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Five ways to make sure you’re championing diversity in your organisation

1 November 2019 at 5:23 pm
Maggie Coggan
Helpful tips on how to foster diversity in your workplace

Maggie Coggan | 1 November 2019 at 5:23 pm


Five ways to make sure you’re championing diversity in your organisation
1 November 2019 at 5:23 pm

Helpful tips on how to foster diversity in your workplace 

Diversity and inclusion in your workplace are important, but where do you start, and how do you know if you’re doing it well? We spoke to the CEO of Diversity Council Australia, Lisa Annese, for some tips. 

Set up the policies to support it  

Take a good hard look at all your policies, and see if they fit into what you are trying to achieve. There’s no point in saying you support diversity if you don’t have the policies to back it all up.  

“If you’ve got policies which are a bit outdated, then that’s an immediate roadblock,” Annese says. 

“This could look like having a parental leave policy [that’s] not inclusive of same sex families, for example.” 

Get some numbers behind you  

Pulling together data on how diverse your organisation already is and how far you’ve got to go is a helpful way of mapping out a game plan. 

“Most workplaces will make assumptions that they want to be more diverse, but in what way? They might not really know how diverse the organisation is,” Annese says.  

“They may never have asked the question or if they’ve asked the question, they haven’t gotten the truth, so getting good accurate data will really help direct you.” 

All leaders aboard

It may be the case that one person is driving the change, but the entire leadership team of your organisation has to be on board. So make sure you agree on what you’re going to be driving forward.  

“If the leadership of the organisation isn’t on board, then that’s problematic,” she says. 

Take it one step at a time  

It’s important to figure out exactly what you want to achieve, and to set small achievable goals, because it will take time to enact a big cultural shift.   

“This space is really complex and you’re actually talking about, in some cases, serious systemic disadvantage or trying to create a culture shift that you can’t just correct overnight,” she says. 

Keep your management in the know 

If you really want to see a permanent shift take place, supervisors and managers need to have the knowledge and capability to influence the rest of the organisation.  

“You can have everything in place, but it lives or dies with the individual manager,” she explains. 

And that means constant training and reminders on how to manage staff in a way that promotes and champions diversity and inclusion. 

“You can’t just tell people once where the exit doors are and then forget about it. You actually have to keep things top of mind,” she says.

Maggie Coggan  |  Journalist  |  @MaggieCoggan

Maggie Coggan is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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