“Cultural differences should not separate us from each other, but rather cultural diversity brings a collective strength that can benefit all of humanity.” – Robert Alan
Surrounded by the ocean and blessed with abundant natural resources, Australia has always been an active participant in global trade. The impact of global trade on the Australian economy continues to grow each year. In 2011, two-way trade with international partners reached an annual record of 608.2 billion dollars. According to HSBC Holdings, two-way trade for many industries will double from its present level by the year 2030. As global trade has increased, so has the cultural diversity of Australia’s population.
In order to continue upward growth in trade and development, it is necessary to stay in tune with the wants and needs of customers and suppliers. Therefore it’s imperative that Australia’s workforce begin to reflect the growing cultural diversity found in both its current population and the populations of those with which we wish to trade.
There are other benefits to increasing cultural diversity in our workplace than just gaining a competitive edge by having a staff that reflects the population. Increasing diversity throughout the ranks in a company, from the entry level employee to the highest executive offices, helps to boost employee retention and engagement, increase access to different viewpoints that can lead to enhanced creativity and efficiency, and reduce discrimination and harassment in the workplace. Since nearly one in five Australians have experienced discrimination while on the job, increasing diversity helps reduce company risk while improving employee morale and performance.
Increasing the diversity of your staff can be difficult for business owners, regardless of the size of one’s company. Often a business might be unaware that they have discriminated against an employee during the hiring, training or evaluation processes.
This is why Diversity Council Australia and VicHealth have launched a new Workplace Cultural Diversity Tool to provide businesses with a way to assess their current hiring practices against 30 benchmarks that reflect current international standards and best practices. Businesses can then track their progress at increasing their diversity over a period of time. The tool also helps to guide businesses in how to select the best candidates for specific roles in their company by highlighting potential situations that could lead to discrimination, and providing steps that can help businesses to minimise the actual occurrence of discrimination.
Curious about how your company stacks up against your competition when it comes to cultural diversity? Want to learn more about how increasing cultural diversity can boost revenue and employee satisfaction while reducing costs and risks? Why not visit the Australian Human Right’s Commission today and try the free tool and view your confidential report?