Indigenous Employment Strategies
There are many reasons your organisation may not fully utilise First Nations talent or are struggling to find Indigenous candidates for positions. Whether through misunderstanding or a general lack of awareness, large and small organisations often make several critical mistakes in their recruitment process, which fail to engage Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Hiring Indigenous talent has advantages, but certain practices must be identified and addressed to recruit and retain this group. Look inwards to your organisation and see where you sit currently and where you want to be. Assess your workforce and see if First Nations employees are adequately represented (if at all). Do some research and ask your First Nations staff how you could improve your organisation to meet their culture better. By taking a collaborative approach and listening to the right stakeholders, you can begin to shift your organisation towards a more inclusive and positive direction.
A systematic phased approach is advised to help meet Aboriginal employment targets. If your organisation doesn’t already have a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), you may need to look at investing in one. This document lays the foundation for cultural awareness and helps embed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander values within your organisation. After this has been established, creating your Indigenous Employment Strategy that suits your organisation and attracts First Nations employees is much easier.
The key is to create a welcoming environment for Indigenous people within your organisation, if you can demonstrate your genuine effort towards acknowledging and celebrating First Nations culture, you’ll have a much better chance at leveraging their talent. Consider recruiting an Aboriginal Employment Officer role within Human Resources to oversee and assist the Strategy and Action Plan’s execution.
Maintaining the momentum. Why not publicly show your support and work with local businesses or community organisations to promote Aboriginal employment?
Build and support existing Indigenous workforces by:
- Setting up an Indigenous professional development program in collaboration with local communities and Indigenous youth initiatives.
- Developing leadership programs for Indigenous workers.
- Hiring Indigenous individuals for positions of leadership, such as a manager.
- Ensure that Indigenous-specific cultural options are available when using employee help programs.
- Recognising previous and current trauma, as well as the effects it may have on personnel.
Establish best practices in human resources policies by:
- Introducing Indigenous cultural sensitivity and competency training.
- Creating an Indigenous human resources representative.
- Reviewing job descriptions and ads to ensure that knowledge and experience of the local Indigenous culture and language are valued may necessitate creating new employment categories.