Workplace Diversity Program 2014-17
Foreword from the Director-General
I am pleased to present the National Archives of Australia's Workplace Diversity Program 2014-2017 (Program). The Program continues our commitment to the broad range of people who form the Archives. It is supported by an Action Plan that outlines how the aims will be achieved over the next four years. The Program provides information to all employees about the importance and relevance of workplace diversity, and reinforces the Archives' commitment to workplace diversity and to embedding diversity principles into the Archives' culture and day to day operations.
The objectives of the Program promotes diversity in our workforce, work environment, culture and service delivery. The Archives' values and corporate strategic directions are incorporated, particularly in relation to attracting, recruiting and retaining employees from diverse backgrounds, providing and maintaining a discrimination-free workplace and integrating workplace diversity principles in management and work team practices. These are integrated into actions to assist the delivery of the strategic priority of developing a workforce that is professional, capable, flexible, innovative and engaged.
The Program also promotes the opportunities for our external clients from diverse backgrounds to access the Archives' collection.
Australian Public Service (APS) agencies are facing challenges in maintaining and building capable workforces and workplace diversity will remain a high priority. The employment of people from Indigenous backgrounds and/or with a disability continues to remain a key priority of the Government and the Australian Public Service Commission through various strategic initiatives and the establishment of the Diversity Council in February 2012.
I am pleased to note that the recent changes to the Public Service Act 1999 have included Employment Principles which directly affect the work the Archives is undertaking regarding diversity. These Principles outline that the workplace should be free from discrimination, patronage and favouritism, should recognise the diversity of the Australian community and foster diversity in the workplace. The Program seeks to implement action items to address these new Employment Principles.
We all have responsibilities in relation to workplace diversity, and I recommend that you all familiarise yourself with the Workplace Diversity Program, and your responsibilities under it. Together, we can continue working towards making the Archives a successfully diverse and tolerant workplace.
National Archives of Australia
17 February 2014
What is workplace diversity?
Workplace diversity is about recognising and valuing the contribution that different experiences, backgrounds and perspectives can make to generating ideas and new ways of doing things. This in turn enhances the quality and outcomes of our work. It involves understanding the differences of people we work with, all of whom come from varying backgrounds and lifestyles.
We are diverse in many ways, including gender, age, family responsibilities, life experience, physical or intellectual (dis)ability, educational background, language, cultural background (including race and ethnicity), sexual orientation, personality, marital status, religious belief and socio-economic background.
At the Archives, workplace diversity means actively seeking differing contributions to our work that this diversity can bring, to enhance innovation, creativity and overall productivity. This will assist in the development and implementation of a more inclusive and supportive work environment and develop policies and implement programs that are relevant to all Australians.
All Archives employees have an ethical and legal responsibility to maintain an environment that is safe, respectful and productive. Equally all of us have the right to be treated fairly within the workplace, in an environment that is respectful of our individuality.
Objectives of the workplace diversity program
The Program provides the Archives with guidance on ways of successfully managing diversity by creating an environment that values and uses the contributions of people with different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives. It aims to:
- raise awareness of workplace diversity in the Archives;
- attract, recruit and retain employees from diverse backgrounds;
- provide a workplace that is free from discrimination, promotes health and wellbeing at work and recognises and values diversity;
- embed workplace diversity principles into management and work team practices;
- ensure the Archives' collection, which is reflective of Australia's cultural diversity, is accessible to all; and
- comply with Government and legislative requirements.
Specific outcomes and strategies aimed at achieving these objectives, and associated success indicators, responsibilities and timeframes are contained in Attachment A.
Under the Public Service Act 1999, agency heads must establish workplace diversity programs that support the APS Values and Employment Principles. This includes implementing measures to eliminate disadvantage on the basis of:
- being an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander;
- physical or mental disability;
- race or ethnicity;
- gender; or
- being a member of a group that, from time to time, is identified as having an employment related disadvantage.
The Public Service Commissioner's Directions 2013 (the Commissioner's Directions), APS Employment Principles and the Commission's Guidelines on Workplace Diversity (2001), require agency heads to adhere to a series of measures to ensure workplace diversity. These include:
- ensuring the diversity of APS employees is recognised, fostered and made best use of within the workplace, taking into account the organisational and business goals of the Agency and the skills required to perform the relevant duties;
- ensuring APS employees are helped to balance their work, family and other caring responsibilities effectively;
- developing performance indicators for their workplace diversity program so that they can evaluate the effectiveness and outcomes of the program; and
- reviewing their workplace diversity program at least once every four years to ensure that the program continues to give effect to the APS Values and achieves its outcomes.
In addition to the Public Service Act 1999, all Archives' employees are responsible for complying with the following legislation:
- Racial Discrimination Act 1975;
- Sex Discrimination Act 1984;
- Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act 1986;
- Work, Health and Safety Act 2011;
- Disability Discrimination Act 1992;
- Age Discrimination Act 2004; and
- Fair Work Act 2009.
