As Australian organisations are becoming more reflective of their practices in 2019, successful businesses must continue to think inclusively. Embracing cultural diversity in the workplace is an important first step for businesses that want to be competitive.

Organisations are starting to realise and embrace the benefits of a diverse workforce. In any workplace, diversity and antidiscrimination practices are important. Valuing diversity increases productivity, and improves a company’s reputation.

Below are some of the ways diversity can benefit an organisation:

  • Greater employee satisfaction leads to improved productivity and profitability.
  • Reduced employee turnover cuts the cost of replacing skilled and experienced people.
  • Having access to a variety of different perspectives increases creativity and innovation.
  • Talented employees are attracted to diverse companies and want to stay.
  • A broader range of customers and suppliers want to do business with diverse companies, which can open up new markets and opportunities.

In the event of discrimination or inappropriate workplace behaviour, there are serious consequences:

  • Extensive legislation protects people against discrimination.
  • Complaints can lead to costly litigation and compensation claims
  • Unwanted staff turnover.
  • Damage to an employer’s reputation.

Why does it matter for employees?

Despite having one of the most diverse workforces in the world, Australian employees still go through daily discrimination because of their cultural background, sexuality, gender identity, age or disability. Only 11% of Australian workers ‘strongly agree’ that their manager actively seeks out new information and ideas from all employees.

Going through this discrimination can reduce the employees’ satisfaction and engagement with work, and is a key contributor to anxiety and depression. With mental health continually being an talking point during 2019, it’s important to ensure that employers feel included at work.

What is the benefit to a more inclusive workplace? Making sure your employees feel welcomed will improve their performance and wellbeing, as well as retention.

How to make your workplace more inclusive

It’s easy to get started! We’ve outlined a number of strategies for developing an inclusive workplace:

  • Clearly articulate the benefits of a diverse workforce, and make a business case for inclusivity
  • Develop a diversity policy with clear requirements, making sure that executive endorse it
  • Understand the complexity of people – they may identify with different parts of their identity
  • Open your hiring strategy up by actively recruiting from a wide range of gender identities and cultural backgrounds
  • Lead by example with inclusive language to reduce discrimination
  • Celebrate diversity – recognise the strengths of all your employees.

GB was recently accepted as a member of the Diversity Council Australia (DCA), recognising the importance we place on diversity in the workplace. We have also rolled out training to help clients promote greater diversity in their own workplaces, through our myGBeducation platform. The training includes sessions on reducing bullying in the workplace, as well as training designed to promote age-diverse workplaces.

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