Culturally inclusive recruitment practices will help to engage and retain a culturally and linguistically diverse workforce. Employing staff from diverse communities can increase the overall responsiveness of your service and may enhance its attractiveness for culturally and linguistically diverse communities.
Ideally, the cultural and linguistic diversity of your staff base will reflect the community in which your organisation serves.
Addressing cultural diversity across all staff education and development programs will greatly enhance your organisation's skills in the area of cultural awareness. Not only will this benefit your care recipients from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, it will contribute to a non-discriminatory workplace.
Just as aged care service providers must address the needs of their culturally and linguistically diverse care recipients, managers must address the needs of their culturally and linguistically diverse staff. This may include supporting employees' needs through the provision of a prayer room, respecting the observance of religious holidays or providing English literacy improvement classes.
The Centre for Cultural Diversity in Ageing has recently developed a new guide for Working with Bilingual Staff in Aged Care.
This resource a step-by-step Guide for aged care providers to assist them in harnessing the bilingual skills of their staff and maximising their effect within the workplace.
- Consider the cultural and linguistic needs of your care recipients and the demographics of the local community when recruiting new staff.
- Ensure the recruitment policy promotes cultural diversity and the recruitment of culturally and linguistically diverse staff.
- Ensure the recruitment process and the selection criteria as documented in the position description do not discriminate against or disadvantage people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
- Consider a flexible approach to the recruitment process to engage a broader range of applicants - eg by allowing applicants to respond to job advertisements and selection criteria orally (either in person or via telephone) instead of just written applications.
- Demonstrate a commitment to cultural diversity in all position descriptions – eg encourage bilingual staff to apply, and include as a required attribute the commitment to work within a culturally diverse workforce and clientele.
- Advertise staff vacancies in ethnic media and disseminate through community organisations via their leaders, members and venues.
- Invite community representatives to participate in the recruitment process.
- Ensure all staff responsible for recruitment and who sit on interview panels are trained in cultural awareness, appropriate communication and non-discriminatory recruitment practices.
Staff Education & Development
- Provide all staff and managers with ongoing development opportunities to enhance their knowledge of culturally inclusive practices and their responsibility in implementing culturally appropriate services.
- Regularly assess the knowledge and skills of staff in relation to the provision of culturally appropriate services, and use this assessment when developing a training plan.
- Include a cultural diversity component in all staff orientation.
- Integrate cultural diversity training into existing training programs.
- Encourage staff to learn a second language as part of their education and development program.
- Ensure the language skills of bilingual staff are formally assessed if they are to be used for interpreting.
- Provide English literacy improvement classes as part of the staff education and development program.
- Consider the cultural and linguistic diversity of staff and English literacy levels of staff when developing education and training programs.
- Review training and assessment programs for cultural bias.
- Ensure that all staff are trained in cultural awareness and appropriate communication.
- Address cultural diversity across all organisational policies and practices.
- If the language skills of bilingual staff are to be used - even irregularly - ensure this responsibility is clearly described in the position description and appropriately remunerated.
- Monitor the workload of bilingual workers to ensure that unrealistic demands are not being placed on them due to their cultural and linguistic skills.
- Understand the cultural influences on work values and practices and address them in a culturally appropriate manner with staff.
- Provide facilities for a variety of religious and spiritual observances.
Additional Resources and Links
- Working with Bilingual Staff in Aged Care
Centre for Cultural Diversity in Ageing
- Harmony in the Workplace - Delivering the Diversity Dividend
Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA)
A series of factsheets aimed at fostering greater awareness and appreciation of cultural diversity in Australian workplaces.
- Taking Care – Effective Communication for CALD workers in Aged Care
Adult Migrant Education Services (AMES)
Taking Care is produced by Adult Migrant Education Services (AMES) with funding from DEEWR – Workplace English Language and Literacy Program. This is a multimedia training kit designed to address the workplace communication needs and cross cultural issues faced by CALD Personal Care Assistants working in the aged care industry.
- Cultural Competency in Health: A Guide for Policy, Partnerships and Participation
National Health and Medical Research Council, 2006
- Recruiting Bilingual Staff
Centre for Culture, Ethnicity & Health
This tip sheet can help guide you through the process of recruiting people who can perform their work duties in English and another language. Formulating the most appropriate approach to this for your organisation will be influenced by whether you are primarily recruiting for a position that works with a specific community in a language other than English (LOTE), or a position where the LOTE is an additional skill.
- Effectively Managing Bilingual Staff
Centre for Culture, Ethnicity & Health
This tip sheet will alert you to the issues of managing employees who agree to use their
language other than English (LOTE) in the workplace. These employees can supplement the
work carried out by qualified interpreters.
Human Resource Management
- Managing Cultural Diversity –Training Program Resource Manual
Australian Multicultural Foundation and Robert Bean Consulting
Training program developed by the Australian Multicultural Foundation in association with Robert Bean Consulting as a resource for business owners and managers in Australia, to support them in recognising the encouraging cultural diversity in their workplaces.
- Involving Volunteers from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Backgrounds - Take a Closer Look (PDF 1.6mb)
This resource is for organisations, managers and trainers who would like to learn more about getting people from diverse cultural backgrounds involved in volunteering.
- Diversity and Volunteering go hand in hand (PDF 1022.95kb)
This resource provides volunteer managers tips on involving volunteers from diverse backgrounds into their volunteer programs, these tips emphasise the diversity of volunteers and promote tolerance within our volunteering communities.
- Training Manual- Recruiting and Supporting Volunteers from Diverse Cultural and Language Backgrounds
This training manual has been designed to enable trainers to deliver customised training to managers and others within volunteer-involving organisations which will help them to: Lay the groundwork for recruiting new volunteers from diverse cultural and language backgrounds; Develop an inclusive culture and culturally sensitive practices; Successfully recruit and retain volunteers from culturally diverse backgrounds.
The following links will assist you to provide access to newspapers, radio and television in the preferred language of your care recipient.
- Community Radio & TV Stations with Programs in Non-English Languages
National Ethnic & Multicultural Broadcasters' Council
Search for multicultural and multilingual community programs around Australia, as well as general community radio stations.
- Ethnic Media
Community Relations Commission
A list of ethnic newspapers, radio stations and television programs in NSW.
- Online Newspapers
A collection of links to some of Australia's multilingual newspapers compiled by MACSA including Arabic, Chinese, Jewish, Indian, Farsi, Croatian, Greek and Pakistani.
- SBS Radio Broadcasts in 68 languages
SBS now offers 24/7 live online streaming of all language programmes on SBS Radio 1 and 2, as well as live streaming of the two trial digital radio music stations SBS Chill and SBS PopAsia. Languages include: Greek, Croatian, Vietnamese, Cantonese, Khmer, Polish, Hebrew, Yiddish, Macedonian, Greek, Vietnamese, Serbian, Somali.
- Melbourne Ethnic Community Radio (Internet Broadcasting Available)
Programs are available in the following languages: Arabic, Armenian, Assyrian, Austrian, Bosnian, Cambodian, Coptic, Croatian, Dutch, Egyptian, Filipino, Ghanian, Greek , Hakka, Harari, Hmong, Hungarian, Iraqi, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Jewish, Karen, Laotian, Latvian, Lebanese, Macedonian, Maltese, Mauritian, Oromo, Polish, Punjabi, Romanian, Russian, Samoan, Serbian, Sinhala, Sudanese, Syrian, Tamil. Turkish, Cypriot Turkish, Vietnamese.
Use our National Resources Search for additional resources and links including resources developed under the Community Partners Program (CPP) and the Partners in Culturally Appropriate Care (PICAC) Initiative.