Aboriginal Racism in the Workplace

Learning how to deal with racism is essential for any business, particularly larger organisations with substantial workforces, which needs to find strategic and effective ways to promote inclusion, accessibility, and respect for all employees.

While many company owners assume that their staff will naturally uphold high standards of equality, the reality is that discrimination is rising. The Diversity Council Australia reported that in 2023, 59% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experienced harassment or discrimination and that these incidents have increased by 9% since 2021.

Anti-racism training offers a solution. And business leaders are positioned to proactively engage in combating racism through workforce education. Education can help create an environment with reduced discrimination but also provide their workforce with the knowledge and tools to recognise biases, including bias people may not currently be aware of.


How Does Cultural Awareness Training Prevent Workplace Racism?

Racism, bias, and discrimination, when left to become societal and institutional norms, can have profoundly negative impacts on individuals, workplace morale, and the reputation of the organisation that employees represent. For many companies, the challenge is that introducing policies or guidelines for their staff or senior leadership teams doesn’t necessarily have any direct impact on staff’s daily interaction and engagement.

Examples such as derogatory nicknames can be harmful and hurtful. When staff are not aware that these demeaning names are considered such, they may not understand why their behaviour might be considered racist or discriminatory.

What is anti-racism training? Also known as ‘cultural awareness training,’ this learning process is open to all and seeks to break down barriers to communication, mutual respect, and understanding across even the largest of workforces.

Rather than punishing poor conduct, it empowers staff to create a workplace that is culturally aware from the ground up–giving each employee the right information and access to an open dialogue to discuss ideas, educate themselves about the value of inclusivity, and move forward with the confidence they have the skills to address racism, or discriminatory behaviour in the right way.


What Is the Benefit of Anti-Racism Training for Australian Businesses?

Part of the reason that discrimination and experiences of racism remain so prevalent is that it is often impossible for one business owner, director, decision-maker, or supervisor to monitor the conversations and dialogues that take place across their workforces.

Likewise, one manager might uphold excellent standards and expect the same from their staff. However, without equipping those staff with the learning and knowledge about what language, behaviours or different treatment of their colleagues might be perceived as racist, it can be very difficult to meet the issue head-on.

Many people who assume they are accepting and respectful of all cultures, ethnicities, and religions also hold unconscious biases. Attending cultural awareness training provides each individual with insights into how they can become an ally, why being culturally aware matters, and how to reflect on their behaviours without blame or anger to identify areas where they have room to improve.


Advantages of Introducing Anti-Racism Training for Your Workforce

While racism in the workplace remains a significant issue, companies also report additional beneficial outcomes following anti-racism training. Some of those advantages include:

  • Upskilling team members who can better engage and communicate with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients, customers, partners, and vendors in a respectful manner
  • Broadening workforce policies around annual leave or cultural and compassionate leave to ensure all staff have equal benefits and support during important events or occasions
  • Empowering Indigenous and non-Indigenous employees to work together harmoniously, appreciate each other’s perspectives and experiences, and have a platform to discuss differences of opinion in a safe, open way
  • Showcasing the company’s commitment to reconciliation and demonstrating that efforts to improve diversity and inclusion are authentic, making the business a safe and accessible option for future applicants

Following a training session, businesses can implement strategic and actionable steps to ensure that their training isn’t an ‘attend and forget’ session but a productive and effective exercise in workforce education. Interactive workshops can be adapted to the size, sector, and requirements of the business. Digital sessions are available for devolved workforces, ensuring all participants can access the training from any location.

These training programmes are ideal for teams, leaders, and those in public-facing roles. They provide information and learning to ensure that all attendees come away with improved cultural competency!

Previous Post
What Is Anti-Racism Training?
Next Post
Recognise and Combat Aboriginal Discrimination in the Workplace

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed