Internal email from CSIRO CEO to All Staff

Posted on December 10, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized |

This morning, the CEO of CSIRO issued the following email to All CSIRO Staff.  While the email is aspirational, it is however,  somewhat lacking in a number of areas such as:

1. Addressing the Damage Done

Addressing the damage already done to staff as a result of workplace bullying, many who are suffering financial ruin and receiving minimal to no support from CSIRO whose negligence has been responsible for their injuries and hardship.

2.Reinstatement of Entitlements

Victims of CSIRO have spoken with many people who would like to seek reinstatement after having been forced out of the organisation due to its toxic workplace culture.  The very least Dr Clark could do is to reinstate the victims who are interested in returning to the organisation.

Who better to monitor the health of the organisation and effectiveness of CSIRO’s improved workplace culture than those who have suffered from its deficiencies? This may even go some ways towards demonstrating the CSIRO’s sense of social responsibility towards those it has negatively impacted.

Instead CSIRO continues to bring its Legal Muscle to bear against those hapless victims attempting to achieve some form of justice.  Accepting responsibility for our actions is the first thing we learn as children.  To date the CSIRO has accepted absolutely no responsibility for the actions of its employees and continues to deny any suggestion that there is a culture of workplace bullying despite the issuing of an organisation-wide Improvement Notice in relation to decades of workplace bullying.

This suggests a complete lack of emotional intelligence and/or a strong tendency towards narcissism in the ranks of the organisation.  Would it really hurt all that much to say “Sorry” to the people whose lives you have ruined?

3. Restoring Trust through Accountability

Noticeably missing from Dr Clark’s email is any mention of how CSIRO intends to make its new policies any more effective than its previous policies, many of which were applied inequitably or not applied at all.  We note that a significant number of fairly senior employees alleged to have engaged in serious misconduct or even criminal misconduct still retain privileged positions within the ranks of CSIRO’s Elite Executive Team without any form of sanction.

Are employees of the CSIRO going to treat the new policies any more seriously than they did the superseded policies if they are not held accountable for their actions.  We propose not as there are still more employees coming forward with current complaints of workplace bullying, harassment and victimisation, despite the massive amount of publicity surrounding this issue.

This would suggest that Dr Clark has done nothing to change the toxic culture of the organisation and that in fact, she has no authority of those working below her as they have effectively ignored her and continued to engage in highly damaging anti-social behaviour.

One surmises that only time will tell but the prediction is firmly on revisiting this issue once again after the current measures have failed and more employees are irreparably damaged over matters that should otherwise be easily resolved.

Judge for yourself!

From: Clark, Megan (OCE, Campbell)
Sent: Monday, 10 December 2012 10:45 AM
To: CSIRO – All Staff
Subject: Bullying and harassment

Dear All

As I promised in my last email, I want to update you on what we are doing to ensure that we work in a respectful place, free from bullying and harassment. Let me be very clear that there is no place for that type of behaviour in CSIRO. We have responsibilities to each other to build trust and respect in our daily interactions with colleagues and partners. We will not be successful in our goal of building a world class innovation organisation until everyone goes home safely at night with a sense of pride and satisfaction.

So where are we at?

Firstly, we are on track to complete all the requirements of the Comcare Improvement notice. We have also gone beyond that with the roll out nationally of an e-learning module – Recognising and Preventing Workplace Bullying, Harassment and Discrimination -which is stimulating some good discussion. I expect everyone to complete this training before the end of the year.

In addition to this, we’ve been focussing on leadership and 70 of our most senior leaders have received training on the issue, including further support where potential issues are identified. This leadership development is in addition to our ongoing program which focuses on values, accountability and emotional intelligence.

But this is just the start of our conversation and training and awareness.

We have also commenced working with Comcare on developing a multi-year strategy to improve our maturity in this area similar to our multi-year safety strategy. We have also stepped up our psychological health and well being improvement initiative which aims to raise awareness of risks and response strategies to improve health and wellbeing at work.

In parallel to these we have set out to revitalise our diversity and inclusion strategy, and I am now chairing the team which includes Sam Popovski from the Staff Association, amongst others, working on this as I see it as an important plank of building our innovation culture, and that means a culture where everyone has a chance to thrive and reach their potential.

While many of our work areas are already working with trust and respect and value inclusion, we need to remember that just one incident of bullying and harassment anywhere in CSIRO is one too many.  I am committed to making CSIRO an outstanding workplace and to do this we must all play our part and be responsible for our own behaviours.

I encourage you all to participate wholeheartedly in these efforts. Culture can be defined as “the way we do things round here” and the way we do things must be the right way.



Dr Megan Clark
Chief Executive
Phone: 02 6276 6621 |||
Canberra Address: CSIRO Corporate Centre, Limestone Avenue, Campbell, ACT 2612 (all correspondence)
Melbourne Address: 343 Royal Parade, Parkville VIC 3052

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One Response to “Internal email from CSIRO CEO to All Staff”

RSS Feed for Victims of Bullying, Harassment, and Victimisation in the CSIRO Comments RSS Feed

All three of your points are absolutely spot on. And there is no logical reason why the organisation, if it is genuine about fixing problems, should resile from acting on your suggestions. It would be a very very positive step if Megan Clark took the initiative to engage in a conversation about this.

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