Why is it important to celebrate NAIDOC Week in the workplace?

Why is it important to celebrate NAIDOC Week in the workplace?


NAIDOC Week is right around the corner, and with this holiday fast approaching, it’s a great idea for organisations to find ways to celebrate in the workplace — while shedding light on the history behind the observance and its importance.

What is NAIDOC Week and what is its purpose?
NAIDOC, or the National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee, has a long history of working to increase awareness of the status and treatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. The committee’s acronym has come to represent the name and purpose of the week.

With its roots in the 1938 Day of Mourning — becoming a week-long event in 1975 — NAIDOC Week is intended to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This year, the Australian observance will last from Sunday, July 3rd through Sunday, July 10th.

Why should your organisation celebrate NAIDOC Week?
National celebrations are held around Australia each July, and a growing number of workplaces are taking more initiatives to honour the observance as well. Ensuring NAIDOC Week is properly celebrated in your organisation can be a significant benefit to your diversity efforts.

Not only does this holiday present a great opportunity for us as business leaders — along with every member of the corporate ladder — to learn about the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, but also shows your employees and other stakeholders that you value diversity and that your workplace is welcoming to all. This will be increasingly vital for organisations, considering more than 3 in 4 employees and job seekers report a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers, per a report from Glassdoor.

Team members with unique backgrounds, experiences and perspectives are an invaluable resource for organisations across industries. However, they need the support of people-managers, like ourselves, to encourage their diverse voices to be heard in the workplace whenever possible. Luckily, a report from Gartner found that 35% of HR leaders say diversity, equity and inclusion are among their top priorities this year — so if your business has been considering implementing more diversity initiatives, NAIDOC Week will provide a befitting opportunity.

A group of diverse employees sit around a table working Finding ways to celebrate NAIDOC Week can help your organization’s diversity efforts.

How to celebrate NAIDOC Week in the workplace this July
There’s no shortage of ways to celebrate the observance this year — as long as your organisation focuses on promoting the important history behind the week and encouraging the diversity that it represents. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Display the National NAIDOC Poster or other information about Indigenous Australians in your workplace.
  • Learn more about the land your office is located on and share this history with your employees.
  • Play indigenous music throughout the office for a portion of the day to familiarise and inform team members.
  • Share a movie or documentary about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history that employees can view on their own time.
  • Invite Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dancers to perform at the office or a large work event.
  • Reach out to Indigenous Elders and see if someone is willing to speak or share stories at your workplace.

NAIDOC Week is a valuable opportunity for organisations to share the important history of Indigenous Australians while enhancing their diversity efforts. If you or your company has yet to honour the observance in the workplace, this year is a great time to start!

Explore these NAIDOC Week resources for more information and read more about diversity and inclusion in the workplace — and a host of other topics within the business sphere — on our ICML blog.

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