The Employees Pillar supports the creation of a welcoming workplace through acknowledgement, support and celebration of the company’s employees.
In This Section
Ask any business leader who employs a diverse staff and you’ll hear about the benefits they’ve realized. If you haven’t already, go to the Business Case for Diversity to understand just how beneficial diversity can be.
You know your workplace is inclusive when all your employees feel that they belong. Truly welcoming workplaces have the principles of inclusion built into the very foundation of the organization. They tend to be: Respectful, Stable, Productive, Innovative and Energized. Employers and employees both realize the benefits.
- Builds employee trust and reassurance
- Reduces absenteeism
- Minimizes workplace conflicts
- Improves safety
- Increases employee, client and public confidence
- Builds loyalty
- Increases recognition and enhances reputation
- Employees are happier and stay longer
- Creates efficient teams and better communication
- Produces better products and services
- Lowers input costs and downtime
- Generates involved and productive employees
- Is more competitive
- Produces better quality products and services
- Engages employees more fully
- Builds team spirit,
- Increases cohesiveness and
- Attracts new employees
- Encourages team work
Lay the Groundwork
Get the leaders in your company to commit. (See the Commitment Pillar)
- Make creating a diverse and welcoming workplace a management priority.
- Appoint a person or group to act as the Diversity Champion for your company.
Start Using a Regular Diversity Quote
- Use a quote about diversity on your website and change it every week or every month. Send a quote around by e-mail from time to time. Include a quote in the signature line of your e-mail.
- Send employees a quote via e-mail from time to time and invite your team to share their own diversity- related quotes.
- Include a quote in the signature line of e-mail.
Keep a History of Diversity in Your Company
- Track your company’s efforts to create a diverse and welcoming workplace. Keep a timeline so that you can watch how your company evolves and develops.
It is important to support new employees to help them fit into and support your company’s culture.
New Employee Orientation
Employee orientation is part of a long-term investment in a new employee. It is an initial process that provides easy access to basic information, programs and services, gives clarification and allows new employees to take an active role in the organization. It is important that your new employee orientation program takes into consideration the culture and values of your company.
Click here to download a checklist for supporting new employees.
Consider Including the Following in Your New Employee Orientation Program:
Orientation to Business:
- Mission and values statements
- Goals and objectives
- Organizational structure, e.g. own job description and relationship to other positions
- Future plans
Company Policies and Procedures:
- Dress code
- Reporting procedures
- Anti-bullying/harassment policy
- Smoking restrictions
- Expense claims
- Safety procedures
- Emergency procedures
- Operating telephone system
Explanation of Benefit Package
- Group insurance
- Sick leave
Tour Facility and Work Areas:
- Employee introductions
- Identify amenities, e.g. washrooms, lunch room, copy room
- Explain emergency procedures
- Identify safety equipment
Describe Job Responsibilities and Performance Expectations
- Job description
- Product standards
- Manuals for operating equipment
The following tips are offered to help you create a successful experience for new employees during their orientation:
- Set Specific & Achievable Goals: Give the new employee structure and make your orientation more successful by setting goals for what you want your orientation to achieve.
- Take Your Time: Use the orientation to give the new employee only the information they need most, so you don’t overwhelm them. Then you can provide them with additional information over time.
- Make It Fun: Make your new employee’s first day a celebration. Let them know that you are happy to welcome them into the company.
- Get the Employee Involved: Find ways to help new employees feel productive on their first day without overwhelming them.
- Ask for Feedback: Follow up with new employees about how they experienced the orientation process. Ask for honest and frank feedback and put the suggestions into practice to make positive changes.
Schedule Regular Meetings to Follow Up the Orientation
Regular follow-up meetings over the first 6 months to a year let you check in and find out how a new employee is doing. You can deal with issues about the work environment, relationships with co-workers, address questions related to policies & procedures, and strengthen their knowledge of the company’s general operations, especially as many things tend not to come up right away. This also lets the new employee know that you committed to providing continued support.
It is important that your employees understand your company’s diversity plan and that they are engaged in moving forward to reach your goals. The following three strategies will help you create a sustainable plan that your workforce can understand and support.
Strategies to help you Create a Company Culture that is Welcoming and Inclusive:
- Build diversity into your company’s values and strategic business goals. When you write your business goals, include strategies that will hold you accountable and give you room to build diversity into the foundation of the company (See the Commitment Pillar for more information).
- Encourage employees to reflect the company’s diversity values in their goal setting and have management pay attention to these values in performance reviews.
- Become your company’s Diversity Champion or invite someone to take on this important role. The Diversity Champion is responsible for leading the company in taking action on diversity and making sure you keep your commitments.
What is a Diversity Champion?
A diversity champion is a person who leads a company in taking action on diversity.
What does a Diversity Champion do?
A diversity champion:
- Takes responsibility for all the diversity activities within your workplace.
- Makes sure the company does not stray from their commitment to diversity and inclusion.
- Identifies barriers and brings suggestions to management on how to keep the workplace fair and impartial.
- Builds partnerships with other companies and organizations that focus on diversity.
- Promotes the benefits of diversity in the workplace to co-workers.
- Tracks the company’s progress and the actions it takes to create a workplace that is diverse and welcoming.
See the Diversity Champion Check List to get an idea of the activities that a Diversity Champion might take on.
How do you select a Diversity Champion?
