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Diversity – why inclusive workplaces are good for employers

By CCIWA Editor 

Increased innovation, greater effectiveness and better customer service are just some of the benefits of an inclusive workplace, according to a report.  

The report – led by Diversity Council Australia – surveyed 3000 Australian workers on inclusion in the workplace.  

Inclusivity occurs in a workplace when the employer makes a concerted effort to respect, engage with and progress a range of workers from diverse backgrounds. 

It found employees working in an inclusive team are: 

  • 19 times more likely to be very satisfied with their job  
  • 10 times more likely to be highly effective  
  • nine times more likely to innovate  
  • four times more likely to stay with their employer over the coming year. 

An overwhelming majority of workers (75 per cent) are keen for their bosses to take action on inclusivity in their workplace, compared with 3 per cent who strongly oppose it.  

Employers are the biggest beneficiaries of an inclusive workplace, according to the report.  

As well as substantially increased innovation, workers say their team is more effective (58 per cent compared to 6 per cent for non-inclusive workplaces), provides better customer service (61 per cent compared to 13 per cent for non-inclusive workplaces) and puts in more effort (61 per cent compared to 21 per cent in a non-inclusive workplace).  

Staff are more likely to stick around as well. About 62 per cent of workers in inclusive teams say they were not at all likely to look for a new job within the next 12 months.  

This dropped to 44 per cent of workers in ‘somewhat inclusive’ teams and to 16 per cent in non-inclusive teams. 

Harassment and discrimination are greatly reduced in inclusive workplaces.  

The report says inclusive teams are nearly seven times less likely than non-inclusive teams to have personally experienced harassment.  

The authors found 14 per cent of workers in inclusive teams witnessed harassment in the past year, compared with 56 per cent in non-inclusive teams.  

The numbers were similarly stark for those who have experienced harassment themselves. It was seven per cent for inclusive teams to 47 per cent in non-inclusive teams.  

Minority groups are more than twice as likely to experience this harassment and discrimination. 

The authors believe the report challenges the assumption that the push for diverse workforces only benefits minorities.  

They found satisfaction, feelings of respect in the workplace and ability to contribute was high across the board – no matter what background the worker was from. 

However, there is still some way to go to communicate the positives around an inclusive workplace. 

Diversity Council Australia CEO Lisa Annese says that despite the benefits, the report found that people who don’t belong to a minority or diversity group, such as men from Anglo-cultural backgrounds and older men, were less supportive of inclusion programs.  

“The main thing is that we see this as an opportunity, one where we not only provide safe and inclusive workplaces for our employees, but also boost business outcomes along the way,” she says. 

“Cutting harassment and increasing job satisfaction has significant repercussions. And inclusion, as it turns out, plays a much bigger part in achieving this than we previously knew. Our research provides the missing piece of statistical evidence about just how important it is. 

“What this research has also made abundantly clear is the strong support for Australian employers to invest in inclusive workplaces, and the overwhelming business and employee benefits of doing so.” 

CCIWA’s Workplace Relations team can advise you on equal opportunity matters. Contact the team on (08) 9365 7746 or erconsulting@cciwa.com. 

 

Increased innovation, greater effectiveness and better customer service are just some of the benefits of an inclusive workplace, according to a report.  

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