Australian businesses are struggling to integrate long-lasting change for diversity and inclusion into their workplaces, a new report has revealed.
The Change at Work report, released by the Diversity Council of Australia in collaboration with Google and Deloitte, found that three out of four change agents believed diversity initiatives or programs at their organisation are never, rarely or only sometimes implemented effectively.
Nearly one in three said those efforts to drive forward real change are either rarely or never executed well.
The report examined diversity in terms of the mix of employees at an organisation, looking at their social as well as professional identities.
Diversity Council of Australia CEO Lisa Annese said the research shows how hard it can be for companies to instil long-term change around diversity, even when they start out with the best intentions.
More than just a sense of belonging, good diversity management involves “having opportunities for people, having respectful environments and ensuring what people do adds value to the organisations,” Ms Annese told SBS News.
Deloitte CEO Richard Deutsch added that while many organisations are now aware of the importance of diversity in the workplace, managing it in the long run remains a challenge.
“I believe we’ve reached the point where our culture recognises and understands the value of inclusion, which is fantastic. Not just as ‘the right thing to do’, but as a necessary business imperative,” Mr Deutsch said. “But we need to ensure we’re driving lasting change and can really sustain it.”
The report recommended strategies including setting more realistic goals, learning from past successes and failures, implementing initiatives at a team level, and evaluating the impact that these initiatives are having.
“Many leaders in Australian organisations are well schooled in theory of change in organisations and the robust evidence-based models used globally that underpin any change management strategy and process,” Ms Annese said.
“It’s time to apply that lens to change in diversity practice so it leads to greater workplace inclusion.”
Katherine O’Chee / email@example.com
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