Cafs once again recognised for outstanding leadership in the fields of diversity, equity and inclusion | The Courier

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To cap off an already exceptional year, Cafs (Child and Family Services Ballarat) has once again received national recognition for the work it has invested in creating a diverse and inclusive workplace for all people. Cafs was one of 47 organisations across Australia to receive Inclusive Employer accreditation for 2021-2022 from the Diversity Council of Australia, along with the likes of Amnesty International, American Express and global law firm Gilbert + Tobin. To receive accreditation, an organisation must exceed the Diversity Council’s national benchmark for inclusion and diversity as measured in at least five out of six categories, which gauge employee perceptions of workplace inclusion at all levels within the organisation. Cafs chief executive Wendy Sturgess said the accreditation showed Cafs’ investment in diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives had prompted a tangible cultural shift within the organisation. READ MORE: Cafs receives national awards for diversity and inclusion “The award is a symbol of the good works that Cafs has invested in building cultural diversity in the last few years,” Ms Sturgess said. “We know that this work is delivering results because one of the main reasons new employees tell us they sought out Cafs over other employers is because of our work in this field. “So, there’s definitely a return on our investment in equality and inclusion, which is gratifying because it shows our commitment is genuine, people are noticing.” In late 2019, Cafs self-funded the appointment of its first Inclusion and Diversity lead, Liz Hardiman, who was instrumental in the creation of five internal action groups – disability, gender equity, LGBTQI, reconciliation and CALD – that advise Cafs on ways in which it can improve the delivery of its services through diversity and inclusion. Ms Hardiman said Cafs’ Inclusive Employer accreditation was a “symbol of [Cafs’] ongoing commitment” to ensuring the organisation internally reflects the importance it externally attaches to diversity and inclusion. IN THE NEWS “We know through the Diversity Council of Australia index that 75 per cent of our staff consider this organisation an inclusive one, up from 60 per cent in the 2019 index,” Ms Hardiman said. “And it’s even higher still when it comes to our team leaders and managers, which sit at over 90 percent.” “But while accolades are always nice to receive, it’s more important to note that our work continues and doesn’t stop here.” Ms Hardiman said Cafs’ leadership in the diversity space was especially important in the context of the federal government’s religious discrimination bill, which has attracted criticism in several quarters for its potential to undermine the inclusivity of workplaces. “The best thing we can do is be vocal about issues like the religious discrimination bill,” Ms Hardiman said. “We see ourselves as more mentors than leaders in the field of diversity, because we’re able to advise networks external to Cafs on how to help them on their own diversity journey and that is something we’re definitely going to continue.” According to the index, only 40 per cent of Australian employees view their workplace as an inclusive one. Recent research undertaken by the Diversity Council of Australia suggests employees in inclusive workplaces report higher levels of relative job satisfaction and are four times less likely to seek alternative employment. If you are seeing this message you are a loyal digital subscriber to The Courier, as we made this story available only to subscribers. Thank you very much for your support and allowing us to continue telling Ballarat’s story. We appreciate your support of journalism in our great city.


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