How can we influence diversity and inclusion across our workforce? by Tanya Sofra, Systems Integration Manager (July 2019)

How can we influence diversity and inclusion across our workforce? This is a question HealthWest has been considering for many years.

HealthWest staff and partners observed that the health and community workforce often did not reflect the diversity of our community in Melbourne’s west.

This issue was important for HealthWest partners because it translates into better and more inclusive care and more equitable employment outcomes for the local community.

In 2017 the Standards for Workforce Mutuality were developed to address this “diversity gap”.

Workforce Mutuality is a term adopted by HealthWest which describes

how much the diversity of an organisation or a sector’s workforce reflects the actual diversity of the community

The standards were designed to provide organisations with guidance informed by evidence and good practice.

The Standards were developed in consultation with an expert advisory panel including representatives from peak state-wide organisations, universities, the Commonwealth Bank and HealthWest members.

Six standards were developed, alongside a self-assessment tool & good practice guide.

In 2018 the Standards and associated tools were piloted with five HealthWest members to determine their effectiveness and useability. Participating members met over four months piloting two Standards each, including a self-assessment and development of an actionable workplan. External consultants evaluated the pilot through stakeholder interviews.

Left: First meeting of the participating organisations in the Workforce Mutuality pilot program. Right: The Workforce Mutuality Expert Advisory Panel and some members of the Workforce Mutuality pilot group met for the last time in 2018 to celebrate the successes achieved.
It has been rewarding thinking about our organisation in this way, as this is positive in helping our organisation to grow and become a stronger integrated services provider for the diverse communities and individuals we serve. (Participant)

The pilot assisted participants to identify actionable improvements and led to actual change in culture, systems and practice.

Participants reported the tools were

  • user-friendly
  • met their intended purpose
  • effectively promoted the adoption of workforce mutuality practices.

The pilot demonstrates there is a need and interest in our sector in Melbourne’s west to shape a future workforce which reflects the actual diversity of the community.

HealthWest continues to promote the Standards in 2019.

For more information

Tanya Sofra, Systems Integration Manager, tanya.sofra@healthwest.org.au

HealthWest acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri, Boonwurrung, and Wathaurong peoples of the Kulin Nation, and pay our respects to their cultures and their elders past and present.