GEMCO - Rehabilitation Program

The South32, GEMCO, Rehabilitation team has been a local Indigenous workforce for 21 years. Like the majority of Indigenous teams involved in manual labour it has been male dominated for the majority of its history.

In 2014 the Rehabilitation Supervisor Simon Hartley began to manage the team based on the teams shared values. The team was asked to list the reasons why they come to work and what are the values and behaviours that they aspire to and value. The team has based all their decisions around these values ever since.

The team collectively renews their values statement on an annual basis. All team actions continue to be held accountable to these values. The workplace culture reflects the positivity, kindness and aspirational nature of the values statement.

The values approach is coupled with multiple other initiatives such as: fortnightly lessons on mental health from the site Psychologist,  work supported “Rise Up” training which seeks to directly address the self-empowerment of Indigenous employees, company supported volunteering in other community organisation and attendance of womens conferences off the island. These initiatives promote diversity in a broad sense.

The rehabilitation team has always celebrated diversity because of the strengths it brings to the workplace. Indigenous staff bring a capacity for lateral thinking, desire for connectivity and depth of knowledge into new topics.  The diversity in family groups, marital status, history and skills were points of difference in the team as much as they were points of difference in the broader community. By focussing on values it gave the team the opportunity to focus on what was shared  between families, genders and cultures and enabled the team to hire people based on who they were, not what they knew. It developed on the fundamental premise that good people with good values would do good things. This hope has come to fruition.

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