Steps towards cultural safety at work

It takes time and commitment to create cultural safety in the workplace.

The steps you need to plan for and implement are:

  • knowledge and understanding of cultural differences and history
  • learning and practicing sensitive and effective behaviours across the organisation and with visitors, clients, and your wider community
  • building trust and genuine partnership inside the workplace as well as with your community.

If your workplace is culturally safe, then the work environment is spiritually, socially, emotionally, and physically safe for everyone.

To start

Understanding our own culture, and its influence on how we think, feel and behave is much harder.

Begin addressing cultural safety in your workplace by asking yourself these questions:

  • How do I see the world?
  • Why do I do things in the way I do?
  • What do I value?
  • Why do I react in a particular way?
  • What are my expectations of work and working together?

Once you have examined your own approaches to work, reflect on your workplace more broadly by asking these questions:

  • What do you know about the people you work with??
  • Do you understand and appreciate their different attitudes and values?
  • Have you thought about how these cultural differences enhance your workplace?

Ask everyone to share their culture and ask them to answer these questions too. Make time during work hours for cultural safety to be discussed, workshopped, and promoted across your workplace.

Managing for cultural safety

Management commitment to cultural safety needs to be open, ongoing and transparent.

Engaging workers is necessary to building cultural safety in your community. Managers and supervisors need to champion cultural safety and safe work practices.

They need to:

  • be clear about the objectives and benefits of cultural safety programs
  • obviously engage in these programs alongside workers.
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