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Human Resources

New report reveals the state of workplace dynamics

Health Industry Hub | February 28, 2024 |


Human Resources: In a compelling revelation about the post-COVID landscape, Australians are grappling with diminished feelings of connection, value, and inclusion at their workplaces, marking the first ‘normal’ year following the pandemic. However, a silver lining emerges from organisations committed to diversity and inclusion, as highlighted in a new report released by Diversity Council Australia (DCA).

The 2023-2024 Inclusion@Work Index provides a nuanced portrayal of the state of inclusion and diversity in post-pandemic Australia. Drawing insightful comparisons with its counterparts in 2021-2022 (during-pandemic) and 2019-2020 (pre-pandemic), the index exposes a concerning shift in workplace dynamics.

Despite a temporary alleviation of discrimination, harassment, and exclusion during the pandemic, the latest data reveals a reversal of these trends in post-pandemic workplaces. A staggering statistic emerges, indicating that nearly 1 in 5 (19%) Australian workers did not feel valued, respected, or empowered to contribute and progress at work in 2023 – a figure nearly doubling since 2019.

Moreover, there is a noticeable decline in the perception of managerial inclusivity, with 27% of workers reporting that their managers did not exhibit behaviours conducive to an inclusive environment. This marks a 9% increase from 2021 and a 6% rise from 2019. Discrimination and harassment are also on the rise, with almost 1 in 3 (30%) workers experiencing such issues in 2023 – a notable 8% increase from 2021 and 4% higher than pre-pandemic figures in 2019.

However, amidst these concerning trends, organisations actively embracing diversity and inclusion are defying the prevailing narrative. Those employees indicating that their organisation is taking concrete steps to foster a diverse and inclusive workplace are twice as likely to belong to an inclusive team and have an inclusive manager. Furthermore, they are nearly twice as likely to report positive effects on their mental health and exhibit enhanced capabilities such as providing excellent customer service, effective collaboration, innovative problem-solving, and going the extra mile.

DCA CEO Lisa Annese acknowledged the broader context within which these workplace dynamics unfold, stating, “While many behave as though the global pandemic is firmly behind us, Australians are still recovering from the shared trauma of these past few years.” She underscores the evolving challenges workplaces face, encompassing flexible working arrangements, AI technology integration, inflationary pressures, and growing skills shortages.

In light of these complexities, Ms Annese emphasised the vital role of diversity and inclusion, asserting, “In a time of so much disruption and division, a focus on diversity and inclusion is more important than ever. This report addresses the unique problems of the post-pandemic workforce and lays out a case for D&I action as a proven solution.”

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