How to build workplace diversity
Cultural diversity in the workplace means that organisations are open to hiring people from all sorts of different backgrounds, regardless of race, religion, disability, gender, sexuality and culture.
The word ‘diversity’ can also include age, work experience, socio-economic background and marital status.
This article follows on from part 1, where we talked about the many benefits that diversity brings to the workplace and to organisations.
As disability employment specialists, AimBig is well aware that disability as an aspect of social and workplace diversity, and also an important element of social inclusion. Every day, we see that employing someone with a disability is one way of making a genuine difference.
Building diversity takes effort and the right environment. There are several steps that any employer can take to help make everyone feel welcome.
You might like to start with a diversity assessment to give you a clear idea of your staff profile.
Create a spreadsheet or table that lists factors like gender, race, religion or cultural identity, disability and age and conduct a staff survey to help you get a clearer picture. You can then compare how your enterprise performs in relation to competitors when it comes to diversity, or set your own targets like increasing your Aboriginal employees to 2% or higher.
Having a suitable organisational culture and environment is important too. Potential as well as current employees want to know that you as their employer treat staff fairly, regardless of race, ethnicity or gender. If you’re wanting to increase the number of employees with disability, make you’re your offices are accessible to wheelchair users or those with mobility challenges.
Keep in mind that attracting the best available talent is not just about hiring new graduates or rising stars. Older workers can bring experience and a strong work ethic to an organisation.
Some companies doing well in workplace diversity consider gender equality, LGBTQI pride, a focus on enablement and on employing Indigenous peoples. And having policies and practices to remove discrimination and workplace bullying are essential.
Organisations that rate CSR (corporate social responsibility) highly are often recognised for their policies of tolerance, openness and inclusion. This usually means they are also flexible and adaptable to change – all highly sought-after qualities in the marketplace.
Stating your policy as an equal opportunity workplace in your recruitment advertising also lets the world know that you don’t discriminate. Consider the language you use in your job ads (eg don’t use gendered words), and market your opportunities in specialist outlets like disability forums/websites, or contact us to reach this valuable market group.
By offering benefits to employees like flexible working hours and working part-time or from home some of the time you also encourage diversity through employing people who have carer responsibilities or disability that means they seek out this type of flexible attitude.
Building diversity is also effective through looking at the way people with disability can make a difference to your staff morale, CSR and the life of someone who just wants to give their best at work.
If you’d like to make a difference to the 2.2 million Australian adults with disability – many of whom who are also job seekers – there are many exciting opportunities.
Employing people with disability also makes good social and business sense, although we should remember that disability is often invisible.
For some people, disability may be episodic, while for others, it may be stable. Disabilities range from severe to extremely minor, and people with disability of many different forms are already effectively contributing to the Australian workforce.
This article about our BusyBeans program describes one such initiative and the huge impact it’s had on the lives of many people with intellectual disability. Getting involved in BusyBeans or a socially inclusive program like it is beneficial for people with disability and their families, as well as potentially thousands of everyday workplaces and their staff.
AimBig has a strong focus on empowering job seekers and connecting them with the right employers. If you’d like to hear more about the work we’re doing, give us a call on 1300 034 997 or contact us via our form.
Contact us on 1300 034 997 to find out how we can help you increase your diversity, or have a look at these resources below:
- Harmony in the Workplace Fact Sheet at http://fecca.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/factsheet-2-the-australian-workforce1.pdf
- The Human Rights Commission produces a free A-Z of discrimination law for employers available at https://www.humanrights.gov.au/education/employers
- The Diversity Council Australia is the independent not-for-profit peak body leading diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Sign up to their newsletter or see case studies at https://www.dca.org.au/
- Why Diverse Teams Are Smarter by Harvard Business Review
- How to Increase Workplace Diversity by Wall Street Journal
- Diversity Australia – Workplace Gender Equality Reporting and Diversity and Inclusion Reporting https://www.diversityaustralia.com.au/?gclid=Cj0KCQjw5MLrBRClARIsAPG0WGyaGgOvRVOA4Eqpvfwt5yWa3DAta-u0qF0u3HZzjL-h2EdA66USA00aAiToEALw_wcB
- The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has a webpage suggesting ways to build a more diverse workforce. See https://www.aihw.gov.au/about-us/careers/workplace-diversity-program for tips or the links below
- How Australia’s Top Companies Do Diversity Right https://www.themartec.com/insidelook/companies-do-diversity-right
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