- Supporting an inclusive workplace in difficult times
- What is Diversity, Inclusion & Intersectionality?
- Get Your Baseline D&I Data
- Business case for D&I
- Write/Update your D&I Policy
- Getting Strategic with D&I
- Example D&I policies, strategies & plans
- Inclusive Leadership
- Communicating D&I
- Inclusive Recruitment
- Inclusive Language
- D&I Councils
- D&I Champions
- ERGs, Networks & Affinity Groups
- Supplier Diversity
- D&I Days & Dates
- Inclusive Bathrooms
Supporting an inclusive workplace during difficult times
Employers are increasingly faced with situations where they need to communicate with employees and the public about difficult national or world events. Open communication, compassion and empathy are key to employee wellbeing and can go a long way to supporting a more inclusive workplace culture.
Here are some guiding principles to support an inclusive workplace during difficult times:
Avoid remaining silent: remaining silent during difficult events can negatively impact employee wellbeing. It’s best to acknowledge the situation, express concern and offer support.
While on occasions your organisation may want to take a specific stance, it is always important to acknowledge suffering on all fronts and condemn human rights abuses. Consider whether staying neutral is an inclusive approach, or if it might make people feel marginalised.
Empathise and acknowledge suffering: It is important to show humanity and acknowledge suffering. Demonstrate a genuine understanding of the emotional toll such events can have on wellbeing. Allow space for people to discuss the issue should they choose to.
Heartfelt thoughts can be extended to any colleagues and their families directly affected, and to communities more broadly.
Centre lived experience: It’s important to listen to those directly affected and follow their cues. Avoid adding to the cultural load of employees. Consider consulting with lived experience advisory panels or external organisations for helpful insights.
Keep employee safety and wellbeing top of mind: Being exposed to images and stories of conflict, violence or traumatic events in the media can negatively impact our mental health and wellbeing. Focus on messages to reinforce the importance of self-care and strategies to reduce anxiety, as well as support services available (see next point).
Provide support: Whether it is your employee assistance program or other mental health services, it is important to remind people of the range of supports available to them.
Encourage respectful conversations: Some issues have the potential to be divisive. Encourage people to respect each other’s views and differences of opinion and be considerate, thoughtful, and respectful. Sometimes it can be an opportunity to educate yourself on an issue more. Do not tolerate racism.
DCA offers a range of research and resources which may be useful, depending on the nature of the event:
Please note, DCA’s research has been developed for the Australian context, and it is important to note that the context for global issues may be different.
- Creating inclusive multi-faith workplaces
- Racism at Work – what organisations can do to unlock and help end racism at work
- Myth Busting Sexual Harassment at Work
- WordsAtWork to show how inclusive language can improve workplace culture
- Mapping the State of Inclusion and Mental Health in the Australian Workforce and our Mental Health section help you understand more about supporting employee mental health
- First Nations Identity Strain and Cultural Load at Work, our recent event now available to all
- The Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion has this helpful toolkit on responding to social issues.
13 92 76
Brother to brother 24-hour crisis line
1800 435 799
1300 224 636
Embrace Multicultural Mental Health
02 6285 3100
13 11 14
1300 789 978
Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling
1800 011 046
1800 184 527
Suicide Call Back Service
1300 659 467
If you need an interpreter to help speak with any of the above services, please call the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) on 131 450.
If you do not feel like you can use these services listed above for any reason, you can also talk to someone you trust, visit a hospital emergency department, or contact a health professional (GP, counsellor, psychologist or psychiatrist).