Diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) – creating a better work experience for people of all identities and backgrounds

Today, businesses and organisations are giving more focus to the impacts of gender equality, racial injustice, equal opportunity, and more. Moreover, and positively, these companies are beginning to take positive action to address these long-standing issues.

Research has shown that having a strong diversity, equity and inclusion strategy (DE&I) can transform a workplace by creating an engaged and empowered team that thrives in their environment. A solid DE&I strategy is critical in enhancing overall business performance for those seeking business outcomes.

So, what are diversity, equity and inclusion?

The definition of DE&I has changed over the years and continues to evolve as our understanding of these topics progresses. But the basics are:

  • Diversity is the practice or quality of including or involving people from a range of different social and ethnic backgrounds and of different genders, sexual orientations, etc.
  • Equity is different from equality. Equity is about giving people what they need in order to make things fair. It’s a concept that recognises that individuals have different backgrounds, needs, experiences and opportunities – and creates conditions to allow everyone to reach their full potential. (With equality: treating everyone equally maintains inequality).
  • Inclusion is the way in which we bring a diverse group of individuals together in an environment where everyone feels safe, valued, and respected. This includes creating an equitable workplace where employees have equal rights and opportunities.

Diversity, equity and inclusion occur when a diversity of people are respected, connected, progressing, and contributing to organisational success, where:

  • Respected: a diversity of people feel valued and respected for who they are.
  • Connected: a diversity of people feel connected to their co-workers and feel they belong.
  • Progressing: a diversity of people have opportunities to develop their careers and progress.
  • Contributing: a diversity of people can contribute their talents to the organisation.

The current state of DE&I in the Australian workforce

Research from Diversity Council Australia 2021-22 Inclusion@Work Index shows that:

  • Australian workers overwhelmingly support inclusion initiatives. 43% of Australian workers strongly supported their organisation taking action to create a workplace that is diverse and inclusive, with only 3% of Australian workers opposed or strongly opposed to it.
  • Discrimination and harassment in the workplace are common - over a quarter of workers still report personally witnessing and/or experiencing discrimination, harassment, and/or everyday exclusionary behaviours in the workplace.
  • Workers from minority groups (such as a non-Christian religious background, workers with disability and LGBTIQ+ workers) are significantly more likely to experience discrimination and/or harassment at work, compared to workers from mainstream or majority groups (including Christian workers, workers with no religion, workers without disability, and non-LGBTIQ+ workers).
  • Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander workers consistently report the highest levels of exclusion – being twice as likely as non-Indigenous workers to have experienced discrimination and/or harassment at work in the last 12 months.
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Making the business case for DE&I

DE&I not only creates happier employees. Here are some key facts about diversity in Australian workplaces, where workers in inclusive teams are:

  • 11 times more likely to be highly effective than those in non-inclusive teams
  • 10 times more likely to be innovative
  • 6 times more likely to provide excellent customer service
  • 4 times more likely to work extra hard
  • 10 times more likely to be very satisfied
  • 4 times less likely to leave their job in the next 12 months
  • 4 times less likely to feel work has a negative impact on their mental health
  • 5 times less likely to experience discrimination and/or harassment
  • 9.8 times more likely to look forward to going to work
  • 6.3 times more likely to have pride in their work
  • 5.4 times more likely to want to stay a long time at their company

Additionally, employer benefits include:

  • Increased employee engagement and reduced employee turnover
  • Increased creativity and ideas and faster problem solving
  • Faster problem solving
  • Attract a bigger talent pool
  • Higher revenue

However, it’s not as easy as just flicking a switch. It takes time, patience, and work to cultivate a workplace ingrained with DE&I practices – and that’s where we come in.

Renée x

“We need to do more than diversity and equity and inclusion. We need to create real belonging in our culture.”
— Brene Brown

How we can help

At the People Practice, we are deeply passionate about working towards not only more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplaces, but a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive society. Let us help you understand how you can integrate DE&I into your business or organisation – and work towards a society that is more welcoming and tolerant of all peoples.

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