In the growing diversity of the workforce in the Australian workplace, it is essential for the Australian Government as well as employers and managers to develop effective strategies for improving the environment of the diversity in the Australian workplace. This report is aimed at promoting the diversity in the working environment, workplace, culture, and service delivery. This report will describe the diversity challenges and opportunities confronting by the employers and managers. This will also discuss the diversity management as a subject of attention for the managers (Hartel and Fujimoto, 2014). The diversity management programs and strategic initiatives will also be addressed to reduce the diversity related issues and challenges.
The workforce diversity involves broad mix of the workforce from different cultural, ethnic, and racial backgrounds of different cultures, castes, religions, and genders. The workforce diversity occurs because of the diverse workforce related to differences in values, physical abilities, caste, gender, sexual orientation, religions, cultures, and race. The workforce diversity also occurs due to the minority groups and indigenous people that create complexities for the employers and managers while managing the HRM practices within the organizations (Assaf, 2015). The workforce diversity includes dimensions- Primary dimension (inborn differences, such as ethnic, race, religion, gender, physical abilities, and sexual orientation) and Secondary dimension (education, religion, believes, marital status, work culture and family background). The discrimination, prejudices, biases, and inequality of the employment practices within the organizations are such growing diversity issues that prevent the employment of the skilled, qualified, and experienced employee in the companies for the relevant job posts.
The Australian Public Service (APS) agencies are confronting challenges in establishing and maintaining the workplace diversity and capable workforce in the Australian workplace. The race and ethnicity creates the complexities to the HRM practices of the employers and tend to hire the employees by preferring the racism, casteism, and reliogionism issues while recruiting the employees. These discriminating employment practices prevent the skilled and qualified employees to get employment based on their abilities (The Australian Department of Human Service, 2015). For ex- the minority groups suffers from the discrimination in employment because of the different cultural, physical and social traits and characteristics that create inequality of the employment practices for the minority groups employees.
The termination of the growing ageing workforce is an example of the discriminating employment practices based on the physical abilities. The potential and experienced ageing employees are withdrawn or terminated by most of the employers from their organizations without any appropriate reasons on the basis of ageing or growing ages by ignoring their valuable contributions and extraordinary efforts to the organizations (The Australian Public Service Commission, 2015). The employers and managers also face diversity on the basis of color of the employees. Some employers in Australia give employment preferences to the while people (from countries Australia, Europe, USA and white groups) by ignoring the selection of the black people (Indians, Africans, and other black group people) entirely.
The sexual advancements or unwelcome conduct of the sexual nature creates barriers to the ethical working practices. Glass ceiling is a case of the gender discrimination and sexual harassment that prevents the women or lady staffs to get equal employment opportunities. For example, glass ceiling is an invisible barrier that keeps the female employees and other minorities out of the employment. The glass-ceiling creates obstacles to the personal accomplishment and career development of the female employees by preventing them from getting equal employment opportunities on the basis of skills level and disabilities (The Australian Human Rights Commission, 2015). The locality is another growing diversity issue from the Australian industry perspective that prevents the outsider candidates or overseas employees from getting the equal employment opportunities because the some of the Australian companies only prefers the local Australian employees by ignoring the skills, qualification level, and job competences of the outsider employees.
Due to the growing complexities and issues of the diversity in the workplace, the most of the employers and senior managers are paying attention to the management of the workforce diversity at the work place. The employers and managers are being urged to identify and value diversity by perusing for the diversity management programs for improving the workplace environment of the diversity in the workplace. The managers are taking several initiatives for managing the workforce diversity within the organizations (SBS, 2015). The employers are now becoming more competitive and innovative by allowing the diversity in the workplace within their organizations that embraces the employment of the skilled, talented, and experienced workforce on the basis of their abilities and job competences. The most of the employers in Australia allow workforce diversity in their workplace or work environment and are looking for the skilled, capable, and multicultural workforce for improving the workplace environment.
The Human Rights Commission of the Australian Government provides the legislations and inclusions for the employers to follow the legal guidelines for reducing the workforce diversity related problems and issues. The Australian Anti-discrimination legislations, such as Age Discrimination act, 2004, Racial Discrimination act, 1975, Disability Discrimination act, 1992, Sex Discrimination act, 1984, Fair Work Act, 2009, Work, Health, and Safety act, 2011, and Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission act, 1986 provide the rules and regulations for the employers related to the human rights, age, sex, race, and disabilities. The Workplace Gender Equality act, 2012 provides the legislations related to diversity at the workplace based on the gender or sexual orientation (French, Burgess, and Strachan, 2009). The sexual harassment legislations of the Australian government enforce the employers to provide the security to the female employees during their employment period. The equal pay act provides the directions related to equal payment for the employees of same grade or levels.
With globalization of the businesses, rising migration, and increasing competitiveness, the most of companies are becoming more attentive to the workforce diversity management. The Australian employers are focusing on recruiting, retaining, and motivating the best workforce for ensuring the harmonious working environment. The workforce diversity management promotes the fairness, accountability, and equality in the employment practices and workplace environment for enhancing value, motivation, and job satisfaction of the employees. The employers promote workforce diversity to attract, identify, recruit, and retain the best employees having good skills, educational qualifications, and adequate knowledge and work experiences for giving their valuable services to the organizations (SBS, 2015). The businessmen are focusing on creating a diverse work environment where the talents from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds perform at their best for achieving the organizational goals and objectives as well as maximizing the stakeholders’ value.
