June 28, 2017
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 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. In May 2018 we launched the HealthWest Partnership Standards for Workforce Mutuality at the Ethnic Communities’ Council of Victoria’s biannual state-wide conference. The Standards were developed with the support of an Expert Advisory Panel made up of HealthWest member organisations and peak bodies across the health, community, employment, higher education and corporate sectors.
Beginning in July 2018 we have been trialling the Standards with a group of five piloting organisations including Bolton Clarke, cohealth, commUnity+, IPC Health and Tweddle Child and Family Health Service. The pilot phase of the Standards will be complete by the end of 2018, and will inform the next steps we take in the space of workforce mutuality in Melbourne’s west. For more information download a free copy of the Standards here, and be sure to follow us on Facebook or Twitter for more updates.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.