Cultural Needs Scale (CNS)

The Cultural Needs Scale for Aboriginal Australians (CNS) has been used with Aboriginal people for approximately 10 years and can be completed online via the "Shop" menu. It was developed based on asking Aboriginal people about the kinds of challenges that can often result from working in predominantly mainstream environments.

Once completed, the individual is provided with a personal profile and feedback report. This information is then used to develop a program for organisations to address the issues identified.

The CNS is also able to be repeated following such a program. This enables a gauge of the levels of improvement in workforce cultural safety for Aboriginal staff. It also ensures that any program implemented is able to be evaluated against these improvements.

IPS provides a suite of programs known as 'Staying Deadly in the Workplace' which address many of the common areas around workplace retention, supervision, support and talent identification of Aboriginal staff.

The CNS asked questions across the following domains, which have been determined as impacting upon Aboriginal worker retention and cultural safety.

1. Cultural Identity/Connection/Culture Stress

How important is your cultural identity to you? Have you had a lot to do with your culture during your upbringing and as an adult? Does this sometimes make it hard for you to be away and also to ‘make sense’ of mainstream worlds? Does this cause you stress sometimes? If you experience racism/prejudice how do you cope with this?

2. Knowledge

What knowledge is important to have about the history of Aboriginal people in Australia? What stereotypes are you likely to hear about Aboriginal people? How can the knowledge you have assist you to address these myths or stereotypes effectively? Do have specific knowledge on the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people to guide you?

3. Skills

Are you aware that communication styles can be very different between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. Are your skills in being able to communicate effectively sufficient? Do you that there are differences in how Aboriginal people learn? That this can be confused for a lack of ability by non-Aboriginal people?

4. Organisational Culture

What do you think about your organisation as a place for Aboriginal people to work in? Do you think the organisation is culturally appropriate? Do they show a commitment to cultural issues? How?