Best practices to increase diversity in business

Brought out into the open in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement and the discussions on systemic racism, the issue of diversity in the working world will be front and centre more than ever in 2021. Here are some strategies to eliminate discrimination and to increase diversity in the workplace.

“Increasing diversity within your company begins as soon as a job offer is posted,” emphasizes Noellie Dias, CHRP, human resources consultant at Iceberg Management.

“Discrimination starts right at the front door,” she insists. “Many small actions keep systemic discrimination alive within institutions, often in an underhand and unintentional way.”

For example, the offer itself could exclude certain candidates, just by using specific terms or by requiring experience in a Canadian workplace.

“Inclusion should be based on recognition of attainment,” says Noellie Dias. A candidate with work experience strictly from outside of Canada can still excel at their job. They have useful transversal skills.”

In addition, when selecting candidates, it’s better to use impartial  processes to overcome the conscious and unconscious bias of recruiters. such as anonymous CVs and structured in interviews. It wouldn’t hurt to do a little soul-searching and to think about these recruiting techniques!

“There’s no magic solution though,” Noellie Dias agrees. “We need to take the time to think about these processes. What could be improved? What can you find in this or that candidate? We can then make use of the necessary tools to stop the continued bias.”

Integration strategies

Encouraging diversity doesn’t stop with the recruitment process. Reception and integration within the company are also extremely important.

“Diversity and inclusion go hand in hand,” Noellie Dias reminds us. “To make an analogy, diversity is inviting someone to a party, and inclusion is inviting them to dance…”

And to dance, you need a partner. The human resources consultant suggests, for example, pairing a new employee who has recently arrived in the country with a colleague who has had a similar experience in the past.

“A mentor certainly allows you to make ties and friendships within the cocoon of the company, but it is also someone to turn to if there are problems outside of work,” she explains. This person can also help to understand certain nuances of Quebec society. To sum up, it’s a point of contact to turn to for a successful social and cultural integration.

Advantages

Whatever someone’s origin, age or sex, diversity brings many advantages into the work environment. According to a recent survey, 70% of job seekers consider that diversity is an important factor in choosing an employer.

“The advantages of this practice don’t stop there,” insists Noellie Dias.

“When people from different backgrounds work on the same project, it also brings different perspectives,” she explains. Diversity makes it possible to be innovative and gives a competitive advantage in the long run.”

Author: Benoît Valois-Nadeau

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