ARL Collect embraces diversity as a key service offering

The Australian population is one of the most diverse on the planet. This diversity is rapidly changing the way organisations hire staff and deliver service – as a single homogenous offering no longer works.
04 December 2019

Roughly half of the population was either born overseas or have parents born overseas. We're very lucky to have a number of cultures and languages, encompassing many different characteristics including gender, ethnicity, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs and values.

This diversity is rapidly changing the way organisations hire staff and deliver service – as a single homogenous offering no longer works. Research reveals that if organisations don’t reflect diversity in their workplace it has a detrimental effect on their business. A diverse and inclusive workforce leads to better access to talent, greater innovation, as well as improved overall business performance.

Here are some fast facts about the Australian population: 33% were born overseas and nearly 50% have at least one parent that was born overseas. There are over 300 separately identified languages spoken and more than 1 in 5 individuals and families speak a language other than English at home.

Apart from general demographics and language, sexual orientation continues to diversify, the number of single-parent families are on the rise and individuals experiencing mental health issues are constantly increasing.

Every year, our People & Culture team conduct a Diversity Survey on Harmony Day. We encourage all employees to dress up in their traditional cultural garments, bring in their favourite traditional food and share stories of their heritage, along with encouraging them to complete the survey. As Ryan Butcher, Client Services Manager, says, “This day of cultural recognition and celebration not only gives the management team a better understanding of our people, but also helps us to match the increasingly diverse profiles of our client’s customers.”

Here are some highlights from the most recent survey:

  • 59% of employees aged between 16-24
  • Employee genders 53% male, 46% female, 1% other
  • Workforce made up of 53% Casual, 43% Full time, 4% Part time employment
  • 26 different languages spoken
  • Employees identify coming from 42 different countries
  • 31% of employees were born overseas
  • 50% of employees have completed some form of tertiary study

After completing the inaugural diversity survey, the company has used the data to set new benchmarks for improvement along with celebrating the diversity goals that have already been achieved. One key statistic that highlights how diversity helps to service our customers is the range of languages spoken. ARL Collect employees speak 26 different languages proficiently. The most common languages other than English in Australia are Mandarin, Arabic, Cantonese, Vietnamese and Italian.

Ryan continues, “Offering customers the opportunity to speak to us in their preferred language improves the overall customer experience and increases the chance of reaching a mutually beneficial resolution. Customers consistently express their gratitude for the ability to have a professional conversation in a language they are more comfortable with, especially seeing as it isn't something all can businesses offer.”

Here’s what one customer said after dealing with one of ARL Collect’s Mandarin-speaking team members, who was able to find a fair resolution without a language barrier creating issues of miscommunication.

 "It was very good and surprising to speak to someone in Mandarin. Normally in Australia a large number of companies don't really cater to migrants who don't necessarily speak English. It was very helpful to be able to speak to Jotham who understood my situation and was able to assist in achieving a good result.  Being able to speak with a Chinese speaker allowed me to understand how it was that my account fell into arrears and take steps towards dealing with the matter."  

The benefit of delivering this level of service is not just one-way. It also has a big advantage on ARL Collect’s internal culture.

This year, our Diversity Survey revealed that ARL Collect employees are also committed and stimulated by having an inclusive and diverse office environment. The feedback from staff reflects the organically grown diverse culture of the company, which is a reflection of historical hiring policies.

ARL Collect is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer. The aim of the company is to ensure that every employee and job applicant is considered regardless of gender, marital status, parental status, sexuality, race, culture, disability, age, physical features, religion, political beliefs or trade union activity.

The EEO policy ensures that ARL Collect employees are treated fairly and equally when employment decisions are made and that unlawful discrimination does not take place. All workplace relations policies are monitored by ARL's Compliance Manager, with regular audits undertaken as part of ARL's Quality Management System monitoring and accreditation.

The company is very excited about the results of the Diversity Survey initiative and management is looking forward to championing continual improvement and expansion of our diverse culture.” said Ryan.