By: Megan Wickens
It’s easy to say that there’s a difference between diversity and inclusion, but drawing out the differences between these two goals is not as easy. In this guest post, Megan Wickens, head of our Alberta trades division and member of our Canadian Diversity and Inclusion Committee, looks at how inclusion policies are the next frontier in the corporate world.
There’s no doubt that we need to focus on building a culture of inclusion in the workplace and in the world.
What is diversity in the workplace? The dictionary defines diversity as the condition of having or being composed of differing elements: variety. And when we talk about diversity in the workplace, we’re usually referring to these 4 elements: ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and age.
While diversity is buried in the corporate policy of most companies, I would argue that it’s worth so much more than that. Our goal should be to create a culture of diverse talent. Instead of thinking of it as an obligation to meet diversity targets, to check off an item on a checklist, we need to reframe diversity so that it considers the inclusion of diverse viewpoints.
It doesn’t have to be hard. We do it all the time in business: diversifying portfolios and product mixes to stay ahead of the curve. Now apply the same to people – why wouldn’t we want to include diverse viewpoints from people who add value to our business and our lives? Inclusive policies can help us get there!
We’ve talked a lot about the advantages young people contribute to the workforce, but there is also a lot to be said about what older workers bring to the table, and how a mix of youthful and mature employees can lead to competitive advantages with the right management. Plus, there is no shortage of older workers in Canada. According to a Statistics Canada finding published early this year, 60% of Canadians who left a long-term job (12 years or longer) in their late fifties re-entered the workforce within a decade of leaving it.
But still, in a time when mandatory retirement is a thing of the past and people are living longer than ever, many older workers who have left the workforce are having trouble getting back in based on stereotypes and prejudices that are utterly unfounded. Read more
According to Statistics Canada’s 2011 census, about two million people in Canada speak a language at home that is neither English nor French. When you add in people who speak at least some English or French along with another language at home, you’re looking at about a fifth of the country. So what are the most spoken languages in Canada? English is still number one, with 56.9% of Canadians calling it their mother tongue and 85% of the country possessing a working knowledge of it. At number two, French is the mother tongue of 21.3% of Canadians with 30.1% of all Canadians possessing a working knowledge of it. However, despite 94.4% of Quebec being able to speak French, according to the census, the Romance language is slowly declining across the country for two main reasons: French speakers continue to learn English as a second language and newcomers to Canada choose to learn English over French as their second language. So, if English is going strong and French is becoming more and more localized, what languages across the country are on the rise? And what do they tell us about the future of the Canadian market when it comes to creating a successful business – at home and abroad – and about attracting the right talent to make it all happen? Read more
This article originally appeared in Lēad Magazine, Issue 14: The Search for Balance.
By Adwoa K. Buahene and Giselle Kovary, Co-founders and Managing Partners, n-gen People Performance, Inc.
Today, more so than ever, the implications of a multigenerational workplace are felt across recruitment, retention, and engagement practices. Getting the balance right in responding to and managing the expectations of Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Gen Xers and Gen Ys is essential to productivity and performance. Organizations struggle with integrating Gen Xers and Gen Ys, while trying not to alienate more experienced generations. This is particularly true because most organizational cultures are founded on Traditionalist and Baby Boomer values, behaviours, and expectations. Leaders must respect that people are part of the capital of their organizations, and as such, human capital risk needs to be managed like any other type of financial or operational risk. Organizations need to be strategic in viewing the modernizing of their organizational cultures as a change initiative. The goal is to maximize the skill sets of all four generations, while managing the differences. Read more
As touched on in our April 7, 2013 article, “The Power of Diversity in the Workplace”, despite being one of the most multicultural countries in the world, Canada still presents significant obstacles to those who are not of the longstanding western European, particularly British, heritage that characterized the country for much of its history.
Such cultural prejudices prevent organizations from having diversity in the workplace, which means they can’t take advantage of the benefits that come with it, such as appealing to more demographics in what is obviously an increasingly cosmopolitan marketplace. But what about when a new immigrant is hired, particularly one who’s from a very different culture? Are they over the largest hurdle? Or do they face even higher ones once they’ve entered the Canadian workforce? Read more
The world is shrinking. Globalization means companies from virtually anywhere can sell to customers from virtually anywhere, and in North America, local markets continue to become more and more cosmopolitan due to immigration. Target demographics are changing, and businesses that ignore those changes will one day find themselves without anyone to sell to. However, to stay relevant, businesses must do more than simply cater their products and services to these increasingly diverse demographics. In fact, it’s unlikely they can even do that successfully without fostering workplace diversity. But what exactly is workplace diversity, and how do organizations implement it? Read more