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  • Writer's pictureGregory Andrews

Indigenous Employment Strategies good for business

An important part of my Supply Nation registered business is developing Indigenous Employment Strategies to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion, and create economic and employment opportunities for First Australians. The direct benefits to business of Indigenous Employment Strategies are also significant. With over 60,000 years of experience living on this continent, First Australians bring a unique set of skills and perspectives to the workplace which can help improve organisational capability, innovation and creativity and thus enhance productivity and business outcomes.

Developing and implementing the most effective Indigenous Employment Strategies requires consultation and co-design with Indigenous communities and staff. This helps identify the barriers to employment and the opportunities for collaboration. Effective strategies include much more than measures to attract and recruit First Nations staff. They outline specific actions and targets for attracting and developing Indigenous employees. And they focus actively on implementation and progress monitoring. This may involve setting targets for Indigenous employment, developing recruitment and development initiatives, providing training and support for Indigenous and non-Indigenous staff and measuring outcomes and impact. Finally, they include monitoring and evaluation to allow for adjustments and improved effectiveness. This requires seeking feedback from Indigenous staff and communities, assessing impacts, and making changes to the strategy to ensure it meets its goals.

In Australia, many organisations have successfully implemented Indigenous Employment Strategies and are reaping the benefits. Private sector examples include Westpac and the Commonwealth Bank which have targets to increase Indigenous employment, partnerships with Indigenous organisations to provide training and employment, cultural competency training for all employees, and ongoing support and development for Indigenous employees.

On the government side, three of my favourite existing Indigenous Employment Strategies are those of the Australian Public Service Commission and the Public Services in NSW and NT. All three include employment targets, targeted recruitment, career development and support, cultural competency training, and monitoring and evaluation. They all focus on creating diverse and inclusive workplaces, supporting Indigenous communities, and contributing to Reconciliation. At present, I am proud and grateful to be working with Parliament House in Canberra to develop an ambitious Indigenous Employment Strategy there. This involves working closely with First Nations staff and management through a co-design process.

Summing up, developing and implementing Indigenous Employment Strategies is not only the right thing to do, it is good business practice. Creating diverse and inclusive workforces allows organisations to improve innovation and creativity, enhance productivity and performance, and better understand and serve their clients. And by enhancing employment opportunities for First Nations people, organisations can also contribute to Indigenous economic development and help close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Finally, Indigenous Employment Strategies contribute significantly to Reconciliation which works towards a more just, inclusive and equitable Australia.

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