When it comes to workplace policies and procedures the question of the “carrot or the stick” approach is never far away. There is the law, which largely represents the “stick” on workplace diversity policy imperatives in Australia. It’s the minimum baseline requirement and sets the standards. The line that must not be crossed to avoid negative consequences.
Then there are the voices of the activists, influencers and trail blazers that mostly point to the noble and aspirational aspects of Diversity. The glorious vision of what could come into being if the majority of us embraced the positive possibilities within cosmopolitan Australia.
Most workplaces, when developing and implementing diversity policy, think it’s a good idea to include a bit of both.
There is a need to remind people of the law and underscore the key aspects in summary that the organization specifically needs to address in terms of compliance etc.
Most of us are law abiding citizens and without reading volumes of statutes manage quite naturally to stay out of court even for minor infractions.In workplace policies and procedures too much stick leads to negativity and alienation of many.
We typically do not write explicitly into employment contracts that the employee employer relationship is inherently based on the foundation of trust, honesty and safeguarding the interests of the employer. If broken beyond restoration, so is the contract. Therefore, a lot of fundamental aspects in the workplace are inherent in law and contract and can absolutely be relied upon when the chips are down without having to wave them about or have them as a detailed back up reference.
New Horizon Shaping
Diversity is about winning hearts, minds and souls. It is important to have this centre stage when developing and implementing a workplace diversity policy and procedure. The tilt therefore should be towards “carrot”. How one articulates the message within the policy and procedural framework is therefore very unique to this subject matter which is very different to many other policies and procedures.
In some senses one could take a leaf out of the marketing functions approach to communication and advertising which is after all fundamentally about influence. Understand the “products” proposition, attributes, benefits, offer, evolution and positioning etc. Research and get input. Ensure it is truly representative of the vision and mission of the organization. Be clear on what the organization intends to deliver with precise alignment in “tone of voice” and call to action. Be clear on the promises we are making and keep them. It is positive news that we will live by.
Diversity and Inclusion policies and procedures need to reflect the drive and ambition that will deliver a stronger and better workplace day by day;that will ensure that all thrive within it.