Workplace Diversity Program 2013-15

Workplace Diversity Program 2013-15

Corporate document— July 2013

Introduction from the Director

The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) is a leader in the provision of high-quality research that contributes to family wellbeing in Australia. Achieving such highly regarded results relies on a productive and inclusive work environment - a work environment that values and utilises the different skills, attributes, backgrounds and talents that staff bring to their roles.

In this Workplace Diversity Program, the focus is on our continuing commitment to ensuring that the Institute has a fair and equitable working environment that recognises, appreciates and makes best use of the diversity of staff. This important program has been recently updated to reflect changes and requirements of the new Public Service Amendment Act 2013. This program will be published on our website.

In the new Act, Australian Public Service (APS) Employment Principles have been introduced that incorporate the behavioural requirements currently set out in the APS Values.

The key strategies within our Workplace Diversity Program are provided in more detail in our plans for action: Reconciliation Action Plan, Indigenous Employment Plan and Disability Action Plan. In addition, as a portfolio agency of the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA), AIFS follows the FaHCSIA Agency Multicultural Plan for 2013-15.

As we bring our life skills and experience to our working environment, and encourage our colleagues to do the same, the quality of our decision-making and ultimately the work of the Institute and our contribution to Australian families will benefit.

At AIFS we are committed to fostering diversity within our workplace. While primary responsibilities are identified within the action plans, the Institute's success is the collective responsibility of all staff and I encourage you to integrate the principles of workplace diversity into achieving enjoyment and balance in your working and personal lives.

Professor Alan Hayes
Director

Responsibility and related documents

Responsible officer: Executive Manager, Human Resources
Replaces: Workplace Diversity Action Plan 2011-15
Related policies & plans: AIFS Directions 2012-15

AIFS Research Directions 2012-15

Disability Action Plan

FaHCSIA Agency Multicultural Plan for 2013-15

Indigenous Employment Plan

Reconciliation Action Plan

Version history

Approval date Version Description Next review
1.07.2013 v 1.1 Original Workplace Diversity Program developed to meet requirements under the Public Service Amendment Act 2013 01.06.14

Background

The Public Service Amendment Act 2013 (the Amendment Act) made significant changes to the Public Service Act 1999 (the Act). As a consequence the Public Service Regulations 1999 have been amended and the Public Service Commissioner's Directions 1999 repealed and replaced with the Australian Public Service Commissioner's Directions 2013 (the Directions).

The Act currently contains several provisions to support an Australian Public Service (APS) workforce that reflects the diversity of the Australian community. To strengthen the framework further the APS Values have been amended to introduce a new value of "Respectful - The APS respects all people, including their rights and heritage".

Changes are consequential on the introduction of APS Employment Principles. Behavioural requirements currently set out in the APS Values will be contained within the APS Employment Principles.

The APS Values are:

  • Impartial - The APS is apolitical and provides the Government with advice that is frank, honest, timely and based on the best available evidence.
  • Committed to service - The APS is professional, objective, innovative and efficient, and works collaboratively to achieve the best results for the Australian community and the Government.
  • Accountable - The APS is open and accountable to the Australian community under the law and within the framework of Ministerial responsibility.
  • Respectful - The APS respects all people, including their rights and their heritage.
  • Ethical - The APS demonstrates leadership, is trustworthy, and acts with integrity, in all that it does.

The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) Workplace Diversity Policy and Program are in line with these requirements, in particular, with the value of Respectful. AIFS recognises the importance of having a capable, informed and adaptive workforce and that a key component to achieving this is that people feel they are treated with respect. AIFS seeks to be representative of the Australian community and to make the fullest possible use of the range of diverse backgrounds, perspectives and talents of our staff.

The following plans are part of this program:

In addition, as a portfolio agency of the FaHCSIA, AIFS follows the FaHCSIA Agency Multicultural Plan for 2013-15.

Introduction

Our business

AIFS is an Australian Government statutory agency in the FaHCSIA portfolio. Our role is to conduct rigorous and impartial research and to communicate research evidence to support the work of those who have a role in policy, advocacy and delivery of services in the best interests of families.

AIFS Directions 2012-15 specifies four strategic goals:

  • Undertaking high-quality impartial research relating to the wellbeing of families in Australia
    • AIFS will continue to conduct high-quality impartial research, relevant to good policy and practice, to enhance outcomes for Australian families;
  • Sharing the information and transferring our knowledge
    • AIFS will continue to share family-related research findings, and translate this knowledge, to assist Australian families;
  • Valuing and developing our relationships
    • AIFS will continue to develop collaborative relationships with other organisations that have a stake in research policy and practice affecting the wellbeing of Australian families; and
  • Managing our organisation
    • AIFS will continue to build an organisational culture and workforce to foster the delivery of high-quality research on family wellbeing.

