Amongst Australian organisations, increasing diversity and inclusion in the workplace has become a key point for discussion at all levels. It is crucial for both moral, as well as business sense, to ensure that everyone feels welcome; regardless of gender, race, physical condition, or any other differentiator. Research has shown that diverse teams make better decisions 87% of the time, and teams with ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have greater than industry average financial returns
So, if you wish to join this growing number of forward-thinking businesses, here are 5 practices you can start implementing today.
1. Be empathetic as a leader
If you really believe in increasing diversity and inclusion in the workplace, then you should demonstrate this by practising true empathy. If people come to you with problems or worries, then empathise with them and give them counsel and find ways to help. It all comes down to leading by example. If other people see you acting in a gracious, authentic and warm-hearted manner towards their struggles, then they are more likely to treat fellow employees in the same way as well.
2. Think bottom-up
The top-down approach to increasing diversity and inclusion in the workplace often proves ineffective. People don’t always like being told what they must do, but instead like having a say in new ideas and paths for the business. So, sit down with employees at all levels and create genuine discussions about diversity and inclusion. Get their thoughts and ideas and then create momentum for change by deploying their ideas and putting them in charge of new initiatives.
3. Create a council or committee for inclusion
Once everyone in your organisation has bought into this new approach to business, you should form an unofficial or official group to help ensure best practices are maintained. This might vary in size depending on the size of your organisation, but anywhere from 5 to 15 people would work well. Ensure that there is fair representation from all members across your company and ensure that their concerns and new ideas are heard and acted upon.
4. Celebrate everyone's individuality
Those companies that really believe in diversity and inclusion are those that celebrate the individuality of everyone working there. For example, rather than just celebrating typical Australian holidays like Christmas, hold celebrations for festivals or significant dates of other faiths and religions as well, such as Eid and Diwali.
5. Always keep an eye on change
Finally, just because you decide that you will embrace diversity and inclusion today, it doesn't mean it will be “done” tomorrow. Instead, you need to remember to keep an eye on any initiatives you implement and continue to reinforce the positive ethos. This is how successful Australian businesses bring about change in this way; They recognise that there is no silver bullet solution. It is not a quick fix, instead, benefits will only be seen with perseverance and consistency – nudges.
Ultimately, increasing diversity and inclusion in the workplace comes down to being very critical of your own business, and looking for strategic ways to bring about change. Though these are just 5 practices to consider, remember that there is always more that can be done, beyond this. Always be on the lookout for new ways you can bring about change in your workplace for the greater good of all employees.
At Robertson Search, we are passionate about championing diversity and inclusion. We are confident that your organisation will only see positive results stemming from a true commitment to changing the norm. So, if you want to talk about how you can bring new strategies in to your organisation to increase diversity and inclusion then please do get in touch.