20% of people in Australia have experienced discrimination based on skin colour; ethnic origin or religion, as found in the 2017 Scanlon Foundation Mapping Social Cohesion Report. In a workplace context, this kind of behaviour negatively influences workplace culture, productivity, team cohesiveness, and performance.
How can a diverse workplace be truly inclusive if we cannot positively discuss the differences that give our organisations such strength?
The benefits of culturally and linguistically diverse workplaces are extensive and foster a unique range of skills that include:
· Cultural knowledge of subtleties and context
· Language skills
· Access to business networks and opportunity – both diverse local communities and overseas
· Knowledge of culturally diverse consumer tastes and preferences.
Culturally diverse staff provide multicultural perspectives and contribute to a well-rounded and dynamic business viewpoint, with each bringing strengths to the table. As a diverse nation, this should and can be reflected in the workplace, with the dividend being the strength gained from varied perspectives.
Beginning a meaningful conversation about cultural diversity can contribute to creating an inclusive work environment, but it can be a difficult dialogue to start. Topics of race or cultural origin can be, but don’t need to be, social taboos.
Attitudes gauged in the Mapping Social Cohesion Report found that 60% of respondents agreed that as a country, we should learn about the customs and heritage of diverse cultural groups. This provides evidence of an appetite to have these discussions, and for Australians to better understand each other.
There are a range of tools and resources available to promote the value of workplace diversity by starting meaningful conversations. A Taste of Harmony encourages colleagues to share food and stories from different cultural backgrounds in the workplace. This provides an opening for cross-cultural communication and acts as an easy way to encourage discussion on experiences of multiculturalism in Australia. It’s these interactions that can create dynamic workplaces.
A Taste of Harmony fosters positive workplace relationships while celebrating the value of cultural diversity in the workplace. Learn more about what A Taste of Harmony event could look like in your workplace by viewing our event ideas.