I’m proud to have been involved in the transport industry for most of my life. For generations, my family cut railway sleepers, and I have many childhood memories of riding in a truck cabin with my parents.
Exploring some of the most remote areas of our beautiful nation helped me to appreciate the vital role our transport industry plays. If the trucks stop rolling, our country stops moving.
Domestic freight demand is expected to rise drastically over the next decade. Ensuring the future of our transport industry is vital, and I believe the key to its success, and ultimately the nation’s success, lies in a diverse workforce. Driving change within an organisation can be as simple as starting a conversation around diversity, but these discussions should occur across all areas and departments, not just the boardroom.
What Diversity Can Do For You
Being the ambassador of Teletrac Navman’s Driving Change Diversity Program with the Australian Trucking Association is both a professional and personal milestone for me. As a member of the LGBTQI+ community living with cerebral palsy, ensuring everyone has equal opportunity is something I hold dearly.
This program will allow people from both inside and outside the transport industry to better understand the benefits of a more diverse and inclusive workforce. Having access to a wide range of perspectives is incredibly beneficial for planning and addressing challenges, giving you a wider variety of ideas and solutions to draw from and ultimately leading to more innovation.
As the industry looks to the next generation of workers to meet growing demand, many millennials view the ideal workplace as a diverse melting pot of cultures, backgrounds and perspectives. To secure an organisation’s future and attract the best possible workers, diversity needs to be a key part of company culture.
Starting the Conversation
While nearly all businesses I’ve met over the years understand the importance and value a diverse workforce can bring, many managers simply don’t know where to begin.
Whether you’re a manager, on the road or in the back office, anyone can start a line of dialogue with colleagues to create awareness around workplace diversity. You may not always get it right, but when broader communities see organisations fighting for change, it inspires people to think about their actions and how they can champion diversity in everyday life.
Taking the time to start conversations around diversity can also help create a sense of safety for those who may be from a different background to their teammates, helping them to open up and share their views.
Driving change in a business can’t come from just a handful of individuals. When everyone participates in the conversation, it cements the fact that diversity is a collective investment. We all benefit from a diverse, inclusive workplace, and everyone in your business should be part of the discussion.
Taking The First Steps
Transforming a business culture doesn’t happen overnight but getting the ball rolling is critical. One of the biggest mistakes companies make is overthinking inclusion or assuming it’s a conversation reserved for the C-suite.
Everyone has their own unique story to tell, and it’s important that we create an industry where anyone and everyone can feel welcome to be themselves. Take the time to talk to your team and make sure they feel safe and secure at work. Look at your hiring practices and consider whether you could be more inclusive and widen the pool of talent. Read about diversity champions in the industry and the impact they’re having across Australia.
The greatest investment a company can make is reflecting the community it serves. Australia’s transport industry faces some obstacles in the years to come, but by cultivating a diverse workforce that accurately reflects our nation, we can meet demand and create a sector where everyone is welcome.
To find out more about the Driving Change Diversity Program and meet the participants for 2020, click here.