Rosie Poniris is a senior leader at The Star Entertainment Group and winner of the Gender Equity Award for Senior Manager Making a Difference. When we caught up with Rosie, she shared that she had leveraged her role in senior leadership to agitate for The Star’s recent policy improvements in order to achieve the WGEA Employer of Choice for Gender Equality citation, which The Star was awarded in March 2022.
To get these improvements across the line, Rosie participated in The Star’s gender equity working group ‘Balance @ Star’ to divide and concur the extensive list of requirements. This included undertaking the role of researcher, advocate, policy developer, and stakeholder engagement leader to increase The Star’s paid parental leave offering and achieve a generous outcome for The Star’s team members. As a result, The Star increased it paid parental leave offering from 10 weeks to 16 weeks, introduced 4 weeks secondary carers leave, removed all qualifying restrictions and now pay 18 weeks of Superannuation on top. These policy improvements have given Team Members more choice in how and when they take parental leave and has a seen a 74% increase in the uptake of parental leave since its inception.
To further establish The Star as an employer of choice, the company is championing part-time and flexible employment options. In fact, Rosie is now part-time in a senior leadership role, something that was not heard of in the organisation only a few years earlier. She walks the walk leading by example as the only part-time employee in the general management team and was promoted into the role as a part-time employee after having returned from parental leave. “I work from home as required and encourage my team to do the same,” says Rosie. “I promote work-life balance by normalising things such as caring for my daughter when she is sick, doctor’s appointments and exercising.”
Implementing these types of initiatives would not be possible without the dedication of the whole People and Performance team and the buy in of the Board and Senior Executive team. “The Board and Executive Committee has been incredibly supportive. You can’t do a change of this magnitude if you don’t have the support of all the leaders,” says Rosie. These policy enhancements are designed to attract more female talent to the organisation, as the Company aims to achieve 45% female representation in management levels. Rosie has even gone so far as to introduce mandatory Diversity and Inclusion Key Performance Indicators to link gender equity outcomes to bonus payments. This included directly contacting leaders whose teams do not currently meet the Company’s gender representation targets to include this on their individual performance scorecard.
Another key initiative Rosie has championed is embedding gender equality into the remuneration policies and processes. This started by completing regular gender pay gap audits and correcting identified issues during the annual remuneration review. In another example of the unequivocal support The Star Executive team have for gender equality, during one remuneration review the team asked for, and was given, an additional $300k by the CEO for gender pay corrections. Today, gender pay equity is one of their five remuneration principles which underpins all remuneration designs and processes. Gender pay inequities are tracked and audited by Rosie’s team, with managers required to correct these during the annual remuneration review process. This rigorous process has seen The Star’s gender pay gap reduce from 10% to 6.8% in the past three years.
Rosie’s advice to others going through the WGEA Employer of Choice citation process? “There are two critical elements that you must have to succeed. The first is the support of the Board and the Executive team and the second is a dedicated working group to make it happen.”