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Why a diverse customer base needs a diverse team: Our people share their thoughts on Candella’s inclusive culture

At Candella, we value people of all experiences and identities. Diversity makes us stronger, both as an organisation and as compassionate, respectful individuals. It ensures we provide human-centred, non-judgemental support to our clients, and it helps create better, more inclusive communities. Read on as our team members reflect on what diversity means to them at Candella.

Connection through shared differences

Wellbeing Facilitator Linda sees a richness of diversity within Candella’s teams and the people we support. She believes this enables stronger relationships with our clients, giving them greater confidence, choice and control. Linda also believes inclusion is an active process where we must educate ourselves to truly understand and respect our differences.

“Candella employs such a diverse range of people. We are fortunate to have an organisation that is diverse.  This is important so we can understand and relate to our clients and one another better.

“It’s not a matter of a one-size-fits-all mentality. We need to learn to understand and respond appropriately to the preferences of our clients from varying ethnic, social, and economic backgrounds, identity and lived experience. It is also essential that we have skills like cultural awareness, flexibility and effective communication to work with our clients. 

“There are so many levels of diversity. Life experience is another level, and this can have a huge impact on our perspectives and person we become as a result. It’s important our clients have the freedom of preferences that are important to them.”

More than just a word

For Declan, diversity and inclusion aren’t just buzzwords – they’re values our Wellbeing Facilitator sees in action at Candella every day.  

“I’ve never worked with an organisation that’s been more inclusive or welcoming than Candella. I think it’s fairly common for workplaces to do an

R U OK? Day, feel they’ve ticked that off the list, and then it’s time to get on with business. But here, I feel it’s the priority of management and staff to be welcoming, inclusive and respectful of every person.

What that means is for every person who needs our help, there is someone within our ranks who shares that lived experience. I think that’s super important. You can be respectful and nice and pleasant, but if there’s a lack of shared life experience, it can be difficult to have certain conversations. So, having that wide base of people at Candella means we’re really able to understand clients of all backgrounds.” – Declan

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Redefining diversity

Murali brings incredible life experience to his role as Wellbeing Facilitator. Born in Malaysia, he’s lived in Australia for 40 years, built a career in the corporate world, and now values being part of an inclusive team at Candella. For Murali, the beauty of diversity is that it encapsulates so many things, and he challenges us to explore how we define it. 

“First and foremost, how do you define diversity? Diversity is not just one thing; it’s 100. It goes beyond multicultural.

“I’ll put myself out there: I’m different. Why am I different? My skin colour. I’m proud to be an Indian. But also my age, my maturity.

“Diversity means personality, your studies and learnings, which community you come from. So, I think we need to define diversity beyond what is expected in society today, and that means pushing the boundaries and going beyond the fence of cultural diversity.”

A safe space to be ourselves

To improve our wellbeing, confidence and capacity, we need to feel physically and psychologically safe. Our People and Capability Manager, Belinda Harrison, says Candella’s diverse team helps create this safe space. Yet, she also reminds us that diversity is a continuous, rewarding and collaborative work in progress.

“A diverse workforce brings diverse thinking and a richness to our ideas, approaches and the ways we support our clients and each other as a team. It’s important for all of us – clients and employees – to feel safe in our environment, and our diversity of people creates an environment for that.

“Being inclusive is core to our being. We have people from all varied backgrounds seeking support, so it’s important they feel safe when receiving our support.

“There’s so much we want to achieve and build into Candella, and we’re creating real frameworks to support that with the help of our incredible people.”

“We’re most certainly making a conscious effort to not just talk about diversity and inclusion, but to actively engage with it and build upon it. We have our Significant Days Working Group, which encourages everyone at Candella to participate in activities that raise awareness and respect through days such as Harmony Day. We’re also working on our Reconciliation Action Plan this year.

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