Cultural competency is the ability of an individual or organisation to interact with different cultures in a respectful and effective way.
As one of Australia’s leading companies, ANZ wanted to build Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural awareness for all teams across the bank. Everyone from frontline bankers to executives and team leaders – especially those leaders working directly with Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander employees and customers.
In 2020, the Diversity Council Australia's (DCA) Gari Yala (Speak the Truth) report recognised almost one-third of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander employees did not work in culturally safe workplaces. As a committed DCA member, building cultural awareness and safety for staff and customers was critical for ANZ.
When the principals of the cultural competency training are applied correctly, the differences between cultures are used as strengths rather than weaknesses.
Research that becomes meaningful change
We’d spent the last two years developing our latest Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) but we found that only went so far. We realised big, foundational changes were needed to build awareness more broadly.
Questioning everything we’ve done in the past, making sure the intent of new the RAP was right and ensuring we report on the outcomes was all vital in the development of the plan. A program like this is not a ‘tick the box and move on’ situation. What we’re particularly interested in measuring is how what we do improves community awareness and engagement at ANZ.
We required company-wide, structured training on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, history and the impacts of racism. We wanted to create a wider culture that supported Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees, customers and the broader community. We had online training for frontline staff but we realised to create meaningful change, we needed to embed it across the entire organisation.
We developed a comprehensive three-year plan and we are part way through the implementation process. So far more than 750 staff have attended the training and we have many more booked in this year. But we know we still have a way to go.
We are really excited by what the training has already brought to our community and remain optimistic about the benefits it will bring in the future.