Randstad recently hosted a panel discussion on the topic: “Creating an inclusive employee experience for First Nations talent. What needs to change?”.
Our speakers Vanessa Martin of Compass Group; Adrian Cheatham of iDiC and Matthew Stokes of AIME Mentoring generously shared their personal and professional experiences, learnings, challenges and strategies, encouraging everyone to take action to create a more inclusive employee experience for First Nations talent.
these are the 10 key takeaways designed to inspire you to start today, to be brave and make a change. it will have a long-lasting impact.
1. embed diversity and inclusivity in every aspect of the workplace to capture every opportunity to make a change:
Develop a RAP, review your HR policies and procedures to identify barriers; listen to your First Nations employees to understand their needs and challenges, and ensure they are core to your D&I strategic planning, implementation and evaluation in the future.
2. acknowledgement of the Country should become an essential moment to commence every meeting and event:
It’s an important reminder to connect physically, spiritually and emotionally with our Indigenous land, and to acknowledge our First Nations people.
3. ensure cultural security in the workplace:
This is critical to the successful engagement and retention of First Nations talent and to embedding true diversity and inclusiveness throughout the workplace.
4. introduce welcome signals throughout your offices and sites:
Indigenous flags, artwork, imagery and symbols of inclusiveness, reconciliation and respect should be immersed throughout your workplace e.g. give your meeting rooms Indigenous names with a plaque explaining the meaning/stories behind it.
5. promote continuous immersion in Indigenous events and ongoing learning:
Drive cultural awareness training for all employees and promote participation and awareness of important moments throughout the year e.g. National Sorry Day; National Reconciliation Week, NAIDOC Week, International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, National Close the Gap Day, The Uluru Statement from the Heart.
6. embrace mentoring in our youth and in the workplace for long term success in employee retention and career progression:
AIME Mentoring helps First Nations youth in their pivotal moments in life, while on their journey to becoming great human beings.
7. build relationships with First Nations talent to understand their stories:
Build a structured and rigorous framework to ensure Indigenous staff feel welcome, culturally safe, included and afforded every opportunity to progress and succeed in the workplace while strengthening connections with colleagues and the organisation.
8. build strong connections with local Indigenous communities:
Building relationships with local Indigenous community groups, partners, and key organisations are essential to the successful engagement and retention of First Nations talent. Word of mouth and storytelling is very powerful in Indigenous communities.
9. review your First Nations recruitment and development strategy with a renewed cultural lens:
Be aware of unconscious bias, especially in your recruitment and career development strategies. Think outside the box and be mindful of the ‘pigeon-hole’ effect. Ensure Indigenous colleagues form a key part of the entire recruitment, onboarding and engagement process - it should be a fully integrated, end-to-end strategy.
10. ensure diversity and inclusion are driven from the top down:
This will underpin the true success of your D&I strategy. The key is a continuous interest in learning and understanding, building connections and wanting to make a difference in someone’s life. Hold your senior leadership team to account. Introduce a First Nations Working Group, providing monthly reports and updates to drive the continuous progression of talent and outcomes.
And we encourage you to take further action, by implementing strategies today, as recommended by Reconciliation Australia. Change begins with brave actions in our daily lives where we live, work, play and socialise. Be brave and start making a change today.