By Marie Sherry

This month HR Assured is honouring Pride Month – it’s a time to celebrate diversity, identity and equality of all people, but in particular, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer or questioning (LGBTQ+) community.

Australian workplaces are made up of diverse people; they come from a wide range of cultures, ethnicities, gender identities, ages, sexual orientations and socio-economic backgrounds, so it’s important that employers create and maintain an inclusive place for their workers. If you’re looking for ways to create an inclusive workplace culture, here, I share my wisdom with you on ways your business can do just that!

Why is it important to have an inclusive workplace?

By creating, maintaining and celebrating an inclusive culture, organisations can better engage their workforce, enabling them to bring diverse solutions, ideas and innovation to work.

Unfortunately, discrimination (whether intended or not) is still present in many workplaces and it is the responsibility of employers to maintain a safe and inclusive workplace for all individuals who are engaged with the company. Unlawful workplace discrimination occurs when an employee is treated adversely or less favourably due to a specific attribute. These attributes can include:

  • Race;
  • Colour;
  • Sex;
  • Sexual orientation;
  • Age;
  • Physical or mental disability;
  • Marital status;
  • Family or carer’s responsibilities;
  • Pregnancy;
  • Religion;
  • Political opinion;
  • National extraction or social origin.

Creating and maintaining a workplace that’s inclusive of diversity will ideally prevent discrimination and prevent employees from being treated adversely due to their personal attributes. This is also extended in the way employees treat each other.

How can I make my workplace more inclusive?

When creating and maintaining an inclusive workplace consistency is key. First and for most, it’s important that your leadership team is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion through their own actions. Leaders should ‘rally people to move toward a better vision’ and ‘rally’ their teams – they should lead by example and correct those who fail to do so.

Here are some tips for employers:

  • Implement code of conduct and anti-discrimination and harassment policies that set standards of behaviour. A robust policy framework can help prevent adverse treatment due to protected attributes as well as making sure that all workers treat each other with respect and kindness.
  • Using language that is inclusive and to an extent neutral. Some workers may identify as ‘they’ or ‘their’ and may prefer to use neutral language rather than gender identifying pronouns such as ‘him’, ‘he’ or ‘she’, ‘her’.
  • Recognising and celebrating the strengths and talents of individuals to express positive diversity. Implementing programs such as ‘monthly shoutouts’, annual awards and hosting multicultural lunches helps to celebrate diversity and create a culture of inclusiveness.
  • There are also practical elements that can be implemented such as using the colours of pride (which is a rainbow) to help represent all individuals.
  • Implementing regular training about sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace to educate and reinforce minimum expectations and preventing this from occurring.

These are just a few ways that companies and employers can demonstrate to their employees that they celebrate an inclusive workplace.

HR Assured can help your business reduce the time spent on HR admin by up to 70 per cent, so you can focus on more meaningful initiatives such as building an inclusive workplace culture. Why not speak to us today?

Marie Sherry is a Senior Workplace Relations Consultant at FCB Group (our parent company) and HR Assured. Marie advises SMEs across a broad range of industries on all HR and employment relations matters including the Fair Work Act, National Employment Standards, Award compliance, employment contracts, performance management, unfair dismissal, general protections, wages, recruitment, WHS, HRIS, redundancy, and major workplace changes and updates.