Walk down any busy street in any Australian city and you’re likely to see people of different colours, size and style of dress. Such is the cultural melting pot of Australia and one that makes our country so great.
So how does it work in the workplace? Can you run a successful business with a group of people from different ethnic backgrounds and religious beliefs, some with English as their second language?
The resounding response from leading organisations around the country is ‘YES’. The reason is because diverse workplaces are a fusion of different experiences and perspectives, which is essential for generating creative and innovating thinking amongst staff.
One company that does it really well is COS. Founded by Dominique Lyone, an immigrant from Egypt (now a proud Aussie), with a head office in the multicultural heartland of western Sydney and branches in every state and territory, this is company which lives its values of cultural inclusion.
The staff come from over 20 ethnic backgrounds, including Armenia, Vietnam and Bangladesh, and a large proportion are born in a country other than Australia.
The principles of respect and culture tolerance are embraced by COS staff, with acceptance of religious practices, flexible working arrangements for religious festivals and regular multicultural lunches. There is a real effort to attract the best talent and create a platform for sustainable innovation through a stable and engaged workforce. Managing cultural diversity, and doing it well, is key to COS’ success.