The workforce diversity management has become a subject of attention that that the employers and managers are focusing to promote the diversity in the working environment for maximizing the employee morale, job satisfaction, value, and motivation and to realize them that they are important part of the organization. The most of the Australian companies are promoting the workforce diversity management principles at the workplace for enhancing productivity, creativity and innovation, and loyalty and confidence of the employees. Todays, the workforce diversity principles are applied to most of the Australian organizations for getting a significant competitive advance, improving organizational decision-making, meeting stakeholders’ perspectives, and satisfying the diverse needs of the customers through good service delivery (Optus, 2015). For example, the employment of the employees from the indigenous backgrounds and with disabilities is the key priority of the Australian Human Service Department and The Australian Public Service Commission to promote the workforce diversity in the Australian workplace. The Diversity Council Australia says that the Asian-Australians are at the position of board members, managerial positions, senior executives, and professionals.
The workforce diversity management is being promoted throughout the Australian organizations to assist in retaining the highly talented, skilled, and experienced workforce, enhancing corporate reputation, improving innovation and creativity among the employees, enhancing customer satisfaction and service levels, and strengthening cultural values throughout the organization. The workforce diversity management also reduces inter-organizational conflicts, employee disputes, communication difficulties, lower turn-over and absenteeism, and lower employee motivation. For example, according to a report from Hays Plc. an Australian recruitment consulting agency, more than 58% of the Australian employees are more likely to see diversity in the workplace. From the survey of 239 employees and 348 candidates, the diversity map shows the diverse workforce on the basis of genders, age, multi-cultural, indigenous, and disabilities (Canas and Sondak, 2014). From the survey report of Hays recruitment, it is found that 66 % employees see the organization gender diverse, 66% workforce look the organization cultural diverse from various cultural backgrounds, 69% see organization as a diverse workforce of different age groups of employees, 30% say that the organization has diversity with Aboriginal and Torres strait workforce, and 26% see the diverse organization with disable workforce.
The workplace diversity program 2014-2017 of the Australian Public Service (APS) Commission provides information to the employees about the importance and relevance of the workplace diversity. It reinforces the National Archives’ commitment to the workforce diversity and embedding the diversity in day to day operations, workplace environment, culture, and customer service delivery. This program provides directions related to attracting, recruiting, and retaining the employee from the diverse cultural backgrounds, providing them a discrimination-free work environment that is professional flexible, innovative, and engaged, and integrating the diversity principles into the management practices (Bendi, Bleijenbergh, Henttonen, and Mills, 2015). This program encourage the employment of the workforce from the Indigenous Australian backgrounds, people from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds, people with disabilities, mature age workers, and LGBTI people (Lesbians, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex people). For example, the diversity report of National Archives of APS shows that APS 57.5% workforce account for the women employees, APS 44% employees are over 45 years aged, APS 2.9% are disable employees, and 2.3% from Indigenous backgrounds.
The individual approaches, such as learning and empathy are used to manage the diversity within the organizations. While, on the other hand, training, testing, and mentoring are organizational approaches used to manage the diversity within the organization. The equal opportunities of the training and development and learning could be provided for all staff members for reducing the diversity of the workplace by improving their skills, knowledge, and work competences of the diverse workforce (CTI Reviews, 2016). The coaching and mentoring are also workforce diversity management programs that focus on educating the employees for the awareness of the diversity needs of the organization and teaching them about different cultural patterns, environmental conditions, and business requirements in the environment of risks and uncertainties.
The training, learning, coaching, and mentoring improve the problems-solving skills, decision-making skills, managerial skills, communication skills, technological knowledge and job competences of the staff members for preparing them to work in the diverse work environment (Barak, 2016). The employers are accepting the diversity challenges by focusing on integrating CSR and ethics into the HRM practices for providing the equal treatment to all employees by recruiting the skilled and deserving candidates on the basis of their capabilities, skills, knowledge, and work experiences. For example, the ethical code of conduct is a diversity management initiative that some employers follow by issuing a code of ethics to all its employees that will treat all employees in same manner based on the equality, transparency, fairness, and accountability of the working practices.
The employers in Australia have been recruiting the over half diverse workforce for the technical, operations, marketing, managerial, accountants, and labor class jobs that will assist in developing the productive workplace by combining the skills, knowledge, efforts, and performances of the diverse workforce for the attainment of common goals and objectives. The cross-cultural technological training is also a part of the cultural diversity management programs, provided by the top technological companies, such as Intel, Apple, Samsung, for reducing the cultural diversity impact at the workplace. The cross-cultural training provides the employees an understanding of the different cultures, traditions, languages, and regional issues.
The diversity training programs is provided for enhancing the awareness of the diversity and educating the employees about the business care for diversity. Through diversity training, the managerial staffs and executive employees learn the norms, values, cultures, customs, traditions, and language preferences of different cultural environments (Deresky and Christopher, 2015). The employee participation and engagement is an initiative adopted by the employers and managers for reducing the diversity related issues by allowing the participation of all employees in the company meetings, seminars, events, decision-making process that will assist to enhance the employee motivation, morale, and job satisfaction.
From the above studies, it can be concluded that the workforce diversity has become an increasingly issue for the Australian firms affecting the HRM practices, strategies, and planning. The employers and managers are now becoming more attentive to the workforce diversity management by reducing the discrimination, prejudice and inequality on the basis of age, race, gender, sex, religion and gender.
The most of the employers in the Australian context are paying great attention to manage the diversity issues and challenges in the workplace by integrating the CSR and ethics into the HRM practices for providing the equal treatment to all employees that will assist to overcome the growing diversity challenges and discriminating employment practices. The diversity map shows the organization with the diverse workforce including the employees from different age groups, races, cultural background, genders, and physical and mental abilities.
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