Workplace diversity has been a hot topic in corporate and government circles for some time. There is a considerable body of research that demonstrates that diverse workplace teams and inclusive organisational cultures impact directly on improved bottom line results. Despite this, some leaders regard Diversity and Inclusion as either the province of larger multi-national enterprises or large Government employers. Some even mistakenly believe that Diversity and Inclusion are just code words for a form of political correctness that will hamper rather than enhance their operations.
Consider the context in which your organisation operates. Australia is a multi-cultural nation with complex demography. We are also aging. Those dominant trends affect different organisations in different ways. Your clients and customers will reflect the overall trend in demography. Increasingly consumers will seek out organisations that reflect their values and experience. This means that having a workforce with broad life experience, which reflects your customer base makes sound business sense. While there is no substitute for technical and professional expertise the organisations which will prosper in the fluid and competitive global economy are those whose teams possess communication and cultural skills, who understand the lives and aspirations of those to whom they provide service and those which can rapidly adapt in the face of social and political change. Diversity future-proofs any enterprise in this dynamic environment.
A research survey by McKinsey & Companydemonstrates the direct link between your bottom line and effectiveness and diversity. Although based on United States data most local research supports similar conclusions. Here are two of the most prominent findings:
- Companies in the top 25% for racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have the national average for their industry; and
- Companies in the top 25% for gender diversity are 15% more likely to outperform comparable industry rivals.
While not quantifiable, a happy and harmonious workplace is more likely to be more productive than one in which employees feel ‘invisible’ or unwelcome. That is plain common sense rather than political correctness.
It is tempting to think that diversity imposes more costs than benefits or that your organisation requires a specialist team to implement strategies to reap the rewards. This is not the case. You do not need to incur major overheads or hire in-house experts to help you benefit from a diverse workplace. An expert audit of your structure and performance will often yield valuable insights into how your teams are perceived by clients and stakeholders. Most measures that allow you to maximise the benefits of the diversity present in your existing team are accessible and cost effective.
Outside specialists such as Griffin Legal have considerable expertise in advising public and private enterprises of varying sizes and degrees of complexity. Griffin Legal possesses considerable expertise in workforce planning.
Jane Diedricks (LINK) has worked in the workplace relations area over many years in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors in roles such as Human Resources Manager, Industrial Relations Manager, Lawyer, Legal Team Director and Workplace Investigator. Jane is currently the Unit Convenor for the University of Canberra’s Law of Employment unit for under-graduate and post-graduate legal and management students.
How We Can Help
Griffin Legal can:
- Conduct a workplace audit and advise you of your strengths and weaknesses. It may be that your workforce is already more diverse than you appreciate through the different age backgrounds and experiences of your team members.
- Advise on any diversity requirements of businesses attempting to secure government contracts.
- Advise of any legal issues arising from Diversity and Inclusion.
- Train your teams in how to inculcate diversity of thought and adaptive problem solving into your routine operations.