If you’re ‘faking it’ at work, these companies are forging true inclusion

May 23, 2023
inclusion at work

Are you putting on a smiling mask, while gritting your teeth through inappropriate jokes at work? 

Do you get the sinking feeling you have to hide the fact you have kids, or that you celebrate holidays that don’t align with a Christian calendar? 

Or are you exhausted at the effort it takes to conceal how your hot flashes are making it impossible to work in a centrally heated office? Or does the need to remain vague about the gender of your partner when you speak of them make you feel like a phoney?

Or to put it more concisely: Are you tired of faking it at work?

Pretending to fit in and conform takes a toll on your well-being and emotional health. It restricts personal growth and stifles creativity. It can contribute to workplace stress and anxiety and lead to burnout. And a lack of authenticity can erode your self-confidence and self-esteem, creating a sense of imposter syndrome, and making it impossible to feel like you truly belong or that you deserve your success.

Or to put it more concisely: to ‘fake it’ is not a long-term way to ‘make it’. 

So, what’s the concise answer to solving this problem? Move forward with a company that is forging truly inclusive workplaces. 

We’ve got a group of incredible Endorsed Employers from a variety of industries that will allow you to finally bring your authentic self to work without fear or judgment. With first-hand testimonials from employees who have experienced these benefits, policies, and initiatives themselves, get ready to discover a workplace where your uniqueness is celebrated, and where you can thrive without ever having to ‘fake it’ again.

Cenitex | Cisco | Fulton Hogan | Downer

Cenitexcenitex logo

Local, state & federal government | 501-1,000 employees

What the organization does

Cenitex bring together the best technology and the best people to keep the Victorian Government operating, connected, and working for the community 24/7. They play a key role in setting the government’s direction for major corporate systems and cyber-security, and for a government-wide IT capability uplift.

What are their employees saying about their culture?

Photo of Mini Chella“Cenitex is an employee-friendly organization, and I am grateful to Cenitex for the opportunity to serve the Victorian public. Cenitex provides a friendly and flexible working environment. I am able to work remotely and sometimes have worked flexible hours when required due to personal circumstances. I also experienced first-hand the opportunities and support Cenitex provides for women returning to work after an extended break in their careers. Cenitex provides excellent learning opportunities and exposure to a variety of technical and functional areas. This has helped me grow professionally and expand my capabilities over time.”

– Mini Chella (she/her), Product & Service Assurance Lead 

Photo of Smita Singh “Speaking from my heart, Cenitex welcomes and embraces multicultural environments. It has allowed me to grow as a human being and as an employee. Not only my colleagues, but our customers come from all sorts of backgrounds. The team I work with is as diverse as you can imagine, at least in terms of race, religion, and gender of my colleagues. It is great seeing things from different perspectives of team members, which are always influenced by their cultural backgrounds.  

I appreciate Cenitex for the thought process they have enlightened me and helped me recognize the sense of achievement which inspires and promotes me to work efficiently.  

The various events organized by Cenitex, and our diversity and inclusion team help release the pressure and stress in the job and provide an opportunity to collaborate with the other team members. The organization’s environment and atmosphere are directly proportional to the development of the employee.  

I am greatly thankful for how our organization works for the professional interest of its employees and the seamless support to achieve their professional goals along with the organization’s goals in synchrony.”

– Smita Singh (she/her), Financial Planning & Analysis Analyst

Ciscocisco logo 

IT, digital & online media services | 1,001-5,000 employees

What the company does

Cisco is the worldwide technology leader that has been making the Internet work since 1984. Their people, products, and partners help society securely connect and seize tomorrow’s digital opportunity today. Cisco is at the heart of Australia’s digitization with a strategic Country Impact Plan that aims to deliver three key pillars: innovation economy, human capital, and healthy communities.

What are their employees saying about their culture?

“Promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion is simply the right thing to do. Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their backgrounds and what makes them unique. We use inclusive language and create safe spaces for all our employees, by having mandatory unconscious bias training and communicating the importance of managing bias through training and other offers such as Cisco-certified Interviewer training, we also have education pathways to education and resources around social justice issues. 

“We celebrate and embrace all holidays of all cultures that represent our employee base and encourage education and awareness around these days and their importance. We also have 27 employee resource groups globally with, 12 represented in the ANZ region and 100’s of chapters around the globe, each of these groups uses its voice to raise awareness of different cultures, and acceptance of all employee’s differences, which could be their gender, LGBTQIA+, race, medical and disability status, veteran status, or even their stage of career.”

– Kim Gascoigne (she/her), Diversity & Inclusion Leader, Cisco ANZ

Fulton Hoganfulton hogan logo

Construction | 1,001-5,000 employees

What the company does

Fulton Hogan delivers high-quality infrastructure to improve the lives of people in Australia and New Zealand, every day. Their 7,700 strong team works in every kind of weather, creating, connecting, and caring for communities.

