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Supporting diversity, equity and inclusion

The transport industry is managing its fair share of challenges. With driver shortages, supply chain issues, and rising fuel costs — it’s safe to say the industry is resilient and adaptable. 

As you re-think your transport business to rise above these challenges, it’s crucial to consider the role diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) plays. Studies have found that gender and ethnic diversity, inclusion, and business performance are linked. 

So, whether you’re a driver, a manager, or the owner of a small business, here are three ways you can support DE&I in your transport business. 

1.  Think about your team  

The first step to achieving a diverse workplace is acknowledging that something needs to change. Consider the demographics of your team, and ask: are a range of voices being heard?

If not, write down the issues you’ve noticed, and consider what steps you and your business can take to balance the scales. If you’re a driver, you can bring the issue to your managers’ attention. If you’re a hiring manager, you might start by actively looking to fill positions with women or people with different ethnic backgrounds. As a business owner, you can ask your team what they think needs to change. 

Put your observations into writing and make a note of what you can do in your position to create change. 

2.  Encourage communication  

DE&I isn’t something you can tick off your to-do list; it must be ingrained in your workplace culture for real change to occur. That starts with communication. People who’ve previously had the loudest voices need to actively listen, and people who’ve previously been quiet need to be given a chance to share their thoughts. 

It can be hard to encourage new voices to speak up. But consistently championing open communication will help you take huge strides in your DE&I efforts. 

Everyone can encourage communication. If you’re an owner or manager, you can lead by example and ask for new voices to share their opinions. If you’re a driver, you can listen to your colleagues and ask how you can be an ally.  

3. Learning leads to progress 

A 2021 study found that a learning-oriented work culture differentiated the diverse and inclusive businesses from those that were not (hbr.org/2021/06/research-what-inclusive-companies-have-in-common). 

If you’re an owner or manager, you can encourage a learning-oriented culture by investing in company-wide DE&I training while seeking the value that individuals with different backgrounds and perspectives can offer. 

Your existing team will flourish, and you’ll establish a reputation as a diverse and inclusive workplace. As a result, you’ll attract a diverse workforce and set your business up for consistent, long-term DE&I progress and overall business success.    

A thriving workplace

Promoting a positive and inclusive workplace culture and giving a range of voices the chance to be heard is vital for transport businesses that want to thrive in 2022 and beyond. Find more information on how to support DE&I in your business at Diversity Australia (diversityaustralia.com.au) and Diversity Council Australia (dca.org.au).  

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