Implications for businesses

This section draws on the findings from the research and presents implications that may assist businesses in creating inclusive workplaces for kaimahi Māori.

There is a journey to becoming an inclusive workplace

  • There are many ways for businesses to be more inclusive, but the research found that approaches need to be genuine and that kaimahi Māori should be able to see there is a commitment to both build and maintain an inclusive workplace.
  • One-off actions are likely to be viewed as tokenistic and potentially detrimental to the aim of building an inclusive business. The importance of continuous improvement was highlighted by the research.
  • The research emphasised that businesses should engage with their kaimahi Māori and seek their insight and feedback on how to develop an inclusive workplace. A start could be to assess their workforces’ perceptions of inclusion such as whether staff feel safe and supported. This engagement should be ongoing.
  • Understanding different groups of employees within a business, and their perceptions of how inclusive the workplace is might help businesses identify groups that need more support.
  • Businesses should be aware of the culturally-specific workplace challenges kaimahi Māori may face and this requires culturally nuanced leadership to address. When businesses expect Māori to organise hui, conduct karakia and act as an iwi liaison, this needs to be factored into workloads.
  • The research suggested that businesses could consider adding factors relating to workplace inclusion to managers’ KPIs to enhance the spread and support of inclusion.
  • Businesses should support kaimahi Māori who experience discrimination, both from co-workers and customers. The research found that such support shows that businesses value inclusive workplaces and builds respect from all kaimahi.
  • Achieving inclusion in the workplace might take time to develop.
  • The research noted that an inclusive workplace has the potential to lead to greater retention of staff and performance of the workforce. It can also attract kaimahi Māori to businesses that don’t currently have Māori staff.

Leadership is important

  • The research found that leadership is key for building inclusion within a business. Larger-sized businesses may have formal inclusion policies, but attention and support from business leaders is still required. Smaller-sized businesses may not need a formal policy but can manage instead through good leadership and a more informal approach to inclusion.
  • Good inclusion leadership requires training and development. Business leaders can lead by example, but leader training can aid its genuine spread across a business.
  • Representation within leadership roles within a business is seen as important. Not having diversity in leadership may suggest a lack of an inclusive culture to kaimahi in the business.
  • Representation of kaimahi Māori in leadership roles may require recruitment and / or training to develop people into these roles.

Engaging outside the business is important

  • The research observed that strong engagement with stakeholders and connections beyond the business can be part of having an inclusive business. This can include sharing business resources with community groups (for example, tools, products, time, expertise) as examples of low cost ways of engaging with the community.
  • Businesses who engage with hapū, iwi and community groups can enhance the cultural identity and wellbeing of their kaimahi Māori. Doing this can show that the business cares about the communities they live and work in and is another way to build inclusion for kaimahi Māori.
  • Engaging and supporting the community can lead to reciprocation and benefits for the business.

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