If you work in Halton, or you live in Halton but work outside of it, you may have noticed that many employers are trying to build more diverse and inclusive workplaces – or, at least, you’ve heard the terms “diversity and inclusion” thrown around at work. Diversity and inclusion talk about appreciation and respect for different backgrounds, cultures, perspectives, and beyond. But are workplaces in Halton and beyond doing enough on the diversity and inclusion front?
Having a diverse workforce and an inclusive workplace might sound simple, yet only one in ten Canadian employers strongly agree that they take advantage of those benefits, according to a new report rom the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) and the Institute for Canadian Citizenship.
“The purpose was not to paint a rosy picture or pat ourselves on the back for diversity well done,” said John Stackhouse, senior vice president at RBC. “We found the majority of organizations surveyed see themselves as being diverse; however, while they are successful at building diverse workplaces, the next step of inclusion often remains elusive.”
Sixty-four organizations that employ 1.2 million Canadians came together in this brand new study – entitled “Diversity and Inclusion: We’re not doing enough” – which showed that progress on diversity and inclusion in the Canadian workplace has been mixed. Not everything has been sunshine and rainbows, but it’s not all bad news.
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Here’s what the survey found:
- Employers are paying attention: 81 per cent provide internal networks such as affinity groups to foster a diverse workforce, while 75 per cent have initiatives in place to develop high-potential talent
- Every respondent either strongly agreed (87 per cent) or agreed (13 per cent) that inclusive teams make better decisions than teams that are not inclusive
- A majority either strongly disagreed (34 per cent) or disagreed (34 per cent) that diversity and inclusion can have drawbacks
- Eighty-two per cent of respondents strongly agree that inclusion is required to translate diversity into performance results such as innovation.
- There was an overall consensus that organizations should do more to build a diverse workforce (46 per cent strongly agreed and 48 per cent agreed).
- Only 55 per cent of employers attempt to measure the impact of their diversity initiatives
- Organizations were most likely to say they lagged behind in diversity and inclusion with respect to Indigenous peoples and persons with disabilities
So, it seems like organizations recognize the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace, however, actually implementing diversity intitiatives and measuring their impact has been rocky. Initiatives for Indigenous employees and those with disabilities in particular have been slacking.
Just over half of employers surveyed event try to measure the impact of their initiatives to create a more diverse workplace. Even if there are initiatives in place, many employers don’t know if they are working to foster a healthy work environment that respects the diverse backgrounds of each individual team member.
Clearly, workforces across the nation need some fresh perspectives on diversity and inclusion, and ensure those aspects are prevalent across their organization.
“Engaging in this exercise starts a necessary conversation about inclusion off on the right foot, by acknowledging our shortcomings and understanding our successes,” said Charlie Foran, CEO, Institute for Canadian Citizenship. “Truly inclusive and welcoming societies are better positioned to remain competitive. Newcomers who feel engaged are more willing to take chances, think differently and spur the progress that we call innovation.”
Addressing diversity and inclusion in the workplace – realizing that they exist and enforcing an attitude where all opinions, walks of life, and ultimately, people that make up an organization truly matter and are included – might be the first step, but there’s still a long road ahead for Canadian workplaces.