AIFS Research Directions 2012-15 specifies the Institute's four areas of research focus:

  • family formation, development and diversity;
  • the social and economic participation and wellbeing of families;
  • safety for families; and
  • delivery of services to support and strengthen families.

In order to achieve these goals AIFS is committed to ensuring that the Institute has a fair and equitable working environment that recognises, appreciates and makes best use of the diversity of all staff.

The Workplace Diversity Program aims to support a working environment that is fair and equitable, that appropriately recognises, develops and appreciates the diversity of staff, and effectively utilises that diversity to achieve outcomes and, ultimately, contribute to the wellbeing of Australian families. This program includes specific activities that will be undertaken to progress the key strategies.

AIFS is also committed to ensuring that our research and dissemination activities are accessible to the broader Australian community.

This Workplace Diversity Program has been recently updated to reflect changes and requirements of the new Public Service Amendment Act and as required under the new Commission Advice 2013/12: Legislative changes affecting diversity in the APS. It will be published on the AIFS website.

The program also incorporates requirements under the FaHCSIA Agency Multicultural Plan for 2013-15.

The related key strategies within our Workplace Diversity Program are provided in more detail in our plans for action:

In addition, as a portfolio agency of the FaHCSIA, AIFS follows the FaHCSIA Agency Multicultural Plan for 2013-15.

Actions are designed to encourage and support a diverse workforce for AIFS.

Legislative framework and whole-of-government requirements

The legislative framework for this policy includes:

  • Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986;
  • Australian Public Service Commissioner's Directions 2013;
  • Carer Recognition Act 2010;
  • Disability Discrimination Act 1992;
  • Fair Work Act 2009;
  • Public Service Act 1999;
  • Public Service Amendment Act 2013;
  • Public Service Regulations 1999;
  • Racial Discrimination Act 1975;
  • Sex Discrimination Act 1984;
  • Work Health and Safety Act 2011; and
  • Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012.

The Public Service Amendment Act 2013 and the Public Service Commissioner's Directions 2013 require all agencies to establish workplace diversity programs to assist in giving effect to the APS Values.

AIFS also recognises the need to support APS-wide initiatives, including specific programs to attract, retain and support people with disability and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Policy statement

AIFS is committed to the promotion of employment equity. We seek to accommodate and maximise differences within the organisation, in the spirit of the APS Values, to achieve our research and corporate goals. The Institute seeks to respect and value diversity in the workplace by helping to prevent and eliminate discrimination and to assist employees in balancing their work, personal and community life responsibilities.

Aim of the program

The Workplace Diversity Program aims to create a working environment that is fair and equitable, that does not discriminate against any employee, client or member of the public on the grounds of their diversity and appropriately recognises, develops and appreciates the diversity of staff. AIFS is committed to effectively utilising that diversity to achieve organisational outcomes and, ultimately, contributes to the wellbeing of Australian families.

Definitions

Diversity has a broad connotation. It is often a set of characteristics and may include many facets of difference, including "gender, age, language, ethnicity, cultural background, sexual orientation, religious belief and family responsibilities. Diversity also refers to the other ways in which people are different, such as educational level, life experience, work experience, socio-economic background, personality and marital status. Workplace diversity involves recognising the value of individual differences and managing them in the workplace" (Guidelines on Workplace Diversity, Australian Public Service Commission [APSC]).

The diversity of people in the APS is one of its strengths. Workplace diversity is about creating a respectful and inclusive work environment that values and utilises the contributions of all employees, accommodating differences in backgrounds, experiences and perspectives, as well as addressing disadvantage or discrimination experienced by particular groups within the workplace. AIFS recognises the contribution that diversity of perspectives makes to generating new ideas and ways of doing things.

Contributing to the success of the Workplace Diversity Program

While primary responsibilities are identified later in this document (see Section 7: Workplace Diversity Strategies & Actions) and within the action plans (listed in Section 2: Introduction), the Institute's success is the collective responsibility of all staff. All staff at the Institute can contribute to the success of this program by:

  1. applying the individual experiences, skills and talents that they bring to the workplace;
  2. acknowledging that all staff bring a different background to the workplace;
  3. respecting these differences and understanding the benefits they bring;
  4. committing to eliminating all forms of discrimination and bullying in the workforce; and
  5. providing necessary support and flexibility in the workplace.

Workplace diversity strategies and actions

AIFS is committed to encouraging and supporting our staff and increasing diversity in our workplace. One example of this is represented by the leadership profile, in which the gender balance of staff (approximately 70% female to 30% male) is directly reflected in the proportion of women in leadership roles (Executive Level [EL] 1, EL2, Senior Executive Service [SES]), which is also 70%.

AIFS is, by comparison to many workplaces, a "family-friendly" workplace and we strive to support work-personal life balance, as reflected in our Enterprise Agreement 2012; for example, with flexible work patterns and the opportunity to have flexible working arrangements, employee-initiated part-time and/or home-based work. It is also reflected in some of our conditions of employment, including generous maternity and parental leave provisions.

