Diversity in action: Australian workers call for more inclusive workplaces

By Our Reporter
Amie Lyone, Co-CEO of COS // Pic supplied

The push for diversity, equality, and inclusion has become a crucial aspect of company culture. A recent study commissioned by COS, an Australian company specialising in workplace product supply solutions, sheds light on the stark gap between the aspiration for and reality of diversity policies in workplaces.

Surveying over a thousand Australian workers, the study revealed that a significant 76% believe it’s vital for their workplace to have a diversity policy. However, this expectation clashes with reality, as only 47% confirmed the presence of such policies at their companies. This disparity highlights a notable gap in the implementation of diversity initiatives across Australian businesses.

The importance of diversity policies resonates deeply with Australian workers for various reasons. A notable 33% expressed that including everyone is fundamentally important to them. For 28%, diversity is a value that extends to every facet of their life. Additionally, 17% stated that working for a company that embraces diversity would be a source of pride, while another 17% recognised the business success linked to diverse companies.

Interestingly, the perception of diversity in current workplaces paints a somewhat brighter picture, with 85% of respondents feeling their workplace is diverse. This perception is particularly strong in sectors like HR (94%), IT and Telecommunications (94%), and Architecture, Engineering & Building (92%). Geographically, employees in the Northern Territory (100%), Victoria (87%), and South Australia (87%) perceived the highest levels of diversity in their workplaces.

Amie Lyone, Co-CEO of COS, emphasises the proven benefits of diversity in business performance. With a leadership team comprising 56% women and employees hailing from over 51 different global regions, COS exemplifies a diverse workplace. Lyone acknowledges the challenges leaders face in initiating these changes but stresses the importance of prioritising diversity.

To bridge the gap between aspiration and implementation, Lyone offers several strategies:

Conduct an Internal Audit: Assess the current state of diversity within the company, considering aspects like gender split, pay differences, and cultural diversity.

Set Clear Goals: Post-audit, it’s essential to establish measurable diversity goals, such as altering gender ratios or increasing cultural diversity by specific percentages within a set timeline.

Revamp Hiring Processes: Diversifying the hiring process, including having a varied panel of interviewers, can significantly impact the diversity of new hires.

Educate and Engage the Entire Company: Promoting an inclusive culture involves educating the workforce about various cultural and religious holidays and respecting these in company scheduling.

Lyone’s closing remarks underline the urgency of this issue. While administrative tasks often overshadow policy creation, the clear demand from employees for more inclusive workplaces cannot be ignored. The proposed strategies offer a practical blueprint for businesses to enhance their diversity policies, setting a path for a more inclusive and successful 2024 and beyond in the Australian business sector.

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