Action Area #2—Respectful workplaces & empowered people
‘I want to feel respected at work and be confident that our leaders care about improving the workplace’APS Submission Respondent
2A Agencies will strengthen approaches to preventing and responding to bullying, sexual harassment and sexual assault in the workplace. This includes:
- supporting individuals who have been the victim of workplace bullying, sexual harassment or sexual assault by creating a safe place for them to be heard and report incidents
- having conversations with employees about where harmful behaviour exists, the work health and safety impacts, and putting measures in place to address it
- providing practical resources and tools to help employees recognise the many forms of sexual harassment and the range of actions or responses available to stop the behaviour and prevent its repetition or escalation—this includes calling out everyday sexism
- drawing on the findings in the Australian Human Rights Commission’s report—Respect@Work: National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces (2020)27 to develop improved policy, guidance, transparency, reporting and support mechanisms. Agencies will analyse the effectiveness of current approaches and where effort should be targeted.
2B Agencies will review internal and outward facing communication for gender inclusive language and images. This will include agency intranet, internet, internal policy documents and recruitment ads. Inclusive language and images help foster respectful workplaces and go a long way towards making all employees feel included and represented in corporate messaging.
2C Agencies will provide ongoing access to superannuation resources and awareness sessions to all employees with a particular focus on annual entry level and graduate intakes (e.g. agency induction). This is to empower employees early on in their career to understand their superannuation and impacts of career and life events (e.g. consideration of career moves, taking parental leave including leave without pay, changing agencies or retiring). This will not include individual financial advice.
Tips for agencies
Despite small numbers of formal complaints, it is important that everyday sexism, a driver of bullying and harassment, is called out. Listening to employees and hearing about their experiences will help agencies to tailor practical responses. Simple actions—that anyone can take—can make a difference. Something as simple as not laughing along with a sexist joke can help create a more positive workplace culture.28
Success for this action area
Success is elimination of gender-based bullying, harassment and assault in the workplace. For a culture of gender equality to flourish, all manifestations of harm need to be addressed and negative behaviour called out. Success is where inclusive leadership capabilities are embedded in the daily behaviours of all employees and employees are supported to make informed decisions throughout their career to prepare for retirement.
Holding ourselves to account
Agencies promote a respectful culture that empowers people through knowledge and awareness. Agencies have no tolerance for bullying, sexual harassment or sexual assault in the workplace.