After nearly 90 years in business, they believe resilient infrastructure will help tackle the challenges of a changing world, and they will continue to invest and innovate to play their part.

What are their employees saying about their culture?

Photo of Maddy Lloyd Rowe “I’m a proud Wiradjuri woman, and I grew up on Wodi Wodi country.

“I started with Fulton Hogan three years ago via an Indigenous pre-employment program, having had no prior experience in construction. I began as a laborer and plant operator on the Nowra Bridge Project in the South Coast region of NSW.

“As a woman stepping into a non-traditional role in the male-dominated construction industry, I thought it would be more daunting, but my team has helped me grow quickly and learn how a construction site operates. I’ve felt welcome since the first day I stepped on site and have always felt supported because I know my voice is being heard.

“Every day, the people at Fulton Hogan seek to give back to the communities we live and work in. I’ve experienced first-hand how the company provides opportunities for people of all walks of life, and in places where quality jobs and rewarding work options can be limited. This includes partnering with local indigenous groups and social enterprises to lift the standards of the construction industry, while ensuring that others, such as the long-term unemployed, Aboriginal community, and women in non-traditional roles (like me), can benefit from the employment and training opportunities that the company’s good work creates.

“I’m very proud to be working with Fulton Hogan who are working hard to build a better outlook for women in construction and a better future for all cultures to feel heard, supported and valued.”

– Maddy Lloyd Rowe (she/her), Planter Operator

Downerdowner logo

Engineering | 10,001+ employees

What the company does

Downer was established over a century ago as a trusted engineering services company. Today, they are the leading provider of integrated services in Australia and New Zealand. Through trusted relationships and world-leading insights they work closely with their customers to design, build and sustain assets, infrastructure and facilities.

How are they creating an inclusive and respectful culture?

Owning Different

At Downer, we all bring something different to the table.

That’s why creating an inclusive environment where our people are treated equitably, fairly, and respectfully is important. An inclusive environment enables everyone to feel valued and creates a sense of belonging in the workplace. It also empowers people to access opportunities and develop into the best version of themselves.

And that’s what we want.

We want everyone to be themselves, share their talents and contribute to Downer’s success.

Downer’s Inclusion and Belonging Strategy and Action Plan 2022-2024

In 2022, Downer launched our first Group-wide Inclusion and Belonging Strategy and Action Plan, which is an important step to guide our behaviors and advance our workplace culture over the next two years.

The Strategy and Action Plan identifies seven key focus areas that will drive a respectful and inclusive workplace culture. This strategy is a critical enabler for Downer to systemize and develop the right habits across the business.

Removing barriers to inclusion

So how do we remove barriers to inclusion? We have committed to:

  • Reviewing our policies and procedures to ensure inclusivity and equity with a focus on supporting and improving flexible work.
  • Reviewing our Talent and Sourcing systems, focusing on recruitment, onboarding, and data systems, to ensure processes are inclusive and gender neutral.
  • Working with the Procurement team to improve data quality, supplier diversity, and ensuring processes are fair.
  • Identifying under-represented employee groups that require support and a voice, to enable change.

Own Respect

In 2022, Downer formed the Own Respect Community of Practice to:

  • Map legislative and legal compliance obligations
  • Adopt the recommendations in the Respect@Work National Inquiry Report
  • Provide training and guidance
  • Create an environment where sexual harassment and sex-based harassment is actively prevented, and employees feel safe to raise complaints.

“For me, an inclusive, respectful, and safe workforce is a key measure to Downer’s success. I commit to a leadership style that supports others being able to speak up, not only when we may be offended ourselves but also when we see someone has been made to feel uncomfortable.” 

– Peter Tompkins, Downer Group Chief Executive Officer.

Discover more about these Endorsed Employers

Related articles

Get informed

Sign up for monthly updates on news, advice, inspiration, and career resources

About the Author

Jacynta Clayton’s career started in recruitment advertising and employer branding, working with global clients to create and deploy strategic and creative content. Now she combines her industry experience with the knowledge from her psychology and professional writing degrees to write unique and resounding stories. As a WORK180 storyteller she relishes the opportunity to elevate the voices and experiences of so many amazing people, while also empowering and educating audiences on how to choose a workplace where they can thrive.

Want to keep the conversation going? 

Share this article:

Featured employers

Looking for a new opportunity?

Our transparent job board only has vacancies from employers we endorse and lets you see what benefits, policies and perks come with the job.
Our transparent job board only has vacancies from employers we endorse and lets you see what benefits, policies and perks come with the job.

Want more articles like this sent to your inbox every month?


Just let us know what kind of support you’re looking for so we can sign you up to receive the right newsletter for you.