A diverse and inclusive workplace welcomes people of all backgrounds, with the focus being placed on their fitness for the role rather than their ethnicity, age, gender, or disability. Cultivating this kind of environment has benefits, not just for the workers but also for the company as a whole.
Studies on inclusive employment in Australia have found that teams are often more productive and cohesive when diversity and inclusivity are core values of the business. To celebrate these findings, we’ve gathered real-world examples of methods being used by Australian companies to create (and benefit from) workplace diversity.
1. Providing internal networks
Many of Australia’s largest companies are vying to be seen as leaders in the push towards diversity in the workplace. This has seen them take on diversity and inclusion managers who oversee the creation of networks and other initiatives to provide a supportive environment for employees. You will now find LGBTQ+ networks and other such support systems in place in companies like Telstra and LendLease.
2. Making strategic partnerships
Achieving a truly diverse and inclusive workplace can be surprisingly hard. Employers must still prioritize a candidate’s suitability for the role and their ability to fit in with the existing team. It can also be difficult to get job opportunities out to the right audience.
To combat this issue, many Australian businesses are partnering up with organizations like the Diversity Council Australia to ensure they have the resources and community reach they need to build a team that’s truly inclusive.
3. Building from solid foundations
The 21st century is the era of
startup. With the barriers to launching your own business lower than ever, many people are taking the plunge with business models that are diverse from the get-go. When a business has diversity and inclusivity worked into its business plan, core values, and mission, it’s easier to keep this momentum rolling as the enterprise grows.
4. Digital flexibility
The rise of flexible online work and telecommuting has opened up many opportunities for improving workplace diversity. Home offices, virtual offices, and serviced offices make it possible for people to work remotely, thus eliminating some of the barriers faced by certain members of society. Single parents are able to fit their work around their responsibilities at home, and people with disabilities are able to access more employment opportunities.
5. Going global
Taking this digital flexibility a step further, many Australian businesses are spreading a far wider net when searching for employees. They are developing global teams that are as diverse as you can get. Of course, this presents new challenges. With people from different cultures and backgrounds all collaborating through the use of technology, there are many logistical and team-building elements to finesse.
On the team-building side of things, events and gatherings are a great way for staff members to meet each other and learn about their various cultures and backgrounds. Even teams that work remotely can enjoy after-work drinks and other get-togethers via video conference.
These large global teams also tend to have excellent workforce management systems in place with easy and intuitive methods for providing feedback to management. In a large, diverse team, it’s vital for staff to feel that they can express any needs or concerns they may have.
Building a diverse and inclusive workforce may not be easy. However, it is one of the most rewarding things a business can do. Fostering a happy and cohesive workplace that people are happy to come to every day is a monumental achievement, and as a bonus, it’s one that pays off in terms of productivity and output.