Chorus: Pink Shirt Day puts anti-bullying practices front and centre
In the lead-up to Pink Shirt Day, we spoke with Phillippa Powell, Organisational Development Advisor for telecommunications infrastructure provider Chorus, about why and how they’re getting involved in this year’s celebrations.
“Pink Shirt Day has become quite iconic, I guess.”
“Since we started it, Pink Shirt Day is probably one of the most engaging days of the whole year. And I think that’s because everybody's interested in working in a culture in an environment where people treat you with respect, and people are kind, and where we don't have any of that kind of bullying or negative behaviour.”
With 845 permanent full-time staff and approximately 145 contractors, Chorus is a large organisation that spans the length of New Zealand. They have been involved in Pink Shirt Day since 2018, following a review of their harassment, discrimination and anti-bullying policies.
“We utilise Pink Shirt Day as an anchor to celebrate, to raise awareness, and educate. And we continue to do that. We find that Pink Shirt Day is just a great way to really bring everything to the surface again, and put it front and centre.”
“We encourage everyone to get a pink outfit, and we run a photo competition. So we have prizes for best-dressed in each city.”
“We also have done a ‘pimp your pod’ or ‘pimp your home office’ competition. There’s one particular team...They're mind blowing, like really, the quality of their pods and the decorations and the theme!”
It’s important to the team at Chorus that everyone gets involved, including the high-level management. “Because we have visibility of our leaders and our exec and our CEO taking part, it really signals our genuine commitment to zero tolerance.”
While Pink Shirt Day serves as an important reminder of the importance of anti-bullying and anti-discrimination practices in the workplace, Phillippa is keen to note that Chorus’ internal workplace wellbeing mahi extends beyond just a one-day celebration. This includes the Chorus Confidants scheme, which selects and trains a small group of employees to act as confidential support people in the workplace. “Pink Shirt Day is not the only day, right? That's the day to really make it loud and proud, but we're also doing a lot of things on a weekly and monthly basis.”
Overall, the Chorus whānau believe that behind the pink t-shirts and cupcakes, it’s important for workplaces to take practical and meaningful action year-round towards creating a healthy and safe working environment, free from bullying and discrimination.
“My advice would be to work towards Pink Shirt Day as an anchor to launch progress or a new pilot refresh policy, or what you really want to get done… You really need something tangible to signal what it is that you're doing as an organisation, something that shows your commitment.”
Every year, one in 10 workers in Aotearoa report being bullied in the workplace. By celebrating Pink Shirt Day or fundraising for the kaupapa, your workplace becomes part of the movement to end bullying, celebrate diversity and spread aroha and kindness.
Keen to get your workplace involved in Pink Shirt Day this year? Download our Workplace Bullying Prevention Resource focused on how to create a positive workplace environment where mana-enhancing, open communication is the norm so bullying cannot thrive. For more ideas on how to bring Pink Shirt Day to your workplace, head here, and for ideas on how your workplace can fundraise for Pink Shirt Day, head here.