Workplace policies and procedures must be as dynamic as the subject they cover. When it comes to diversity, it is vital they continually be reviewed and refreshed. Not only to align with the workplace diversity policy Australia requires, but also aligned to the evolving realities and aspirations of each organization. Therefore, no workplace policies and procedures should be standard.
To ensure that workplace policies and procedures truly reflect the position of an organisation it is always essential that senior management play an active role in their formulation so that they can speak authoritatively on their content and the rationale for them being framed in a particular manner. It is inevitable that policies and procedures will need to be applied to complex issues and events.
Particularly when tough ideological, principle or value issues are at stake, senior management will need to give input and insight into the rationale for certain decisions made within the framework of the adopted policies. Within the workplace people will not respect and adhere to policies and procedures that are not or cannot be properly explained and effectively implemented. Workplace policies and procedures on diversity need to resonate organizationally and with its people to be properly embraced.
Organizations must have the ability to tap into expert resources that provide the best support on creating workplace policies and procedures. Whether one is needing help with integration with Human Resource policies; flexible work arrangements; training on indigenous cultural awareness; mental health; disability management; breast feeding friendly spaces and support, celebration of diverse dates or events or even linguistic inclusiveness etc. etc. high standard references and benchmarks abound.
When top management looks at how to develop and implement diversity policy, they need to ensure that all items have been comprehensively addressed with sufficient detail. The culture, capability and how people connect at work all need to be considered. It is not only a case of a policy meeting the business objectives. Policies and procedures need to also meet the expectation of the workforce to be successful.
Ownership and Education
Added to this responsibilities and accountabilities for the effective functioning of policy and procedures need to be assigned to create certainty and confidence in them. This includes employees expected contribution. Education is key to performance and comprehensive workplace policies and procedures must be accessible online and include broad ranging resource references for more in-depth development of understanding and assistance. Policies should also contain direction to associated legal frameworks so that everyone knows their rights, obligations and the consequences of non-adherence.
It is best practice also to create certainty on reporting channels. This includes on progress against goals and milestones. Credibility is always established through sharing analytics and pertinent information in the various workplace performance areas related to diversity.
With Australia having one of the most diverse populations in the world, coherence in the development and implementation of diversity policy takes on additional meaning and importance. The aim is not only to get the basics right but to incorporate elements in policies and procedures that underscore the importance that everyone can flourish and celebrate their uniqueness.
When we establish workplace policies and procedures associated with diversity, equity and justice we need to have high expectations and follow through with consistent action. However, everyone needs to know that the focus is on continuous improvement over time. Mark Twain conveyed this well when he wrote “Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection”. Workplace policies and procedures help us on our journey towards excelling and realising excellence in diversity management.