Australia is one of the most culturally diverse places in the world. Our workplaces are a great example of the diversity that we have. According to the Human Rights Commission, 28% of our population was born overseas; 20% have a parent born overseas, and about 20% speak a language other than English at home. With this data, we can tell that a large part of the population is either first-generation or second-generation Australian. 
What is workplace diversity?
Diversity in the workplace brings the acceptance of employees from a wide range of backgrounds. It also means valuing each worker's skills and differences in the workplace. Workplace diversity means an inclusive environment that gives equal rights and opportunities to all workers regardless of their age, colour, gender, sexual orientation, physical abilities, ethnicity, religious belief and more. 
Almost one in five Australians experience race-based discrimination in the workplace, which causes risks for the workers and the business. Research shows that promoting cultural diversity dramatically benefits the company, making for all employees' healthier physical and mental health. 
What does cultural diversity bring into the workplace? The workplace plays a critical role in supporting diversity. Having cultural diversity brings positive impacts such as:
1. Enhances excellent performance and productivity
Research by the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission and Deloitte indicates that adapting cultural diversity and inclusion in the workplace helps to improve business performance and productivity. When employees feel that diversity is supported in their workplace, they are more likely to be responsive and cooperative and enhance their skills and performance. They will also be more likely to be at work, reducing absenteeism and increasing their high-performance rating. 
Diversity helps attract the right people, based on the survey by Glassdoor, an HR company, who found out that 67% of people consider diversity an essential factor in deciding where to work. Leading candidates are drawn to work with diverse workforces. They are looking for an employer who treats their employee fairly, and organisations with a high value of diversity have higher staff retention. Attracting great employees doesn't only depend on hiring young workers or rising stars. Older workers share a lot of their experiences and good work ethics, while young workers can also benefit from the expertise of those in the team who have been there longer.
2. Better innovative thinking and creativity
A culturally diverse workplace can benefit from different perspectives and innovative ideas, which can help improve a business. A wide-ranging skillset of view and ideas provide a competitive edge, better concepts, and positive results.  In another study about the performance in brainstorming tasks, the ideas and solutions given by a group of culturally diverse people were judged to be higher than the ideas and solutions by a homogenous group. It could also open doors for businesses to expand into global markets as cultural knowledge and language skills are significant factors to flourish.
3. Reduces the risk
A well-managed diverse workplace can protect its employees from discrimination and harassment. An estimated 70% of workers are exposed to discrimination, violence, and harassment in their workplaces, showing that there is a considerable risk in a business.
In our previous article, we discussed how discrimination, bullying, and harassment negatively affect the physical and psychological health of a worker exposed to it and its impact on a business. It also allows companies to save time and money by preventing the increase in turnover, absenteeism, and compensation claims by workers.
4. Boost health and wellbeing
A worker's overall health and wellbeing are vital to be at their best in performing tasks and duties. Studies reveal that race-based discrimination led to high health issues, especially in the mental and wellbeing aspects, such as anxiety, stress, depression and low quality of life. It's a clear indication that having a well-managed cultural diversity in workplaces can benefit workers' health, and we can only achieve it if we nurture, raise awareness and lead by example. Being free from discrimination is another excellent way to have a safe and healthy environment in our workplaces. 
How do you support diversity in your workplace? Is it only during company celebrations or team lunches? Or by always treating your workers fairly?
Remember this quote by Alexis Hernan, "Inclusion and fairness in the workplace… is not simply the right thing to do; it's the smart thing to do."
If you would like to know more about how to make a positive impact within your business or find out how we can help you improve your team's mental wellbeing that is tailor-made for you and progress that you can test and measure, contact us today on 1300 114 818 for a private and confidential conversation or email us at email@example.com.
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