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Diversity important in the workplace

September 26, 2013

Diversity important in the workplace

Choosing not to employ people who are different in terms of race, colour, religion and ability removes the opportunity to develop a rich, diverse and creative workforce, the Human Resources Institute of New Zealand says.

Commenting on recent news about people with intellectual disabilities being denied work HRINZ spokesman Tony McKone said employers with inclusive work practices and policies benefited from the resulting diversity.

HRINZ is the national professional human resources organisation with more than 4000 practitioners as members.

HRINZ’s view is that fair, ethical and non-discriminatory employment practices should be supported. Discrimination against sectors of the workforce is bad for business, the target labour pool is reduced and the diversity of thought needed in driving innovation and productivity is reduced. There is a negative impact on the corporate and employment brand.

Mr McKone, an independent contract specialist in employment relations and a member of the HRINZ board, said: “Every employer is responsible for developing the employee value proposition that sets them apart in the marketplace. An EVP that demonstrates an inclusive approach to attracting, retaining and developing people will always win over one that is not inclusive.

“In New Zealand we are blessed with a wide diversity of people who can bring innovative thinking to their workplace. It is important that we do not look upon people who may be different to us, including immigrants and people with disabilities, as being unable to positively impact on today’s workplace.”

HRINZ supported the work of the EEO Trust and Workbridge who assist disabled people find work. The Trust can point to a number of “success stories” where people with disabilities were provided jobs that provided stability, stimulation and confidence.

The Trust says that an inclusive and tolerant workplace motivates employees to perform to the best of their ability. It promotes understanding between people creating a stronger and more focused team and enhances the employer’s image.

Mr McKone said the institute’s members were fully conversant with the Human Rights Act and other employment legislation and were able to work with employers to develop sound inclusive policies and practices.

ENDS

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