While staff "self-identify" into various categories of diversity, many do not, or their diversity may not be as obvious as, say, gender. It can therefore be somewhat difficult to accurately report statistics, accommodate and/or note changes related to different diversity categories or groups. The following strategies provide further encouragement and support for diversity in our workplace.

Strategy 1: Culture

Workplace diversity principles and practises will be incorporated into the Institute's corporate culture. Staff are encouraged to utilise their diverse characteristics, maximise the skills they bring to the organisation and develop an understanding of other cultures.

Actions Responsibility
Strategies are reviewed and completed in a timely fashion whenever possible Deputy Director, Corporate & Strategy
Collect and analyse data on the current diversity of Institute staff and inform staff in a way that does not breach privacy to establish current levels of different forms of workplace diversity and to be able to inform other AIFS Action Plans Executive Manager, Human Resources
A calendar of events that celebrates culture and diversity will be developed and provided to staff Executive Manager, Human Resources
An information sheet outlining workplace diversity considerations in AIFS will be developed and/or updated and made available to parties regularly involved with AIFS (e.g., staff involved in arranging advertising, contact officers, external recruitment providers, Employee Assistance Program [EAP] providers) Executive Manager, Human Resources
Relevant EAP counselling services (e.g., managing mental health issues, dealing with stress of juggling work and personal life) will be periodically promoted to staff Executive Manager, Human Resources
Exit interview information will be collected, analysed, assessed and acted upon if relevant and necessary to inform possible improvements to AIFS workplace diversity culture Executive Manager, Human Resources
Staff will be encouraged to participate in the Australian Public Service Commission's annual employee census Executive Manager, Human Resources
Zero tolerance for discrimination and/or bullying All staff
Measures of success
  • Staff are utilising their diverse characteristics and maximising the skills they bring to the organisation
  • Workplace statistics indicate that the AIFS staff profile continues to diversify
  • Staff have developed a greater understanding of other cultures
  • Equal employment opportunity (EEO) groups have various avenues of support, such as mentoring and networking, to enable them to develop their skills, comfort and confidence within the AIFS workplace
  • Staff participate in events and courses related to the celebration of diversity and culture, such as International Women's Day, Harmony Day and National Aborigines and Islander Day of Celebration (NAIDOC)
  • Staff are aware of AIFS' conditions of employment, such as flexible work practices and home-based work, and feel comfortable seeking approval to utilise them
  • Managers are aware of AIFS' conditions of employment, such as flexible work practices and home-based work, and understand how they might be utilised while efficiently meeting business and operational needs
  • AIFS has a proportion of its workforce, with appropriate authorisations in place, using flexible work practices and undertaking regular home-based work
  • An information sheet outlining workplace diversity considerations in AIFS has been developed and/or updated and provided to parties regularly involved with AIFS (e.g., staff involved in arranging advertising, contact officers, external recruitment providers, EAP Providers)
  • Relevant EAP counselling services (e.g., managing mental health issues, dealing with stress of juggling work and personal life) have been periodically promoted to and used by staff
  • Workplace statistics show a reduction in the number of compensation claims for work-related stress conditions and uncertified sick leave
  • Staff report all cases of harassment and inappropriate behaviour (ideally, there are no cases of harassment or inappropriate behaviour to report)
  • Staff surveys indicate that balance is being achieved between work and personal/community life commitments
  • Staff complete APSC surveys and data from these indicates positive attitudes to workplace diversity
  • Exit interview data show that no departures were related to workplace diversity issues

Strategy 2: Integration

Workplace diversity principles will be incorporated into all relevant corporate documents, policies and processes to ensure that diversity is embedded in the operations of the Institute.

Actions Responsibility
As corporate documents undergo review and/or development, consideration will be given to the manner in which they reflect the Workplace Diversity Program aims and principles and, where necessary, they will be appropriately updated (e.g., the Reconciliation Action Plan includes as a priority, updating the AIFS Research Ethics Guidelines) Deputy Director, Corporate & Strategy
Action plans are to be revised, updated and implemented in line with the Workplace Diversity Program Executive Manager, Human Resources
Human resource and management policies and practices will be reviewed to ensure the principles of workplace diversity are adequately included Executive Manager, Human Resources
Relevant processes and forms will be reviewed and updated to ensure that individual discussions (e.g., probation, performance, exit) gather intelligence on how/if workplace diversity has been embedded at the Institute Executive Manager, Human Resources
Measures of success
  • Corporate documents that have undergone review and/or development, have included consideration to reflecting the Workplace Diversity Program aims and principles and, where necessary, have been appropriately updated
  • All action plans have been revised, updated and implemented in line with the Workplace Diversity Program
  • Human resource and management policies and practices have been reviewed to ensure the principles of workplace diversity are adequately included
  • Relevant processes and forms have been reviewed and updated to ensure that individual discussions (e.g., probation, performance, exit) are gathering intelligence on how/if workplace diversity has been embedded at the Institute (also relevant to Strategy 1: Culture)
  • Workplace-diversity-related policies and procedures are easily accessible
  • All Harassment Contact Officers have received appropriate training in their role

Strategy 3: Recruitment and selection

Recruitment and selection processes and decisions will be made in a transparent, equitable and fair manner where all those involved understand and apply the principles of workplace diversity.

