Working collaboratively to promote sustainable practice across the legal sector

Diversity and Inclusion


Workplace inclusion is about recognising the worth of each employee and integrating differences to benefit the organisation as a whole. Successful inclusion captures the range of talents and skills that different employees can bring to their workplace as a consequence of their varied background and principles. This includes varied gender, age, language, ethnicity, cultural background, disability, religious belief, sexual orientation, working style, educational level, professional skills, work experience, socio-economic background, marital status and/or family responsibilities.

Understanding, valuing and including diverse personal contributions facilitates increased productivity, performance, and creativity as well as creating an environment where everyone feels safe and respected.

The Diversity Council of Australia suggests in Building Inclusion: An Evidence-Based Model of Inclusive Leadership that inclusive leadership provides

  • Profit and performance - Inclusive environments are associated with improved job and/or team performance, as well as higher return on income and productivity.
  • Well-being - Inclusion is associated with a higher sense of employee well-being and psychological safety, as well as employees feeling valued and respected.
  • Innovation - Teams with inclusive climates have higher levels of innovation and profit.

  • Engagement and opportunity - Inclusive leadership is associated with greater team engagement, while individuals working in more inclusive team climates report higher levels of commitment and satisfaction and demonstrate access to better job opportunities and career advancement.
  • Productive conflict - In inclusive teams, employees are better able to resolve conflict and be more satisfied as a result of having worked through the conflict effectively.
  • Legal risk - In inclusive climates, individuals from traditionally marginalised groups experience lower levels of unlawful behaviour such harassment and discrimination.
  • Talent costs - Inclusion and inclusive leadership are associated with reduced employee turnover.

Businesses with more diverse workforces also better reflect the changing make up of their local and global customers and stakeholders which improves working relationships and effectiveness.

International research conducted by Acritas Research found that diverse teams earn twenty-five percent more revenue and are fifty percent more likely to achieve a ‘perfect ten’ performance score. Their client satisfaction ratings are also more than three times higher. The report also concluded that ‘a lack of diversity is detrimental to long-term financial success for law firms.’

 

Understanding and valuing personal and organisational diversity creates an environment where everyone feels safe and respected, and facilitates increased productivity, performance and creativity. Businesses with more diverse workforces better reflect the changing makeup of their corporate customers which improves working relationships and effectiveness.

The degree to which organisations provide an inclusive workplace culture for LGBTI employees is also aligned with a wider culture of diversity and inclusion and an understanding of the benefits that this brings. Employees who are able to be their authentic selves at work are more productive and have a higher level of personal wellbeing. Organisations that support this approach experience lower staff turnover, enhance their corporate reputation and create a competitive advantage. Diverse teams are also better able to solve complex problems and exhibit a higher level of creativity and a broader thought process.

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