Promote diversity and inclusion in your small business

Learn about diverse and inclusive workplaces and get the tools to improve your approach.

Shape

Overview

How this helps your business

An equal and diverse workplace lets you draw from the biggest possible talent pool, increasing your skills and innovation. Diverse workplaces reap the benefits of being better able to serve Australia's diverse range of customers.

Employees are protected from workplace discrimination under Victorian and federal laws and organisations can be held legally responsible for incidents of workplace discrimination.

Developing and maintaining an equal employment opportunity (EEO) policy can reduce discrimination, as well as guide employers in how to respond to a complaint. By being proactive and implementing an EEO policy, you will be taking practical steps towards creating a fair and productive workplace.

Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission

Key stats and facts


$63,000  

Is the maximum penalty for each act of unlawful discrimination for a workplace.

Fair Work, 2017


More diverse and inclusive workplaces see an 83% improvement on innovation, a 42% improvement in team collaboration, and a 31% improvement in the ability to respond to changing customer requirements.

Deloitte and Victorian Equal Opportunity & Human Rights Commission, 2017

Step 1

Learn more on this topic

This short video from Accenture is a great resource to share with your staff to start increasing awareness of diversity and inclusion.

Inclusion starts with 'I'

Step 2

Support workplace diversity

Celebrating the following diversity holidays and celebrations can help your workplace diversity and inclusion efforts. Choose one that's relevant for your workplace – the list below includes a few dates to get you started, but there are many more in the links provided.

Diversity calendar

Step 3

Assess your workplace

Diversity and inclusion can seem overwhelming, but there are some quick, practical steps you can take to acknowledge and increase diversity and create a more supportive workplace.

Use the self-assessment list to see how your workplace is doing in some key areas of diversity and inclusion. Tick the items that are true in your workplace.

Workplace diversity and inclusion practices

  • Do you offer flexible working arrangements for everyone (e.g. flexible working hours and locations)?
  • Do you offer alternative ways for work to be carried out?
  • Do you recruit individuals from diverse backgrounds (e.g. race/ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation etc) whose knowledge and beliefs promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace?
  • Are your interview questions designed to measure diversity and cultural competence?
  • Do you and any other managers show it’s okay to speak up when needed?
  • Are you and any other managers aware of different cultural practices and special needs of employees, and do you make workplace adjustments where appropriate?
  • Do your workplace values reflect inclusion and embrace diversity (no favouritism)?
  • Do you have a statement of your shared understanding of diversity, inclusion and cultural competence?
  • Are policies and procedures in place to manage and protect diverse groups, and to be clear about expected behaviour?
  • Are you a workplace that's aware of your EEO obligations?
  • Are your employees given training to understand workplace diversity?
  • Are diverse employees welcomed to the workplace?

Step 4

Make a change

From the self assessment you completed in Step 3, identify 1 key area that you can improve and start working on it.

TIP: choose something that you can implement in the next 3 months. This will show you're committed to improving diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Ask your employees their opinion to get them involved and onboard.

  • Ask employees the right questions – such as are we doing things right, or are there better ways it can be done?
  • Have constant discussions with all employees and keep them engaged. If something didn't work, tell them that, and get them involved in ways to improve things
  • Review regularly – set a date and stick to it
  • Look to see if your objective has been achieved. If not, why? Was it a lack of understanding?

Step 5

Draft or review your policy

The Australian Human Rights Commission has a template you can use as the basis to develop your EEO policy.

The sample Diversity, Inclusion and Equal Opportunity Policy gives further detail about promoting diversity and inclusion, unacceptable behaviours and how to resolve issues.

Remember to talk to your employees to get their perspectives and see if they have any great ideas you could include in your policy.

Step 6

Share with staff

Use this checklist to make sure your policy covers the basics and see if it's ready to share with your employees. Ask some of your employees to read your draft policy and give you feedback.

When it's ready, share it with your employees and make sure everyone has a chance to discuss it and ask any questions they might have about what it means.

EEO policy checklist

  • A commitment from senior leaders to provide a diverse and inclusive working environment
  • A description of staff rights and responsibilities
  • A description of what is unacceptable behaviour
  • How each level of management will be responsible for EEO, diversity and inclusion policies and procedures
  • A promise to involve employees in deciding how the policy will be put into practice
  • How issues are resolved
  • How EEO policies and procedures will be shared with staff
  • The name of the person they can speak to if they have concerns
  • Dates for when to check to make sure the policy is working as it's supposed to

More resources

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Disclaimer: The WorkWell Toolkit provides general information only. Please consider your specific circumstances, needs and seek appropriate professional advice.