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Different strokes: Why diversity is good for business

Workplace diversity has long surpassed the issue of striving for equality - the right strategy can enrich a business. Katriina Tahka of Diversity Council Australia, Joydeep Hor of People and Culture Strategies and Susan Davies of TNT Express speak to HC TV about the benefits of diversity.

Video transcript below:

Stephanie Zillman, HC TV
Stephanie Zillman:
 Hello, I’m Stephanie Zillman and you are watching HC TV. Workplace diversity issues have not gone away, but the strife for equality is no longer the only side of the coin.  Katriina Tahka of Diversity Council, Australia says many businesses who are past discriminatory issues are now looking at how increased work force diversification can be hugely beneficial to success.

Katriina Tahka, Diversity Council Australia
Katriina Taka: What we have seen is over the last decade, organisations have moved from understanding or thinking about diversity as a compliance issue, thinking about it in terms of any discrimination and harassment and avoiding potentially damaging claims to actually saying that diversity is a strategic business issue.
Joydeep Hor, People and Culture Strategies
Joydeep Hor: I think organisations are only now probably for the first time starting to tap into diversity outside of gender and race.  I think the ageing work force challenges that confront a lot of organisations are an important issue.
Stephanie Zillman: Joydeep Hor of People and Culture Strategies says when viewed in this new way, workplace diversity comes down to seeing that everyone is different., not just specific groups.
Joydeep Hor:  The ways in which people are working is different.  You are not having people coming to the office and doing all of their hours from a static work environment.  So all of that kind of thing is going to contribute to the challenge for employers and the benefits are often immense.  
Stephanie Zillman: Susan Davies of TNT Express says diversification has allowed her company to expand into geographical areas where it otherwise would have pulled up short for staff.
Susan Davies, TNT
Susan Davies:  If you start to look at the Western Australia and Northern Queensland areas, then the talent pool is really really shallow because lots of people are off working in the mines and that’s really really diminished the pool of people that we can choose from.  So again we do have a high participation of females in that work force in those areas.  So that was really the primary reason initially.
Katriina Tahka:  Every organisation comes from a different place and I guess that’s what kickstarts it, it’s what makes people sit up and listen and then it starts the process of what are we going to do and what’s the strategy and what’s the procedures that we are going to put into place.
Stephanie Zillman: Katriina Tahka of Diversity Council Australia says stories like that of TNT Express are really positive and hopefully will point to a future where there is less need for legislation and policies to prompt work force diversification.
Katriina Tahka: Anti discrimination legislation is really the stick, it’s a sort of safety net and most organisations these days are coming at their diversity approach and practices from a position of the strategic benefits and seeing the upside.  So we would actually prefer that organisations value diversity because it’s a good business decision rather than thinking it’s something we have to do, because that’s really going back 10 years to that EEO way of thinking about anti discrimination which is really quite different to what strategic diversity is.
Stephanie Zillman: For more on diversity and other industry news, click around HC Online.  I am Stephanie Zillman and I will see you again soon on HC TV.