The culture and capability of our people are drivers of value for QBE. A sustainable and resilient workforce is underpinned by how we engage and connect our people to our purpose and vision. Investing in our people’s career development, and supporting flexibility and wellbeing, can allow us to continue to attract and retain the best talent.  

At the annual Australian HR Institute (AHRI) Awards, QBE was announced as the Most Inclusive Workplace for 2023. The AHRI Awards recognise best practice HR initiatives in Australia and shine a spotlight on individuals and organisations making exceptional contributions to advancing Australian workplaces.  

We were recognised for our inclusive strategies focused on driving respect and fair treatment, fostering a sense of belonging, and helping employees feel safe to ‘speak up’.  

For several years, QBE has been focusing on building Safety to Speak Up, and in 2023 we drew on our internal culture champions and leader networks to inform, test, launch, and promote our new Safety to Speak Up Playbook. This tool was developed to equip all our people to foster a safe environment and understand where to raise suggestions, challenges or concerns. 

In early 2022, we launched a new Group Inclusion of Diversity (IoD) Policy and approach, publicly setting out and establishing layers of governance. This accountability model has embedded inclusion of diversity as a global focus, with public commitments and regular internal and external reporting. This approach has been driven through innovative initiatives, such as the introduction of new targets focused on fostering an equal sense of belonging across the dimensions of gender, ethnicity, disability status, and LGBTIQ+ identification. 

Group Chief People Officer and Accountable Executive of the IoD policy and related strategies, Amanda Hughes, says the award is a testament to QBE's commitment to fostering inclusion of diversity and ensuring employees feel valued and respected no matter how they identify. 

“The win for ‘Most Inclusive Workplace’ reinforces our continuous focus on inclusion of diversity policy and practice. I'm proud of our work creating an environment where everyone feels they belong, regardless of how they identify themselves. We know a sense of belonging is not only a marker of employee wellbeing but is also a key driver of retention and employee advocacy. Thanks to everyone at QBE who has helped us to create a workplace where our people feel they belong”. 

Following our enhancements to parenting policies in the United Kingdom, QBE received the Parenting Policies Award 2023 at the Working Dads Employer Awards.   

The awards are run by Music Football Fatherhood and the Equal Parenting Project and were established to celebrate employers that are doing great work to support working dads. 

In January 2023, we modernised our parenting policies in the United Kingdom so employees can now receive 26 weeks for both paternity and maternity leave at normal basic salary. With 26 weeks paid, and 26 weeks unpaid, they can take up to 52 weeks of parental leave regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, or how they become a parent. 

Promoting equal parenting is essential to workplace gender equality, including increasing women’s representation at senior levels, and eradicating the motherhood penalty.  

According to Working Dads Employer Awards, parents benefit from ongoing support and encouragement to share the load in the months and years after their baby is born. This can be achieved through good parental leave policies and flexible working opportunities. Importantly, this needs to be underpinned and led from the top, with leadership that creates and nurtures a culture where all fathers are encouraged to be active parents at home.1 

Currently, our fully paid parental leave offering varies from country to country. As an overall position, as of 31 January 2024, employees in Australia and New Zealand have access to 18 weeks gender neutral parental leave, and as of 31 December 2023, employees in the US are offered 18 weeks for birth parents, which includes statutory and additional parental leave, and 8 weeks for non-birthing parents, and over 80% of our employees have access to at least 12 weeks fully paid leave for primary/birth parents, and at least 1 week fully paid leave for secondary/non-birthing parents. Continuous work is underway to review and benchmark our policy and benefits offerings across regions. 

1. https://workingdadsemployerawards.com/

QBE continues to be an industry leader in LGBTIQ+ Inclusion, and each year from 2019 to 2022, we have received Gold Employer status by the Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI) and awarded Platinum Employer status in 2023.  

Platinum Employer status recognises our sustained commitment to LGBTIQ+ workplace inclusion.  

At QBE Australia we support LGBTIQ+ inclusion with a range of offerings, including:  

  • Our commitment to LGBTIQ+ belonging through dedicated Inclusion of Diversity targets; 
  • Paid gender affirmation leave supporting our trans and gender diverse community; 
  • The opportunity to join the very active LGBTIQ+ pride network 'QBE Pride', offering access to various initiatives including development opportunities, support resources for both LGBTIQ+ and allies, and virtual and in-person events; 
  • Access to Share the Care, our gender-neutral flexible paid parental leave policy supporting families of all shapes and sizes; 
  • Flexible leave that acknowledges the diversity of all families and partners, including fur family members; 
  • Access to gender neutral bathrooms across our QBE offices; and  
  • Dedicated support for LGBTIQ+ applicants who are applying for roles with QBE. We recognise that for some LGBTIQ+ people this can be a daunting process. To actively support applicants, our QBE Pride Team are available to answer questions and share their experience of our LGBTIQ+ inclusive culture. Our QBE Pride committee represent a diverse range of LGBTIQ+ community members and allies. 

In March 2023, we included a set of sustainability questions in our Voice Pulse employee engagement survey. This helped us listen to our employees, understand their level of knowledge on sustainability and what tools or resources they need to support their capability uplift. Overall, our employees believe that our work on sustainability is aligned with our purpose of enabling a more resilient future, and there is a sense of pride in the work that we are doing globally. Insights from the survey have helped identify ways we can continue to create awareness and understanding of sustainability, our three focus areas, and the role our employees can play.  

We also listened to our employees at other points during the year. This included our materiality assessment employee survey where our employees ranked issues of importance to them. This served as an input to our materiality assessment process. We also conducted an environmental survey which included questions on employee commuting and energy usage while employees work from home. Each survey provided us with unique insights, which we have used to develop a communications and engagement plan. This plan supports our efforts to uplift the sustainability capability of our employees.  

In 2023, we brought together our Global Sustainability Network. This Network serves as a central touchpoint for sharing ideas, raising opportunities, tackling regional challenges, and leveraging knowledge globally. The aim is to connect our divisional Networks across the enterprise, to elevate ways in which their network can play a role in integrating sustainability. This Network is also considering sustainable practices in the workplace, at home and in our communities. 

In Australia Pacific, employees launched the first AUSPAC Sustainability Network. Their vision is to increase foundational sustainability awareness, increase active engagement in sustainability activities, and support employees to make connections between sustainability, their roles, and their day-to-day lives, to encourage meaningful and tangible changes towards sustainable practices in the AUSPAC region. The network consists of over 90 employee champions, 20 of which are actively involved in developing 4 different initiatives planned to roll out throughout 2024. During the year, the network held a series of ‘Learning Bites’ focused on key sustainability topics such as climate action. These sessions provide our people the opportunity to learn more about what QBE is doing on sustainability and help them upskill on various sustainability topics.