Dexa Group, YarnnUp join forces to show the value of cultural sustainability

There’s much more to sustainability and conservation than protecting nature, as crucial as that is. There’s also cultural sustainability—making sure that the values of cultures that have been around for thousands, even tens of thousands, of years are preserved. Just as important is working to give the practitioners of that culture a place in modern society.

In that spirit, specialised provider of integrated services Dexa Group and YarnnUp—a Supply Nation-certified provider of Indigenous emotional, social, and cultural capability training—held a dialogue on March 11 at the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence in Redfern, NSW. The workshop combined neuroscience and cognitive behavioural principles with Aboriginal wisdom to give attendees tools to connect with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in order to enhance their organisations’ capabilities.

An Open Dialogue

Sitting in a yarning circle—with the number of attendees kept deliberately low to maximise individual engagement—Dexa Group employees, plus leaders and HR specialists from such organisations as Qantas, JLL, Equinix, and the NSW Department of Planning, Industry, and Environment, set aside watches, phones, even notebooks. They listened as a neuroscience specialist and an Aboriginal facilitator and Indigenous affairs expert spoke on cultural capability and recognising unconscious biases.

They discussed an actionable process to enable effective cross-cultural communication, complete with the homework of devising a follow-up action plan. They also received a high-level understanding of the essential features of Aboriginal culture, especially connection to the land and emphasis on family and community. By viewing things through an Aboriginal cultural lens, attendees improved their ability to connect with Aboriginal people, businesses, and communities.

“The content was very interesting, and the facilitators managed to captivate us throughout the entire day,” Ali Mahfouz, a security and compliance office with Equinix, said. “The atmosphere was very relaxed, and attendees were all encouraged to be open and communicate freely. It felt like high school again, except I don’t think I’ve ever learnt that much in one day. What makes me value this training the most is that you walk in expecting it to be about something specific but walk out with so much knowledge and awareness that you can instantly apply universally to your career and your personal life. I left the training feeling energised, informed and aware–and my colleagues heard all about it the following day.”

Armed with a newfound cultural understanding, attendees left with strategies for better people management and HR. “I can say with certainty that the training has improved my ability to perform more ethically, and that it has allowed me to reflect and correct certain biases within me that were hindering my professional development and the development of my relationships with family, friends, colleagues, and stakeholders,” Mahfouz said.

Emotional Intelligence

Dexa Group’s mission is to optimise every aspect of the company, people, resources, and processes, to sustainably deliver personalised support to clients over across their security, concierge, facilities, traffic and risk services. They believe prioritising people and creating a positive impact with every interaction is both the right thing to do and good for the bottom line.

Indeed, studies have shown that a diversity of backgrounds leads to a diversity of opinions that can disrupt the status quo and leads to higher revenues. A Boston Consulting Group review of 1700 companies across eight countries found that those with more diversity of management teams were more innovative, leading to 19% more income than their non-diverse counterparts. YarnnUp pledges that its workshops will give leaders the skills to be better communicators who are more self-aware and empathetic.

As HCM Global group managing director Anna-Lucia Mackay wrote in Venture, “The manager who displays the emotionally intelligent mindset is a conscious role model who understands that how they go about their work on a day-to-day basis will significantly impact and influence the performance levels of their people. This manager is constantly and consciously looking for cues and signals from their team through their actions, responses, body language, and tone of voice, all of which serve as critical information on how to manage each person more effectively.”

By facilitating respect, trust, and positive relationships between the wider Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Islander peoples, Dexa Group is on the way to earning the Reconciliation Australia certification. “The event was powerful to understand how we as individuals in organisations can be more culturally aware to those in Australia before us,” attendee and entrepreneur Jessica Emily said. “It was great to see a company initiating such a positive step forward.” Beyond that, it’s showing how cultural sustainability doesn’t simply connect us to the past, it is vital for growth in the modern age.