Our commitment to diversity and inclusion, plus preventing bullying, harassment and discrimination

Diversity and inclusion initiatives, coupled with policies and interventions aimed at preventing and addressing instances of bullying, harassment and discrimination in the workplaces of the horticulture sector, will significantly underpin the sector’s long-term growth, profitability and sustainability.

Given the heightened prevalence and increase in reports of harassment and bullying across many parts of our society, including workplaces, proactive management and mitigation of such issues is a key consideration for all. As businesses, industry organisations, and individuals, we all share the responsibility to show leadership in proactively addressing these issues.

Hort Innovation has an internal policy in place dealing with bullying, harassment and discrimination in the workplace. This policy addresses the legal requirements but more importantly provides a framework to ensure that any instances are dealt with to provide a safe and secure workplace for employees and stakeholders.

More recently, Hort Innovation has engaged in workshops with staff to highlight the value and importance of a diverse and inclusive workforce free from all forms of bullying, harassment and discrimination. Diversity can be considered the wide range of human differences across the community. It includes inherent characteristics such as age/generational differences, ethnicity, gender, intellectual and/or physical ability, cultural background, sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

Diversity also refers to less visible aspects such as education, socioeconomic background, faith, marital status, family responsibilities, and thinking, experience and work styles. Workplace inclusion refers to the way culture, values, and behaviours impact a person’s experience around feeling valued, respected and whether they are contributing and progressing. It relates to a work environment where all people are treated fairly and respectfully, with equal access to opportunities and resources.

The importance of diversity and inclusion is very practical – almost every horticulture industry is challenged by the complexities of securing both skilled and unskilled people for their workforce. The challenges with securing employees is regularly featured in the media. A diverse and inclusive workforce has been shown to improve profitability and innovation for all businesses and industries across the world. The entire horticulture sector has an opportunity to adopt a proactive approach to diversity and inclusion which will help to attract and retain a skilled, motivated and productive workforce.

The risks of not adopting bullying, harassment and discrimination policies (as a minimum) include exposing businesses, organisations and individuals to significant legal action. In the longer term, not adopting proactive diversity and inclusion policies risks the long-term viability of industries who may not be able to secure employees to operate.

Hort Innovation will continue to adopt a proactive approach to dealing with bullying, harassment and discrimination, along with diversity and inclusion. We are also looking for ways to support Industry Representative Bodies to develop their capability in dealing with bullying, harassment and discrimination, and diversity and inclusion. If you are looking for further information or resources, or you have thoughts or ideas on how Hort Innovation can support the horticulture sector to address these issues, please feel free to speak to any Hort Innovation staff member or email us at communications@horticulture.com.au.