Next year The Star will host the second LGBTQ+ Awards. Organisers of the awards chose The Star as their venue because of its open positive attitude to diversity. The Star is a major sponsor of the Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras and had a float in last year’s parade as well as hosting the very popular Fag Tag on their rooftop Sky Terrace bar.
This positive attitude is also reflected inwards, with an employee inclusion policy that is a model for any business. Rohan Dyster is the General Manager – Organisational Development & Learning at The Star and he discussed the organisation’s Diversity and Inclusion activities and beliefs in the following interview.
The Star is a major sponsor of Mardi Gras and featured the popular Fag Tag event as well as being in the parade this year. Next year The Star will be hosting the LGBTI+ Awards . Why is it important to be such a conspicuous supporter of the queer community?
RD: The Star is proud of its activities within our community and contribute to many charities, events and community groups, as well as the work we do for our employees to ensure they feel included and able to bring their best self to work.
One of our four organisational values is ‘Welcoming’ which means we want our guests and our employees to feel at home at our properties and the cities in which we operate. By supporting the LGBTQI community, we are welcoming them and ensuring they feel included in our society.
How is this embracement of diversity reflected within the organisation? Do you have special social/ support groups? Is there a policy/atmosphere of inclusion amongst staff?
RD: Overwhelmingly our employees support our efforts in diversity and inclusion. We have four main focus areas – gender, multicultural, mature age and LGBTQI – and our employees are very proud of the positive outcomes the D&I activities have brought them and their peers.
Each of our focus areas has a working group associated with it and we often have these groups working together as well.
How do you deal with negative behaviour/attitude amongst staff, key personnel, partners or even customers?
RD: It is very rare to encounter negativity around our inclusion practise and when we do, it usually comes from a place of misunderstanding. On occasions, we’ve met with individuals and explained what we are doing and why, with a positive outcome from the meeting.
Usually, however, we are very well supported. In our first year of marching in Mardi Gras, we gathered at The Star and walked to our transport across the main gaming floor. Lots of our guests and employees stopped and clapped, or congratulated employees they knew. It was an amazing experience and our marchers felt included, supported and welcomed in a very simple yet moving way.
Do you think it’s important for organisations – especially those as large as The Star – to not only have internal positive policies but to also be publicly visible in their support and recognition of minorities and diverse communities?
RD: I can’t say what other organisations should do. Personally, I like working for organisations like The Star who are proud to participate in the community and do what they think is right.
What do you think are the benefits to an organisation in having a positive approach to diversity? Is there a flow on benefit to the wider community?
RD: There are many organisations who work tirelessly to have a positive approach to diversity and inclusion. The benefits vary and can include a more positive work environment for employees (which will flow on to the guest or customer, ensure longer employee tenure, less workplace stress), greater productivity from employees as they are able to bring their best self to work, greater attraction to guests or customers, and positive recognition for the company in the wider community.
There are positive flow on benefits to the wider community in diversity and inclusion. Less marginalised people in our community is a good thing. Greater workforce participation by all areas of our population is a good thing for the economy.