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Media Release

Jun 17th 2010

Secrets to workforce diversity revealed

A number of joined hands representing workforce diversityA leading researcher in human resource management will reveal why organisations might be wasting millions of dollars through ineffective diversity management practices at a free public forum this coming Tuesday (22nd of June).

Professor Carol Kulik, the Director of UniSA’s Centre for Human Resource Management will share the results of a recent national audit of the diversity management practices adopted by Australian organisations, part of the Making Diversity Work project.

The ongoing three year study is funded by a linkage grant from the Australian Research Council, and is a collaboration between UniSA, the Melbourne Business School, the Australian Senior Human Resources Roundtable and Diversity@Work.

Prof Kulik says that increasing levels of workforce diversity emphasises the need for effective workforce diversity management.

“The Australian workforce is more than 50 per cent female, highly multi cultural and with a large migrant population. As fewer young people enter the workforce, the proportion of older workers is increasing. In addition, 20 per cent of the workforce has a disability,” she says.

“Organisations have high expectations about the positive effects of workforce diversity, but left unmanaged it can be detrimental to their business, including increased levels of conflict and employee turnover.”

In her address, Prof Kulik will identify the management practices that can help business grow their workforce diversity and become more effective as a result.

“Our results to date show that workplaces adopt very different approaches to diversity management. Some organisations haven’t developed any kind of diversity agenda, some are taking a ‘diversity blind’ approach’ and still others are adopting very proactive ‘diversity conscious’ practices,” she says.

“Each has their own strengths and weaknesses, and I think audience members will be surprised to learn the variety of diversity management strategies, and to see where diversity management strategies fail to deliver their intended results.

“Most organisations have good intentions when it comes to workplace diversity. But it is a mistake to think that simply having a diverse workplace will lead to success.”

Event details:
Effectively managing a diverse workforce: Is good diversity management just good management?
Fourth Knowledge Works lecture for 2010
Professor Carol Kulik
Tuesday 22nd June, 5:45pm for a 6pm start. 7pm drinks and networking.
Bradley Forum, Hawke Building, UniSA City West Campus.

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