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How organisations can boost inclusive practice

Elissa Farrow
December 16, 2013

In my last blog I talked about how teams can use their inclusivity attributes and strengths to promote best practice. Building an inclusive organisation commences with committed senior leadership being open to exploring the concepts, seeing the commercial and performance benefits and actively cultivating the approach.

To remind us what is inclusivity, I chose the definition from the Collins English Dictionary, which stated that inclusivity was ‘the fact or policy of not excluding members or participants on the grounds of gender, race, class, sexuality, disability, etc’.

To take culture as one element of inclusivity, Australia has a diverse population with more than 50 countries of origin represented, and that’s not including the cultural and linguistic diversity within those 50 countries of origin. Also, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, more than 25% of our population is born outside of Australia. A small snapshot of a country, which prides itself on harmony and a fair go.

Organisations that take a full policy on inclusivity need to factor it into their corporate values. Some of my more senior leadership clients pride themselves on knowing:

  • What is our inclusivity advantage?
  • How can we take advantage of the inclusivity in our organisation?
  • How can we build an organisational culture of inclusivity?
  • What are our organisational values and ethics?
  • How can we celebrate diversity and build organisational awareness?

Good examples from organisations I have worked with had a policy and procedure around inclusivity and it was part of their published values. One organisation ran regular sessions that raised knowledge around concepts like cultural diversity, especially in relation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander protocol and collaboration techniques, bringing out the best across generation X, Y, Baby Boomers and the Millennials.

Others participated in events like Harmony Day and provided space for prayer rooms in buildings, acknowledged more than the Christian-based festive holidays. This took a focused effort and a commitment by the very senior levels to acknowledge the strength and the competitive advantage that creating and valuing difference brought.

What are you doing in your organisation?

In this series:

  1. Building inclusivity on project teams
  2. Inclusivity through reflective practice on project teams
  3. Developing inclusivity from within a project team
Elissa Farrow
Elissa is a founder and lead consultant for About Your Transition and has extensive experience in strategic organisational adaptation design, facilitation and delivery. Elissa has supported organisations to define positive futures and then successfully transform to bring lasting benefits. She has proven adaptative capacity and can successfully transfer her skills to different contexts. In 2018, Elissa commenced her doctoral studies through the University of the Sunshine Coast. Her published research is exploring organisational adaptation to the evolving field of artificial intelligence using qualitative and participatory research methodologies. Elissa is an experienced board director and considered a thought leader in her field having won a number of national and local awards for contributing to Women in Project Management and for Change Management Research.
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