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How to Create Diversity and Inclusion in your Workplace

The face of Australia’s workforce has changed dramatically over the last few decades. Diversity is abundant, with people from all over the world relocating to our shores in the hope of better opportunities. Numerous ethnicities are now ingrained in the fabric of our society, bringing new cultures and ideas.

But diversity isn’t just about race and ethnicity. It also refers to differences in gender, religion, cultures, personality, lifestyle, skill sets and socioeconomic status. As summed up by The Australian Department of Human Services: Diversity is about our individual differences and acknowledging the unique blend of knowledge, skills and perspectives people bring to the workplace.

In this blog we’ll look at the importance of diversifying your talent pool and how to foster the right environment to allow diversity to thrive.

The Importance of Diversity 

As a business owner, manager, or HR professional, finding the right talent to fill open positions is important, however, it's not just about finding any talent, it's about finding the right talent that can help your company grow and thrive. The best way to achieve this is by diversifying your talent pool.

Having a variety of employees who have different beliefs, backgrounds, and approaches can contribute to greater creativity, innovation, and problem-solving skills. It can also better employee morale and job satisfaction since each individual is respected and appreciated for their own unique abilities.

Having a diverse workforce gives your organisation the potential to reach out to a larger clientele and enhance its status.

Greater Acceptance of Differences 

It is a sad reality but unfortunately, there are still some who resist diversity and inclusion and consider them a threat. Corporate management needs to recognise the significant value of an open workplace, and implement measures to nurture a culture of acceptance, inclusion and appreciation of a diverse workforce. 
Research has revealed that we are moving in the right direction when it comes to embracing diversity in our workplace. Survey Sampling International (SSI) conducted a survey of 4,800 Australian employees, and the findings indicated:

  • 58% of Australians have a more diverse experience.
  • 51% of Australians see an increase in creative thinking and problem-solving.
  • 48% of Australians build better teams in a diverse environment.

While this is encouraging, the study also revealed that only 23% of Australians believe ethnicity and gender are critical to diversity in the Australian workplace. This shows that there is still considerable room for improvement.

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) states that efforts to promote diversity and inclusion result in better morale and higher company profits. Promoting and welcoming difference is therefore in the best interests of the Australian economy, and a corporate goal very much worth pursuing.

Building Blocks for Greater Diversity and Inclusion  

Building diverse and inclusive workplaces needs to be more than a good intention. There must be a systematic approach to reconstructing a corporate culture to foster this mindset throughout the workforce. 

Educate Your Leaders 

The executive team needs to support the concept of a more welcoming workplace. It means the decision-makers must be better educated about the importance of diversity and inclusion.

Introducing diversity training to executives will provide them with the necessary guidance to ensure that the recruitment process is conducted in a manner that is inclusive of different backgrounds and perspectives.

To decrease the likelihood of bias during the recruitment process, giving diversity training to the hiring managers is also important. This can help them identify any personal prejudices they may have, allowing them to make more impartial decisions when examining potential employees. Additionally, it can help them generate a more embracing and accepting atmosphere for all job applicants.

Broaden your Hiring Outlets

Broadening your recruitment sources is an excellent way to diversify your candidate pool. This could involve publishing job postings on job boards that focus on minority groups, visiting job fairs at universities with a variety of student bodies, or collaborating with community organisations that cater to various populations.

Embrace and Celebrate the Differences 

Employees often feel accepted and a sense of comradery if their diversity is respected and encouraged. Ways of doing this can include introducing Global Diversity & Inclusion Experience Month or prayer rooms set aside for devotions.

These plans and accommodations can help workers feel respected and backed, which can result in higher participation and retention.

Use Inclusive Terminology 

To draw in a wide range of potential candidates, it is important to use language that is inclusive in job postings. This includes avoiding terms that may be gender-biased or limit certain demographic groups. For example, rather than using "salesman," it would be better to use "sales representative" or "sales associate."

It’s also important to keep this in mind during day-to-day life in the workplace. Making sure everyone feels accepted and included in conversations is imperative. 

Listen to Employees 

Surveys and focus groups can glean ideas and opinions of how inclusion is working in the office. Providing diversity and inclusion initiatives. These can involve mentorship initiatives, employee resource groups, or diversity education for everyone in the company. These plans can help workers feel respected and backed, which can result in higher participation and retention.

Consider Communication Style 

Communication styles can be seen as intimidating or condescending (e.g., ‘mansplaining’) to different cultures or groups. Participants need to be aware of how they express themselves and make changes when necessary.

Written meeting materials will also be helpful for those who struggle to digest information verbally and those whom English is a second language.

Communicate Goals and Measure Progress 

As with just about everything, benchmarks and metrics are essential to evaluate progress towards achieving set diversity and inclusion goals.  

Setting the Standard for Diversity in Australia

There are companies in Australia whose dedicated commitment to inclusion is well documented, and worth investigating for diversity and inclusion ideas inspiration:

  • Cheetah Digital bases its diversity program on three principles: Context, Communication, and Choice. Cheetah Digital recognizes that the workplace is in a state of constant change, and the traditional diversity strategies might require updating. 
  • Ernst & Young believes that diversity creates quality, and that individuals from different education levels, gender, ethnicity, nationality, generation, age, working and thinking styles, religion, sexual orientation, ability, and technical skill sets, all bring considerable value to the table.
  • Bench are a programmatic media and performance marketing platform from Sydney, Bench has global employees and remote workers. Bench will recruit talent from people of different cultures, ages, and social backgrounds and respect how all different groups look for jobs.
  • Madecomfy, a much smaller and less established outfit, employs a workforce from 22 countries. Their corporate leadership team is also 40% female. 
  • Telstra has a commitment to diversity and inclusion, focussing on greater workplace gender diversity, accessibility and inclusion, economic opportunity for Indigenous Australians and support for victims of family violence.
  • Accenture has a corporate commitment to diversity based on gender equality, pride (LGBTI), focus on enablement, and cross-culture and indigenous people.

Evolve Scientific Recruitment Can Help Foster A Diverse Culture 

Creating an inclusive workforce must include proactive recruiting of diverse talent. This is not easy, and managers may not understand how - or have the time - to do this properly. Rather than take managers away from their core responsibilities, it makes sense to enlist a third party of professional recruiters.

Evolve Scientific Recruitment specialises in sourcing the best science and technical talent. We recruit all over the world and we respect the significance of diversity. We can help an organisation meet its goals for both qualified talent and the right mix of candidates.

We have offices in several major Australian cities and pride ourselves on getting ‘under the hood’ of your business, to really understand your specific staffing needs. Our flexible approach means we are happy to meet in person or remotely, and we’re well versed in recruiting face-to-face and in a virtual setting.

Our recruiters have worked in science or technology companies in the past, so they understand the language and requirements in these spaces. We take pride in delivering candidates who meet all the ‘hard’ skills criteria and possess the personal skills necessary to thrive in your workplace culture.