my overall wellbeing and here’s what I need to do improve it. It’s positive and empowering.

I’ve received feedback from participants after their sessions as to how valuable they’ve found it. One who I thought may have been sceptical found it really positive, and after sharing it with her mentor (who was new to the business), the mentor requested to complete GLWS too! There’s no higher praise than that.”

Lauren Jauncey
Founder Frankly Women