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7 ways to realise the benefits of a diverse and inclusive workplace | Managing return to work


7 EASY WAYS TO REALISE THE BENEFITS OF A DIVERSE AND INCLUSIVE WORKPLACE

This month we celebrate two major diversity and inclusion events - International Women’s day and Harmony Week, as such it is fitting that we take the opportunity to discuss how important it is to ensure that you have a diverse and inclusive workplace. For some businesses this concept can be intimidating, it might be because you don’t fully understand what the concept is, or because you need to take an in depth look at your business, policies and the way you do things, which could result in having to make some changes. Either way, ensuring that your business is both diverse and inclusive doesn’t need to be frightening, it should be celebrated.


So, what does it mean to have a diverse and inclusive workplace?


Whilst diversity and inclusion are related, they are really two different concepts with equal importance. Diversity in the workplace means that a business is made up of individuals with many different identities and backgrounds such as genders, ages, races, nationalities, religions, sexual orientations or preferences. An inclusive workplace is one that makes everyone, regardless of who they are, their background or their role in the business, feel equally valued, involved, respected in and supported.

When it comes down to it, diversity and inclusion have multiple layers, however there are key areas that businesses should focus on, including ensuring an environment free from discrimination and equal access for opportunities to people from a wide range of backgrounds and cultures.


What are the benefits to having a diverse and inclusive workplace?


Having a team of diverse employees can enhance your business by utilising different perspectives, experiences and knowledge whilst having a positive impact on innovation, creativity and growth. There is an extensive list as to why having a diverse and inclusive workplace is important. Research shows the following are some of those the key benefits:

A larger, more diverse talent pool

A positive workplace environment leading to happier, healthier and more engaged employees

Increased productivity and a stronger well rounded team

An open minded team who have the ability to problem solve and resolve conflict

Increased employee morale and job satisfaction leading to higher retention

A positive company brand image to existing and potential customers and employees

A recent survey conducted by Indeed on Australian businesses, showed 62% of the participants admitted to concealing part of their identity from their colleagues, highlighting the development of open and inclusive workplaces still has a long way to go!


How to improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace


1. Get honest about your workplace culture - Last month we talked about reviewing your Employee Value Proposition and reviewing your culture should be part of this process. When reviewing your culture, look at your business demographics such as gender ratios and the backgrounds and skill sets of employees to identify areas where you could make changes and improve.


2. Advocate for Inclusion – Review your policies such as Discrimination and Equal Employment Opportunity to ensure that your business is compliant with the laws around diversity and inclusion


3. Attract Talent – Review your recruitment, branding and sourcing practices and materials to ensure you are being inclusive and attracting and hiring candidates from a wide range of backgrounds.


4. Practice What You Preach - Having leaders that come from a variety of backgrounds shows the rest of the team and potential candidates that they can achieve growth and development within the business


5. Pay Fair – Renumeration should be based on skills, experience and value to the business, so ensure you have a remuneration review process that is data driven and robust enough to override conscious or subconscious bias

6. Be Flexible – Removing the rigor of the nine to five opens up opportunities to a broader range of people allowing business and life outside of it to operate together more harmoniously.


7. Educate Your Team - Being proactive and educating your team on diversity and inclusion opens minds and perspectives. You could host training sessions, showcase diversity stories or even just celebrate events like International Women’s Day and Harmony Week


In summary, supporting diversity and inclusion attracts great people, promotes equality and develops better solutions for your clients. What could your team be doing to capitalise on it?

 
HR HOT TOPIC- MANAGING RETURN TO WORK AND LIFE AFTER LOCKDOWNS

If COVID-19 taught us anything, it was that we are resilient, adaptable and some of us can do our job effectively from just about anywhere! Through the pandemic we all pivoted (anyone else sick of that word!). Now that we are seeing the first light of opening borders and easing restrictions you need to be finalising your longer-term strategies on Working From Home.



Here are some tips to manage those conversations.


Think about how your business operates best - Is it all from home, all from work or a mix of the two? Auckland University recently released a study showing that the highest engagement levels of New Zealand workers was amongst those who worked a hybrid model of both in the office and from home. Creating both flexibility and team engagement.

Understand your team - Employees may be reluctant to return to site, especially if they have been performing well. If you are requesting employees to come back to work in the office, ensure you go through a consultation process on why you need them to return. Meet with individuals to find out what they want, some people find working from home isolating while others have long commutes and want to maximise their time. So get to understand people’s needs and how to best engage them, it will pay off in the long run.


Agree the parameters - There may be some areas that are not flexible such as everyone being in the office on a Monday, or Videos must be on for Zoom calls, you choose what you know your business needs. If an employee will be working at home in some capacity long term, ensure you have a Work From Home Policy and Agreement in place, the correct ergonomic work station set up and a clear understanding of work from home protocols.


Review and Refine - Be open to what you agree to changing. Peoples priorities change, business priorities change and as we know the world landscape seems to shift under our feet at a rapid pace. So make sure you review your plan and adjust as needed.


EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT



INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY

International Women's Day, celebrated March 8th, recognises how far we've come towards gender equality, and also how far we have left to go! To celebrate this year, our Streamline HR team went to an International Women's Day breakfast to learn about the many ways that we can #breakthebias. To see what International Women's Day means to our team check out our Linkedin.





WORLD HEALTH DAY

World Health Day is on April 7th which aims to raise awareness to build a healthier world, but it’s also Easter so try not to eat too much chocolate for breakfast! So why not celebrate World Health Day in the workplace by:

  • Host a lunch where everyone brings a healthy dish

  • Have your team share their favourite healthy meals and recipes

  • Partner with a gym to offer discounted memberships

  • Have some fun and get a yoga or meditation instructor to come in and do a session


  • Host a team or workplace fitness challenge and raise money for your favourite charity

  • Flu season is coming up so why not launch a program where you reimburse employees for having their flu shots

For further information you can visit the World Health Day website.


Please contact us if you need help or advice regarding any of these topics or laws, policy reviews or workplace training.


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