Harmony Week from 15-21 March each year is a time to celebrate inclusiveness, respect and belonging for all Australians, regardless of cultural or linguistic background, united by the same core values. It also coincides with the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on 21 March.
Diversity and Inclusion can have tangible benefits on many levels – read on to hear our argument for why it’s as great for business as for our community.
What is multiculturalism?
Multiculturalism is the presence of, or support for the presence of, several distinct cultural or ethnic groups within a society. Australia’s diverse migrant communities have brought with them food, lifestyle and cultural practices, which have been absorbed into mainstream Australian culture.
Nearly half (49 per cent) of Australians were born overseas or have at least one parent who was. Take a look at Australia’s population by country of birth as estimated by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2019.
Why is cultural diversity good for business?
A truly diverse and inclusive workplace is an important asset, since it acknowledges the individual strengths of each employee and the potential they bring and celebrates a universal truth: we are all the same, and we are all different (and different is good). Ultimately, valuing the differences of others is what brings us together.
Aurion team members have come to Australia from 18 different countries
If potential employees or customers see that a company represents a diverse workplace, accepts people of all backgrounds and treats their employees fairly, it makes them feel like they can relate to the company more.
Having more people in a team with differing perspectives, experience and work methods means a greater chance of an inventive, out-of-the-box solution to problems and will give rise to greater productivity. Diversity can also breed healthy competition, stretching a team in a positive way to achieve their best.
Today’s world is increasingly more globalised and interconnected. A company with cultural and cognitive diversity will benefit from a higher cultural competence then their competitors and be quicker to spot a gap in the market.
However, we’re all susceptible to unconscious bias, it’s a part of being human. It’s essential to examine the underlying drivers of our thoughts and behaviours if we are to build genuinely inclusive working environments that values, respects and encourages difference – and provide a true competitive advantage.
Find out more on how we express our company values at Aurion: read about our donation to five organisations that support everyday people to rebuild lives and communities devastated by disasters; and how we celebrated NAIDOC Week in 2020 by exploring the history, culture and achievements of indigenous Australian peoples.