How can training help managers get the most out of their diverse workforce?

Many aspects of IT project management focus on having the right tools and strategies ready for use. One of the most important tools at a manager's disposal is the team that he or she is working with.

Having top-quality tools to work with is important, but the real key is that managers know how to use those tools to ensure success. Given the growing diversity of the Australian workforce, managers must be able to effectively work in an environment of increasing multiculturalism.

Diversity in Australia is on the rise

More Australians were born overseas now than at any point in the last 120 years.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), 28 per cent of Australia's population was born outside of the country. That is a higher percentage than at any other point in the last 120 years.

On top of that milestone, the number of Australians born overseas has risen each year for over a decade, suggesting that future generations entering the workforce will continue to increase the amount of diversity in workplaces across the country.

There is even a great variety among where immigrants to Australia have come from. The ABS's top 10 countries of origin span four continents and include, in ranked order:

The business sense behind fostering diversity

There are a number of reasons why businesses can benefit from multiculturalism in the workplace. According to a report by Deloitte and the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, employees perform more effectively when they feel like they are welcomed in a company that embraces diversity.

This includes a 42 per cent increase in the ability to work together, a 31 per cent increase in fielding customer requirements and a staggering 83 per cent increase in innovative abilities.

The report also indicated that improved work-life balance is a key component of workers feeling that sense of inclusiveness.

According to the Australian government, a diverse workplace also makes it easier for businesses to expand into overseas markets, reach out to a more diverse customer base locally and provide better service to their clients.

Barriers to the benefits of diversity

Though there are a number of reasons to encourage workplace diversity, Australian companies have some work to do. This is particularly evident when it comes to management roles. According to the Diversity Council Australia (DCA), business leadership positions have some catching up to do in order to match current demographics.

A DCA report, Capitalising on Culture, found that 32 per cent of the Australian population comes from a non-Anglo-Celtic background, only 22 per cent of CEOs, 14 per cent of chairs and 20 per cent of senior executives share that heritage.

The numbers are much more dismal when focusing in on specific ethnicities. Australians with an Asian heritage, for instance, make up 10 per cent of the population but only 2 per cent of executive managers.

Training can provide a solution

One of the most effective ways forward for workplace diversity is when management leads the way in promoting an inclusive environment. In order to foster a climate of acceptance, managers need the right tools at their disposal. 

Fostering diversity in the workplace is easier with the right tools.Fostering diversity in the workplace is easier with the right tools.

ALC Training's two-day course Managing and Leading Diverse Teams teaches leaders how to harness the power of diversity to improve employee and business performance while bridging the gaps between cultures in the workplace. 

The training also places a strong emphasis on the process of developing and strengthening bonds between team members, as well as uses case studies to explore how diverse teams have succeeded or succumbed to issues in the real world.

For more information about this training, or other programs such as IT governance training, contact ALC today.