Find out what action you can take to improve culture and make your workplace more inclusive for people of all backgrounds.

We hear a lot about building inclusive workplaces in the Queensland public sector. But what does that really mean? And what does it look like in action?

At its heart, inclusive workplaces are those where all employees feel valued. Our differences are recognised, and difference is seen as positive contributor to the organisation and the quality of work that we do.

In truly inclusive workplaces people actively seek diversity of thought, experience, and background. They pay attention to the impact of bias, discrimination, and unequal opportunity, and do something about it. You’ve probably heard the saying “If you’re not actively including, you’re probably excluding!”

But sometimes it’s not easy to know what action to take to make your team and workplace more inclusive.

So, here’s seven practical tips you can start using today:

  1. Turn up and be open to change – start and lead  conversations about what inclusion looks like in your workplace. Be open to what is good, and what needs work. Identify what can you influence in your team and commit to action.
  2. Make sure conversations are inclusive – can everyone contribute in a way that suits them? Do people feel safe to be heard? Think about providing a number of ways for people to contribute and be active in seeking out everyone’s opinion.
  3. Be kind and caring – it costs nothing but can make a huge difference. Consider the lived experiences we each bring as individuals and encourage everyone to be their whole selves.
  4. Seek out other people’s voice – make sure your voice and experience is not the most dominant in the room. Create a safe space for conversation and validation. Encourage diversity of thought. Don’t jump in with a solution.
  5. Consider your bias – are you making assumptions? Challenge your thinking and be aware of what you bring. Pay attention to this and be purposeful in ‘parking your bias’.
  6. Call it out – if you walk into a meeting or are part of a project team and there is not diverse representation call it out. Advocate for diversity. Don’t just speak to yourself. If you are in a place of privilege, use it for good. Seek more diverse ‘seats at the table’.
  7. Don’t underestimate the importance of being you – being authentic and bringing your whole self to work. It is important for leaders at all levels to model authenticity – it will open the way for others to do the same.

Embracing diversity of background, thought and experience can contribute so much to the culture of your workplace. Importantly, doing so will improve the quality of the work we do in the public sector. After all, our work and workforce should reflect the community we serve.

Find out more about how you can promote and support inclusion and diversity in the Queensland Government.

Seven practical ways to create an inclusive workplace provided by public sector leader, Julie Etchells as part of a Queensland public sector LGBTIQ+ steering committee event.