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June 28, 2017

Workforce Mutuality



What is “workforce mutuality”?

Workforce mutuality is a new way of looking at diversity and inclusion that we’ve adopted here at HealthWest Partnership. Workforce mutuality describes how much the diversity of an organisation or a sector’s workforce reflects the actual diversity of the community. As a starting point we will be working with cultural diversity, although other aspects of diversity such as gender, sexual identity, ability and age are also relevant to workforce mutuality. Workforce mutuality therefore benefits both the community and the health and community organisations who serve it. It’s a model based on mutual benefit.

Workforce mutuality doesn’t exactly replace the concept of diversity in the workplace, but we think it will improve upon the work that’s already been done in this area. We decided to use the word “mutuality” because we wanted to build a model of diversity that was more closely in step with the actual diversity of the community we live in and work with.


Why is workforce mutuality a priority?

There is a lot evidence that shows that a health and community sector with high workforce mutuality brings with it many benefits, including:

  • More responsive and skilled workers who have a better understanding of the needs of the community.
  • Organisations that are better equipped to work with all members of the community.
  • Improved access to services for people from diverse backgrounds.
  • More jobs and career opportunities for people from diverse backgrounds.


What is HealthWest doing?

At HealthWest we’re using workforce mutuality to guide our membership’s efforts in making our collective workforce more representative of the diversity in our community. We recently launched a Position Statement on “Workforce Mutuality in Melbourne’s west” outlining our commitment to workforce mutuality, which you can read here. In the second part of 2017 we will be establishing a Workforce Mutuality Taskforce that will help drive workforce mutuality programs and initiatives among our membership. We will also begin work on a set of standards for workforce mutuality that will provide our members with a roadmap to guide their workforce mutuality initiatives and enable organisations to assess their practices against indicators of good practice.


Achieving workforce mutuality is not an endpoint, but will be an ongoing process. HealthWest is committed to this process and to supporting our members in building their own capacity to improve workforce mutuality.


For more information, contact Martin Plowman, Workforce Mutuality Project Officer at HealthWest Partnership, at

Diversity, Workplaces