Snapshot of Diversity
As at the 30 September 2013, the Archives employed 395 ongoing employees, who collectively had knowledge of 70 different languages, cultures and religions. Approximately 17.7 per cent of employees originate from non-English speaking backgrounds, compared with an APS wide representation of 5.4 per cent1.
Employees who identify as having a disability represent 1.01 percent (APS 2.9%) of the workforce while employees who identify as Indigenous comprise 0.76 percent (APS 2.3%). Women account for 60.8 per cent of the workforce (APS 57.5%) and 52.4 per cent of employees are aged 45 years and over2 (APS 44%).
In the wider Australian community as at November 20133, there are 11,645,500 people within the working population of whom, 55.2 per cent are woman, 20 per cent identify as having a disability, 2.5 per cent as Indigenous, 22 per cent as being born overseas and 76 per cent as aged 45 years or older.
The Archives will further develop strategies for the attraction, recruitment and retention of a diverse workforce. Given the above analysis these strategies will have a stronger focus on the employment of people from Indigenous backgrounds, people with a disability and the employment of younger employees, with strategies also for continued employment of mature aged employees.
1 APS statistics are derived from the State of the Service Report 2012-13.
2 Employees aged 45 years and over are defined by the APS as belonging to the mature age worker category.
3 Australian Bureau of Statistics – Labour Force report, November 2013
Benefits of a successful workplace diversity program
There are many potential benefits to the APS, the Archives and its employees of a successful workplace diversity program. These may include improved:
- innovation and productivity through appreciation of different ways of thinking and working together;
- improved recruitment outcomes through becoming an employer of choice;
- reduced workplace stress and conflict and improved work attendance;
- better relationships with clients and stakeholders; and
- greater integration of APS-wide initiatives.
Workplace diversity responsibilities
TheArchives has a responsibility to:
- develop policies and practices to promote workplace diversity;
- maintain awareness of workplace diversity;
- ensure that records management procedures and policies developed by the Archives take into account a range of considerations, such as the use of inclusive language;
- improve the effectiveness of services to the Archives' stakeholders and clients;
- implement recruitment and retention strategies to attract, recruit and retain employees to ensure there is diversity within the Archives' workforce noting special measures;
- support and regularly review processes that intend to eliminate discrimination, harassment and inappropriate workplace behaviour; and
- promote and support access to the collection by clients from diverse backgrounds.
The Leadership Team has a responsibility to:
- demonstrate a commitment to the promotion of workplace diversity and the Program;
- lead by example in fostering a culture where discrimination is unacceptable and not tolerated; and
- ensure that the Archives' Values, the APS Values, APS Employment Principles and Code of Conduct are promoted and upheld throughout the organisation.
Managers and Supervisors have a responsibility to:
- practice and promote behaviour consistent with the Archives' Values, the APS Values, APS Employment Principles and Code of Conduct;
- ensure that all recruitment processes are based on merit;
- lead by example in fostering a culture where the diverse skills and knowledge of employees is recognised and valued;
- wherever possible, support flexible work practices that promote work/life balance;
- communicate appropriately and share their knowledge and experience;
- maintain a workplace that is free from discrimination;
- support employees who require reasonable adjustment4 in the workplace;
- incorporate workplace diversity principles into their team and management practices, for example, by consulting with, seeking a range of views from, and encouraging all team members to contribute positively to team outcomes; and
- act promptly and sensitively to address behaviour that is inconsistent with diversity principles, the APS Employment Principles and Code of Conduct or other Archives' policies.
Individual employees have a responsibility to:
- behave in a manner that is consistent with the Archives' Values, the APS Values and APS Code of Conduct
- be aware of the Program and contribute to meeting its objectives;
- contribute to the consultation processes in the Archives so that diversity is reflected in decision making;
- recognise that others have skills and experience to offer and seek ways to utilise these;
- treat others with courtesy and respect;
- listen to the views of others without prejudice;
- provide support to colleagues;
- recognise the non-work related responsibilities of others and foster flexibility for reasonable work and personal life balance; and
- maintain a workplace that is free from discrimination.
4 Reasonable adjustment includes making changes that allow employees with disability an equal opportunity to: perform their duties; be considered for transfer, promotion, training or other employment opportunities; and allow their participation in work related facilities or programs (Australian Public Service Commission, Ability at work: Tapping the talent of people with disability, 2007)
Progress against success indicators will be reported to the Workplace Relations Committee (WRC) quarterly as part of the Workplace Diversity and Harassment report, and to the Executive Board, annually.
The components of the Program will be reviewed at regular intervals and the Program as a whole will be reviewed within four years of its commencement.