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News December 17, 2020

Universal Music Australia expands diversity & inclusion policy with greater focus on First Nations culture

Universal Music Australia expands diversity & inclusion policy with greater focus on First Nations culture
Pictured: UMA's George Ash (Photo credit: Daniel Boud)

Universal Music Australia (UMA) is expanding its Diversity and Inclusion program, notably including a new Indigenous Inclusion initiative.

Indigenous Inclusion was developed in partnership with Mirri Mirri, a First Nations-owned company dedicated to the understanding and awareness of Indigenous cultures, which has helped 5,000 employees of corporations build stronger, more effective relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) people and communities.

In UMA’s case, Mirri Mirri managing director, Paul Sinclair, hosted a series of cultural awareness sessions and interactive workshops to provide employees with a greater understanding of First Nations culture, including an exploration of key factors that contributed to systemic racism and social inequalities.

These sessions addressed unconscious bias in workplace cultures, recognising knowledge gaps, government policies and approaches, connection to country, transgenerational trauma, dispossession and more.

In addition, this partnership includes Mirri Mirri providing Cultural Protocol guidelines for every employee, to ensure a strong understanding and respect of ATSI culture, customs and protocols.

UMA has adopted a Mirri Mirri training program for its domestic artist talent and artist management, to support deeper understanding and to share core values.

The company is also launching an internship program for indigenous Australians, to expand the representation of their culture in the organisation.

UMA provides ongoing educational resources to employees and business partners to ensure the recruitment of an inclusive pool of candidates and reflect the rich diversity of the wider community.

George Ash, president of Universal Music Australia and New Zealand, said he is honoured to be part of the initiative, inspired by its potential, and proud of the company’s people.

“At Universal Music, Diversity & Inclusion is a priority both because it’s the right thing to do and because it’s the smart thing to do.

“Our work to continuously improve our program is part of our belief that these policies must be embedded in the company at a practical level, and lead by our people to achieve true cultural change,” he said.

“At Universal Music, we have a strong passion for social justice, for the advancement of Diversity & Inclusion, and the continued learning to deliver understanding and drive real and meaningful change.”

Added Janine Ashton, senior vice-president of human resources for Universal Music Australia & New Zealand: “Through these enhancements, we are working to further shape a workplace culture that is creative, competitive and, importantly, values diversity while recognising the many lived industry experiences.

“From the outset, our goal has been to partner with leaders in Diversity and Inclusion to help us implement a ‘gold standard’ program that brings our values to life, as shaped by our people and their ideas.

“This is part of our ongoing commitment to Diversity & Inclusion and we are proud to collaborate on our journey with leaders such as the Diversity Council of Australia, KPMG and Mirri Mirri, who have each helped to challenge us and foster in us a culture of continuous improvement.”

Mirri Mirri’s Paul Sinclair said he was impressed by the level of contribution, engagement and commitment by the UMA staff during the sessions.

“Staff were willing to share their thoughts and ideas, which helped to create an interactive and thought-provoking session,” he added.

Lisa Annese, CEO of Diversity Council Australia, the independent not-for-profit peak body leading diversity and inclusion in the workplace, said: “I commend UMA for taking practical steps to become a more diverse and inclusive organisation.”

UMA’s ongoing Diversity & Inclusion program first launched in 2018.

The idea was to build a safe environment that is progressive, supportive and recognises the differing needs of its people.

Future Flex offers flexible work hours, leave and locations of work. Parental Leave promotes a flexible, shared and gender-equal approach to raising children. It offers up to 18 weeks paid leave for employees with 5+ years of service to the company and 14 weeks paid leave for those with 1-5 years of service. Wellbeing underlines a commitment to encouraging and supporting the mental, emotional, physical, social and financial wellbeing of all employees.


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