Naidoc week is an important day to acknowledge on Australia’s national calendar. It is a week to celebrate the history and culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Employers all over the country should be using this week to celebrate the achievements of their Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander employees and to celebrate the diversity in their workplaces.
It is also a good time for employers without an Indigenous Employment Strategy to address that and put a plan in place to employ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. There are many things to consider if you are new to this as an employer, and there are plenty of organisations out there that can also help you do that, for example,Reconciliation Australia or GenerationOne. One factor that must be considered before going down this path is to ensure that you have a culturally safe workplace.
Creating a workplace that is culturally appropriate is very important if you have or are intending to increase your Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander workforce. Three important things to consider would be:
- Provide cultural awareness training to all employees, including management. It’s important that a new Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander employee is understood by their peers, supervisors and managers.
- Acknowledge in the business. Include an Acknowledgement of Country in your reception, invite Elders in to complete a Welcome to Country and major meetings or events. This shows your respect for the cultures and acknowledges Aboriginal people as the traditional owners of the land. You may also want to display Aboriginal artwork in your office.
- Reach out for support. There are many organisation out there that are doing this very well, with great employee numbers and good retention rates! Reach out to them or seek advice from organisations such as Reconciliation Australia or GenerationOne. Get in touch with local Aboriginal organisations or local elders to help you.
By preparing your workplace and having the right support in place, you will help not only with the recruitment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees, but retention rates will be much better as well. Now is a great time to start your commitment to help end the disparity between non Aboriginal and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia through sustainable job.