Reconciliation Action Plans (RAPs) are a growing movement towards creating change by setting a company’s values, expectations and actions for working towards reconciliation. Companies with RAPs are responsible for a series of deliverables, under the five pillars of Relationships, Respect, Opportunity, and Reporting and Governance.
Right now we’re seeing diversity leaders make structural change through their RAP deliverables that help to provide welcoming, culturally safe workplaces for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff.
Here’s the top three small changes we’re seeing, that make the biggest difference:
Floating public holiday
Updating your company’s workplace policies and processes provides a framework in which to offer a culturally safe workplace experience. One key element of this is to allow for floating public holidays. Essentially, this enables a staff member who does not wish to observe Australia Day on January 26 the option to work that day and substitute their public holiday for a different day. This also applies to other public holidays – enabling team members to substitute these for days of cultural or religious significance. This small change goes a long way to creating a flexible and culturally safe workplace that meets the needs of your team to celebrate the days that are important to them.
Every company is required to have policies and processes that keep their team safe from bullying, discrimination and harassment. It is important in these policies to recognise and address the unique context in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander team members operate – including the experience of lateral violence. Lateral violence, also known as intra-racial violence, is the product of complex historical and social factors. You can read more about it here. Including references and providing education to lateral violence in your anti-harassment policies and processes can provide an extra layer of protection for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander team members when it comes to knowing that their workplace is a safe place to be.
Cultural Safety Plans
A culturally safe workplace is one in which all team members feel safe, supported and respected. Creating cultural safety can include a range of things, from displaying the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags in the workplace, to having Welcome to Country and Acknowledgement of Country protocols, to updating policies and processes to address the cultural needs of team members. A cultural safety plan will look a bit different dependent on who you are, what your company does, where you are located, and who is in your team. What this plan will do for you is give clear guidelines and a framework around how to build a company culture that respects and lifts up every member of the team.
Workplace diversity is becoming increasingly important – not only because of government policy such as the Indigenous Procurement Policy (IPP), but because it is the right thing to do. Team members who feel safe and supported by their workplace and peers flourish, grow, and are passionate about what they do.
If you would like to find out more about creating a culturally safe workplace, call IPS on (08) 9721 7057 for a chat about the services we offer.
IPS delivers innovative and focused consulting services that inspire people and provide purpose for our clients. We embrace opportunities to create meaningful pathways for Indigenous people, businesses and communities.
IPS Management Consultants acknowledges the Traditional Owners and Custodians of Country throughout Australia, and their continuing connection to land, water, and community. We pay our respects to Elders both past and present, and we extend that respect to all First Nations people.