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What an inclusive workplace should look like, from Lander & Rogers partner Aaron Goonrey

By Jack Campbell | |5 minute read
What An Inclusive Workplace Should Look Like From Lander Rogers Partner Aaron Goonrey

Partner at Lander & Rogers and workplace relations and safety expert Aaron Goonrey joined The HR Leader on 24 November 2022 to discuss what an inclusive company should look like.

“In my view, a truly inclusive organisation is where a workforce is diverse at all levels and employees feel, at the very least, valued, heard and understood,” said Mr Goonrey.

“And a key factor in the success of any inclusive initiative is having the ability for the leaders of an organisation to see and listen to every person’s point of view.”


Providing staff with a safe environment is important, said Mr Goonrey: “The workforce should be one where all employees feel safe to be themselves and to be able to contribute to having an inclusive culture. There should be one where there’s a promotion of awareness of unconscious bias, particularly for those in leadership roles and for those who make recruitment and other decisions in the employment life cycle.”

“It’s asking your people what an inclusive organisation means for them and what their aspirations are for the organisation in that regard. Because it’s all very well and good for someone like me to sit there and say, ‘This is what I think a truly inclusive organisation is’, but ultimately, why not ask your people what that means for them?”

As Mr Goonrey outlined, diversity can bring varying experiences, perspectives, and skills that can all be valuable assets to a business. However, it is more than just filling a cultural quota.

“There’s one organisation that we work with, a very large employer. It has such a diverse workforce, particularly in relation to age. It’ll have younger people and older people … who work in the same workplace. You have an equal proportion in terms of men and women in leadership positions within that organisation. You have an array of abilities. You have people who have disabilities, you have people who are high-performing employees, you have neurodiverse employees within this organisation,” explained Mr Goonrey.

“And I think what works with them is … that it’s not an effort for them to recruit, to promote and to encourage this vast array of a workforce. And it is, in my experience, truly unique because they don’t have any barriers.”

He continued: “I’ve worked with organisations that don’t have any diversity ... And you will find that does occur in certain sectors as well because traditionally, they have attracted women as opposed to men. And vice versa, you will have sectors that just attract men to particular positions as opposed to women.”

Diversifying your headcount may mean looking outside of usual hiring pools. With talent shortages affecting the success of standard hiring processes, being more open to previously underutilised but valuable candidates, such as an ageing workforce, may be beneficial.

“With inflation the way it is at the moment, there seems to be an imperative for some older people to actually go back into the workplace,” Mr Goonrey said.

“Since the pandemic, there has been a shortage of [hospitality] workers. And that could be a sector where employers go, ‘Why don’t we try and get older workers back into the workplace?’”

The transcript of this podcast episode, when quoted above, was slightly edited for publishing purposes. The full audio conversation with Aaron Goonrey on 24 November 2022 is below, and the original podcast article can be found here.


Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.