Promoting access and inclusion is good for business, staff morale, your reputation and your finances.
Valuing and embracing diversity in your business can involve providing greater access to workers with disability, tackling age prejudice and gender discrimination, encouraging cultural diversity and embedding workplace flexibility.
Following are some examples of the opportunities businesses have to embrace diversity and inclusion.
Ensure your job ads reach the widest pool of talent through inclusive language
Review the skillsets of non-typical candidates and consider what they can add to your business
Engage an employment agency that specialises in diversity
Include someone with a disability in your workplace, a volunteer role, or workplace giving program. Note that changes across Australia in 2019 mean that the NDIS will now cover the employment needs of disabled workers where they are not currently met by other systems.
Improving access to your business:
Make important information available to consumers in multiple formats, not just in hard copy written format
Ensure your business website and physical signage is inclusive and welcoming to all
Develop creative solutions to overcome challenges in physical access to premises and services.
Have clear guidelines in place regarding workplace equality and how to avoid age, race and gender discrimination
Provide disability awareness training to staff
Offer workplace flexibility, such as flexible hours, part-time work and job sharing.
Apply for financial incentives that support inclusion:
Consider the government’s Employment Assistance Fund (EAF), which gives financial help to eligible people with disability and mental health conditions and to employers to buy work related modifications, equipment, Auslan services and workplace assistance and support services.
Find out what business grants are available for supporting access and inclusion actions, such as the Restart financial incentive of up to $10,000 when hiring and retaining mature age employees who are 50 years of age and over.
As you fill in the application form, review what your organisation has done to support access and inclusion and consider what it could do in the future.
How will it benefit your business?
Fostering diversity and inclusion is good for business and should be a key area of focus for businesses that want to expand. The Diversity Council Australia (DCA), a not-for-profit body that reflects changes in practice to embrace all areas of the diversity of human resources, has identified that financial benefits and productivity boosts arise from inclusivity.
By Joanne Ryan
Joanne Ryan is Managing Director of Infodec Communications, an experienced and long-established communications, strategy and marketing company located in Miranda.