March 21st to 27th is Harmony Week and we invite everyone to participate and celebrate Australia and New Zealand’s cultural diversity. Harmony Week is a time to celebrate our multicultural sociality and the positive impact migrants have made within our communities. As two of the most multicultural countries in the world, we think our diversity should be celebrated, and we should work to further champion diversity and inclusivity.
Harmony Day in Australia and Race Relations Day in New Zealand are both held every year on the 21st of March to coincide with the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and mark the beginning of Harmony Week.
This year the message of Harmony Week is ‘everyone belongs’. The theme centres around inclusiveness, respect and belonging for all, regardless of cultural or linguistic background, united by a set of core common values.
How you can celebrate
Your workplace is the perfect place for you to join together with your colleagues to celebrate diversity. Harmony Week has put together this event planning kit to help you make the most of the week.
Events held during Harmony Week provide the opportunity for all peoples from all different walks of life to come together, learn from each other, share, celebrate and enjoy the richness of sharing cultural experiences. By recognising and celebrating multiculturalism we can learn and understand how people from diverse backgrounds not only equally belong to this nation but enrich it as well.
Celebrating Harmony Week can take any form, be it big or small. Events can be a simple multicultural morning tea or facilitating a group discussion at a team meeting. It creates an opportunity to think, recognise and talk about how our differences and common ground work to make out workplace stronger. Some specific ideas include:
- Hold a diversity quiz
- Ask colleagues to share games from their cultural backgrounds
- A diversity morning tea
Why inclusion is important at work
When organisations take action to create a more diverse and inclusive workplace everyone benefits. According to the Diversity Council of Australia 2021 – 2022 Inclusion @ Work Index, employees overwhelmingly want their workplace to be diverse and inclusive, with three out of four employees supporting or strongly supporting their organisation taking action to create a workplace that is diverse and inclusive. Workplace inclusion significantly increases performance and wellbeing and decreases discrimination and/or harassment. Inclusion at work benefits everyone and is simply the right thing to do.
Employees in inclusive teams are:
- 11 times more likely to be highly effective than those in non-inclusive teams
- 10 times more likely to be very satisfied
- 5 times less likely to experience discrimination and/or harassment
- 4 times less likely to feel work has a negative impact on their mental health
Did you know how diverse Australia is?*
- Nearly half (49 per cent) of Australians were born overseas or have at least one parent who was
- We identify with over 300 ancestries
- Since 1945, more than 7.5 million people have migrated to Australia
- Apart form English, the most common languages spoken in Australia are Mandarin, Arabic, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Italian, Greek, Tagalog/Filipino, Hindi, Spanish and Punjabi
- More than 70 Indigenous languages are spoken in Australia
*According to the 2016 Australia Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Census Data via the ABS website.
What can you do to promote harmony and cultural diversity?
- Speak up and take action against racism and discrimination when you witness it
- Be a role model for an inclusive culture
- Encourage your team to learn and understand more about different cultures
- Get involved in events in your local community to celebrate the diversity of our people
- When recruiting, make sure to tap into diverse talent pools to get the best person for your team and consider all candidates, including generational, cultural, gender, LGBTQIA+ and people with disability.
Cultural diversity at Programmed
As a company that employs over 35,000 people, we are proud of the progress we are making in ensuring that we continue to deliver on our core values of diversity and inclusion.
At Programmed we come from diverse backgrounds with over 80 different nationalities and languages, including Maori, Japanese, Portuguese, Swedish, Turkish, Indonesian, Arabic, Cantonese, Filipino among others. Some other diversity statistics include:
- 3.99% of our Australian workforce identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.
- 9.63% of our New Zealand workforce identify as Maori.
- 10.33% of our workforce identify as coming from a non-English speaking background.
- 60+ languages are spoken by our workforce.