The world is slowly realising the importance of recognising and celebrating everyone’s differences. While there are around eight billion people across the world, we all come from different backgrounds, have different thoughts, opinions, ideas, and views of the world. It would be pretty boring if we were all the same, right?! It’s because of all these differences of thoughts, opinion and idea’s that the world continues to progress at such a rapid pace. Organisations who embrace diversity and are actively trying to recruit a diverse workforce are reaping the rewards that a diverse range of employee can offer. People who have different thinking patterns or look at situations from a different perspective can help an organisation improve or expand on their products or services. However, sometimes in the workplace when there are differences of opinion or a clash of personalities, it can often cause conflict. Although, this could simply be a misunderstanding, a lack of knowledge on a person’s background or not understanding why people do things the way they do. Diversity awareness training can help to build a better understanding and appreciation of our colleagues and begin to value all of our differences and create a more productive, innovative and inclusive workplace. For the past twenty years atWork Australia have been supporting Australian businesses to access the full talent pool and develop a more inclusive workplace. Here is more information about how atWork Australia can help to plan your workforce.
What is Diversity Awareness Training?
Diversity awareness training aims to educate, increase confidence, and breakdown misconceptions that creating a diverse workplace is difficult or too hard. A diverse and inclusive workplace includes, but is not limited to, people living with disability, injury, health condition or those who require additional support, which helps improve workplace culture and promotes a diverse workforce. All people have many contributions to make to workplaces and the wider community, but their capacity to do so can be limited by the perceptions or actions of others.
atWork Australia is pleased to run a free Diversity Webinar Series to enhance awareness and knowledge of disability and inclusion in the workplace.
atWork Australia’s webinars aim to empower employers to build more diverse teams and confidently support employees living with disability, injury, health condition or those who require additional support. It provides workplaces with practical tools and strategies to gain a deeper understanding of how to attract, recruit and support a diverse workforce. atWork Australia are experts in Disability Employment, therefor the training is mainly focused on disability, however, the concepts are relevant to most cohorts. Don’t miss your opportunity to be a part of the next webinar, register your interest and check out the range of topics on offer.
What Makes Diversity Training Successful?
Diversity training is successful when the participants leave the session with a greater understanding of how their actions can impact others and have a greater appreciation of the benefits a diverse workforce can bring to an organisation. While also demonstrating a willingness to look at situations from different perspectives to find solutions and outcomes that maximises benefits for the majority. However, the first step towards creating change and a more diverse workforce is through providing education and improving knowledge on the benefits of diversity. Although, the greatest indication of diversity training being successful is when we see actions and Australian businesses start to take advantage of the diverse range of talent on offer.
atWork Australia’s General Manager Partnerships & Stakeholder Engagement, Debbie Brooks said hiring a person living with disability shouldn’t be seen as an issue to be overcome, but an opportunity to build stronger teams.
“Hiring a diverse workforce facilitates different methods of communication, collaboration and leadership to balance out working styles and create a fluid and dynamic culture”, said Debbie.
Businesses can play an important role in creating an equal and inclusive workplace and reap significant benefits from hiring people living with a disability. Bringing together different minds, backgrounds, experiences, genders, and ages brings together different thought processes to solve more complex problems. Here is additional information on how workforce diversity facilitates success.
When we see organisations fully commit and realise the benefit of a diverse workforce and the diversity awareness training is no longer required; this will be the ultimate indication that diversity awareness training has had its desired effect. Until then, we must keep providing education and building awareness around the many benefits.
Diversity awareness training can remove unconscious bias from the recruitment process
Unconscious biases are judgements and opinions that are subconsciously built up over a lifetime. Unfortunately, they have the power to negatively influence the recruitment process and dissuade employers from choosing the best person for the position.
This issue affects a wide range of demographics including those living with disability, injury, illness or disadvantage who have generally had a significantly fewer employment opportunities throughout their working life. Debbie Brooks, atWork Australia General Manager Partnerships & Stakeholder Engagement, said, “In my experience, business leaders want to create open and inclusive workplaces and simply want to find the right person for the job. Unfortunately, the data indicates that this simply isn’t happening, as those with disability are less likely to land a job than the average Australian. As such, we see unconscious bias playing an underlying role in recruitment choices.”
While unconscious biases can be damaging, it is important to understand that they are not malicious in their intent, continues Debbie: “Unconscious biases are social stereotypes that we all create to help us to understand and categorise the world around us, based on our past experiences. They are useful when they work, but can be detrimental if not properly scrutinised.
These days companies are receiving higher volumes of applications for job vacancies, it’s critical that employers remain open-minded, particularly when reviewing applications and CVs to avoid limiting their access to a broader talent pool. To address unconscious bias, companies must proactively take a structured approach to recruitment that utilises all available information on candidates and avoids ill-informed snap decisions being made.
Diversity awareness training is a great first step to unravelling unconscious bias because it not only allows you to realise that everyone possesses unconscious biases but assists you to identify your own,” said Debbie.
Getting Started with Diversity Awareness Training
Starting the journey towards creating a more diverse workplace has never been easier. atWork Australia have recently launch their new Diversity Webinar Series. Hosted by atWork Australia Brand Ambassador, Shaun Pianta and atWork Australia Senior Manager, Employer Partnerships, Penny Evans. The free Diversity Webinar Series aims to educate and boost confidence in supporting a diverse range of employees in the workplace. Each session focusses on a new topic, including:
- Mental Health
- Managing a Diverse team
- Physical disabilities and workplace adjustments
- How to remove unconscious bias through the interview process
- How to create a welcoming environment
atWork Australia’s Diversity Webinar Series run every six weeks or you can request to have a session specifically tailored for your organisation. To find out more information or to register you interest for the next session, please visit atWork Australia’s Diversity Webinar Series