Following on from last week’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination & Harmony Day, iHR Australia’s Managing Director Stephen Bell reflects on how eLearning built around racial diversity has a role to play in breaking barriers in Australian workplaces.
After having worked for international companies across Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and the UK, iHR Australia’s Managing Director Stephen Bell was adamant that Australia would be moving to a far more internationally diverse workforce. Three years ago, Mr Bell insisted that all eLearning training programs produced by iHR Australia were to include a minimum of no less than 4 international accents in each story. Today the international modules contain accents from Australia, UK, Middle East, Asia and US.
“One of the most interesting themes of feedback that I have received on our international eLearning, that is now used by many Australian clients, is the range of accents makes the user feel uncomfortable” said Mr Bell. While this isn’t the typical response to the eLearning modules it certainly has been received on a number of occasions. “Perhaps most interesting is that of the range of accents used throughout the program, the American accent seems to have been most difficult for the users to accept” continued Mr Bell.
In a global world iHR Australia’s eLearning has endeavoured to strip back the barriers to diversity in the workplace and challenge Australian users with the idea that you can have a work team with 11 members from 7 different national backgrounds.
Mr Bell said “It does interest me that some users have felt some level of discomfort with the multi-accent nature of the program which suggests to me that we need to challenge ourselves even further with the idea that the modern Australian workplace will be the bastion of true diversity”.
Interestingly iHR Australia have sold hundreds of thousands of eLearning licences to the health industry which is dependent upon a highly racially diverse workforce. The truth is that Australians from all backgrounds are now deeply reliant on people from across the globe to fill roles that many long-term Australian residents are not willing to undertake.
“Any of us who have nursed parents within the aged care system will have experienced and been grateful for the willingness of workers of an international background to take on some of the most challenging aspects of aged care” said Mr Bell.
With recent increase in interest in iHR Australia’s eLearning programs it seems that HR and Learning professionals are becoming much more accepting of a truly international product. Mr Bell concluded that “Our programs are based on local Australian laws and the general feedback is that they are the most thorough discrimination, harassment and bullying eLearning tools available. I’m also glad that they test the tolerance levels of some of our users. That was the whole point”.