Actions Responsibility
Advertising strategies will be reviewed to ensure that workplace diversity issues are considered and any potential disadvantage is averted Executive Manager, Human Resources
Advice in relation to workplace diversity and its relationship to recruitment and selection processes will be provided to staff involved in selection processes, including selection panels, contact officers and delegates Executive Manager, Human Resources
An information sheet outlining workplace diversity considerations in recruitment and selection processes will be developed and/or updated and made available to parties involved in recruitment and selection (e.g., staff involved in arranging advertising, contact officers, external recruitment providers) Executive Manager, Human Resources
Online courses such as "APS Values and Code of Conduct" and "Workplace Discrimination and Harassment Legal Compliance" are promoted to staff Executive Manager, Human Resources
The Institute website will be reviewed and updated as required to ensure it reflects and provides education in workplace diversity considerations involved in selection processes Executive Manager, Human Resources
Measures of success
  • Advertising strategies have been reviewed to ensure that workplace diversity issues have been considered and any potential disadvantages averted
  • All recruitment and selection documents are consistent with diversity principles
  • Staff involved in selection processes, including selection panels, contact officers and delegates have received suitable training
  • Online courses such as "APS Values and Code of Conduct" and "Workplace Discrimination and Harassment Legal Compliance" have been promoted to staff and there has been some staff uptake of this offer
  • An information sheet outlining workplace diversity considerations in recruitment and selection processes has been developed and/or updated and made available to parties involved in recruitment and selection (e.g., staff involved in arranging advertising, contact officers, external recruitment providers)
  • Staff indicate satisfaction with AIFS' attraction, selection, recruitment and advancement practices
  • Workplace statistics indicate that the AIFS staff profile continues to diversify

Strategy 4: Learning and development

Opportunities will be provided to staff to develop their appreciation of the principles of workplace diversity. Within the constraints of resources and structure, all employees have the opportunity to develop their individual skills and abilities.

Actions Responsibility
Induction training programs will be reviewed to ensure workplace diversity considerations are appropriately included Executive Manager, Human Resources
Specific education in workplace diversity and cultural awareness will be made available to all staff Executive Manager, Human Resources
Individual staff development activities identified in performance agreements will be undertaken within reasonable constraints of resources and structure Managers, all staff
Individual involvement in relevant networks will be encouraged Managers, all staff
Specific diversity-related training (e.g., dealing with depression or mental health issues) on an identified case-by-case basis will be offered Senior Management, Executive Manager, Human Resources
Diversity-related training (e.g., managing diverse teams and maximising the use of staff talents) will be offered to managers Senior Management, Executive Manager, Human Resources
Measures of success
  • Induction training programs have been reviewed and workplace diversity considerations are appropriately included
  • Specific education in workplace diversity and cultural awareness has been provided to staff
  • Individual staff development activities identified in performance agreements within reasonable constraints of resources and structure have been undertaken
  • Specific diversity-related training (e.g., dealing with depression or mental health issues) on an identified case-by-case basis has been offered
  • Managers participate in courses to develop their knowledge of diversity and to enhance their skills in managing diverse teams and maximising their use of staff talents
  • Online courses such as "APS Values and Code of Conduct" and "Workplace Discrimination and Harassment Legal Compliance" have been promoted to staff and there has been some staff uptake of this offer

Reporting progress

Progress under this program will be reported every 12 months. This will take the form of a report from HR on the achievement against actions outlined in the supporting action plans and will be provided to the Executive and Workplace Relations Committee. A summary report will be published on the intranet for the information of staff.

Governance and accountability

Workplace diversity will be included as an item in the Institute's Annual Report.

A copy of this Workplace Diversity Program, and any updates, will be provided to the Public Service Commissioner (as required under Attachment A: Australian Public Service Commissioner's Directions 2013 to Commission Advice 2013/12: Legislative changes affecting diversity in the APS).

In accordance with Commission Advice 2013/12: Legislative changes affecting diversity in the APS, when this program is revised in any way the revised program will be published on the AIFS website as soon as practicable after the revision is made and approved.

This Workplace Diversity Program will be reviewed prior to July 2015.

Publication details

Corporate document
Published by the Australian Institute of Family Studies, July 2013.

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