Diverse and inclusive workplaces

Workplace diversity means that the workforce reflects the broader community and includes people with different ages, impairments, family responsibilities, races, cultures, religions, genders, sexualities etc.

Inclusion puts the concept of diversity into practice by creating a culture of involvement, respect and connection in the workplace. Inclusion means being valued, respected and supported, and is about accepting the differences in people and harnessing this in a beneficial way. Inclusion focuses on providing for individual needs so that each person can achieve their full potential.

The difference is often described as: Diversity is counting people. Inclusion is making people count.

An employer who fosters workforce diversity will enhance their reputation and become an employer of choice for people from diverse backgrounds. However, this needs to be supported with a respectful work environment that values the talents, skills, and experience of a diverse workforce, and is the responsibility of all employees. People from diverse backgrounds bring different perspectives, work experiences, lifestyles and cultures, and the power of diversity is realised when these differences are valued and respected.

Queenslanders come from a wide range of backgrounds, cultural groups, capacities, experiences and ages. Having a diverse workforce doesn’t just have benefits within an organisation, it also provides a competitive edge. Organisations that more closely reflect the make-up of Queensland have a greater chance of understanding the needs of, connecting with, and servicing their clients and customers.

Creating diverse and inclusive workplaces

Here are some tips for creating diversity in the workplace:

  • Discuss diversity with your employees and highlight the benefits of having a diverse and inclusive workplace.
  • Identify and address any unconscious bias in recruitment, retention, and promotion that may prevent particular groups of people from joining or staying at your workplace.
  • Value the individual skills that employees bring, such as language skills and international experience that may broaden your market and business connections.
  • Ensure flexible work options are available to all staff, including comprehensive parental leave policies for men and women.
  • Be aware of different cultural practices and special needs of employees, and make workplace adjustments where appropriate.
  • Take steps to prevent discrimination and harassment in your workplace.
  • Consider what you can do to allow people to be themselves at work, and to feel valued.
  • Run events for staff to show that you value inclusion, e.g. marking significant cultural days and events such as NAIDOC, Pride, International Women’s Day, Cultural Diversity Week, Mental Health Week etc.
  • Attend to any special needs for your diverse staff, e.g. breastfeeding facilities, prayer room, accessible office facilities, flexible work arrangements etc.

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Benefits of diverse and inclusive workplaces

A diverse workforce has a variety of perspectives and opinions. The benefits of workforce diversity include:

  • increased productivity and innovation;
  • inclusive and adaptable service to clients;
  • improved morale, motivation and retention;
  • adaptable to market changes;
  • reduced absenteeism; and
  • improved team collaboration.

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Need more?

We offer training for workplaces of any sector in unconscious bias, the business benefits of a diverse and inclusive workplace, anti-discrimination law, and more. We can also tailor training to the specific needs of your workplace or sector.

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