PODCAST: empathy and the road to success for everyone

Trans and gender-diverse employees who have found meaningful employment tend to stay in the same job, according to Pride in Diversity Associate Director, Mark Latchford.

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Transgender folk, when they're supported, have a great deal of commitment to their employer,” he says. 

"Listen to the employee - listen to their story, their experiences, their concerns, their ambitions.” - Latchford

In the latest podcast from Diversity Council Australia’s The Art of Inclusion series (co-published on bluenotes), Latchford explains why supporting diversity in the workforce is good for people and good for business.

Over the last few years Pride in Diversity has supported over 120 organisations and their employees during transition periods.

“We've helped [companies] help the individual, management and colleagues but the reality is many organisations really have not got their heads around some of the challenges transgender and gender diverse people have in joining an organisation, let alone succeeding within the organisation,” Latchford says.

“Most managers really want to get the best out of their employees - their most-productive, innovative, and committed [work]. The best way to do that is establish a frank and honest relationship.”

Latchford says there are a number of practical things workplaces can do to better include trans and gender diverse colleagues - such as simply listening.

“My advice is pretty straightforward. Listen to the employee - listen to their story, their experiences, their concerns, their ambitions,” he says. 

Latchford says the development of empathy between a manager and an employer is critical for productivity and success generally but it's particularly important in establishing the confidence of LGBTIQ+ employees.

When Aram Hosie began transitioning, he was initially confronted by the fact his workplace didn’t have any policies in place for trans employees.

“They essentially said ‘we don't know what to do about this but let's work it out together’,” he says.


Hosie says a key thing organisations can do is have a policy written down which says “we embrace diversity of all of its kind”.

He eventually wrote to his colleagues, with support from his manager, and received a few questions but overall they were happy for him.

“This is my experience but I absolutely cannot speak for everyone because I know other trans people sometimes experience the opposite," Hosie says.

“When I was first transitioning, every time someone would use the correct pronoun, it was really affirming and exciting but some people needed to go on a journey and won't necessarily get it right straight away.”

You can listen to the whole conversation in the podcast above.

Andrew Maxwell is host of The Art of Inclusion podcast and is Knowledge and Development Manager at Diversity Council Australia.

This podcast was originally published by the Diversity Council Australia and was co-published by bluenotes. Subscribe to The Art of Inclusion on your preferred player: iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify and Whooshkaa.

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The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.

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