A Diversity Champion can be from any level of the company, and does not need to be an expert on diversity. You can ask for volunteers, invite employees to nominate a co-worker or directly appoint a Diversity Champion.
In selecting a Diversity Champion consider these qualities:
- Listens well
- Treats others with respect
- Feels comfortable bringing employees’ concerns and suggestions to management
- Feels comfortable communicating with people at all levels of the company
- Takes the role seriously
- Is able to take the time needed to do the work
How much time will it take to act as a Diversity Champion?
Like any new undertaking, the job may take more time at the beginning, but once the process has started it should take an average of an hour a week.
How does the Diversity Champion get started?
The following tools and guide developed by SEED (Supporting Employers Embracing Diversity) will help the Diversity Champion get started and will support a strong diversity initiative:
Harassment and Bullying
Harassment is defined as improper conduct by an individual, that is directed at and offensive to another individual in the workplace, and that the individual knew or ought reasonably to have known would cause offence or harm. "The workplace" includes any event or location related to work.
Harassment also comprises any objectionable act(s), comment(s) or display(s) that demean, belittle, or cause personal humiliation or embarrassment, and any act of intimidation or threat. It includes harassment within the meaning of the Canadian Human Rights Act. (i.e. based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability and pardoned conviction).
Workplace bullying can be any of the following:
- Shouting at someone - whether in private, in front of colleagues, or in front of other people
- Belittling and making someone feel unimportant
- Being treated with disrespect
- Excessive monitoring
- Constant nitpicking/criticizing/flying off the handle especially over trivial or minor matters or mistakes
- Making someone feel bad and ashamed
- Deliberately overloading someone with work
- Undermining someone such as setting them up to fail
- Purposefully withholding information which is needed for the person to do their job efficiently
- Excluding someone from normal workplace/staffroom conversations and making someone feel unwelcome (this also includes cliques)
Policy for Bullying and Harassment
Every organization should have a Bullying and Harassment Policy. It is important that employees understand the policy and know how to file a complaint should an incident occur. Here are five steps to ensure that your anti-harassment and anti-bullying policies and procedures are understood by all employees and managers.
- Distribute: Let all employees know about the harassment policy, post copies of it on bulletin boards throughout the workplace, and if possible make it available online. View a Sample Harassment Policy here.
- Educate: Hold education sessions to let employees know what is in the policy; give them definitions and examples of harassment and bullying
- Encourage: Encourage your employees to report incidents of harassment and bullying. Give them easy and confidential ways to make complaints.
- Train: Train managers in ways to prevent bullying and harassment. Make sure they know about the company’s policy and what it says.
- Follow through: Act quickly to follow the policy as soon as someone files a complaint or as soon as you know about the harassment.
Is your workplace at risk for harassment? Click here for an Investigating Harassment Complaints Checklist.
The process for filing a complaint is an important part of preventing harassment and bullying in the workplace.
- Start the Complaint: Someone writes a complaint and gives it to a manager.
- Take Action: The manager gathers all the information needed to fully understand the situation.
- Interview: The manager interviews all the staff involved in the incident/issue. This includes the person who filed the complaint, the harasser, and all those who witnessed what happened .
- Take action: All the facts are gathered and evaluated and a decision is made on what action to take to address the complaint.
Click here for a sample harassment complaint form.
Options for Addressing Complaints
- Direct Approach: Use this approach only if the complainant feels comfortable meeting with the harasser face-to-face. A complainant may write a letter or talk to a harasser to ask them to change their behaviour.
- Intervention by a Third Party: Have a manager try to resolve the problem by bringing together the people involved.
- Indirect Approach: Use this approach to try to change a harasser’s behaviour without actually talking to them. Meet with all staff, for example, to talk about the company’s harassment policy.
Creating a Welcoming Workplace is an ongoing effort. To ensure your commitment to having a diverse workplace remains a priority, you will want to monitor, review and gather feedback so that you can see what is working and what is not and ensure that the changes you are making are having a positive effect.
- Set specific goals and timeframes to check in and evaluate your progress
- Follow the guidelines you set out in your strategic plan to evaluate the progress you are making toward specific goals
- Hold regular meetings with management, your Diversity Champion, or both, to keep supporting them and to help you keep moving forward
- Make yourself accountable to others. Update managers and employees quarterly on the progress your company has made
- Take time once a year to re-evaluate your workplace, use the Diversity Assessment tool
- Make a note of the changes you have made and celebrate these changes
- Identify areas where you need to do better and set new goals and objectives to help you make appropriate changes
- Give employees a chance to talk about the changes you make. Interview employees, ask them to fill out a survey, or hold an open meeting to get their feedback. Ask them how well the changes you’ve put in place have succeeded. Make sure the employee knows that their responses will be confidential and will not affect their references or letters of recommendation.
- Talk to people outside the company to find out if they’ve noticed any changes.
- Use exit interviews to gather information from employees when they leave your company. Look for this type of information: the reason the person is leaving, training that would be useful to employees, goals for building good relations between employees and managers.
Check out the Diversity Champion Guide that was developed by SEED: Supporting Employers Embracing Diversity.
You can help make your company a more diverse and welcoming workplace by following these three practices as you manage your employees’ performance reviews:
1) Find ways to avoid bias when you evaluate employees
- Allow employees to contribute to the setting of goals and measuring performance.
- Encourage your employees and managers to find objective measures they can use when they do performance reviews.
- Review employees’ goals and accomplishments with them regularly.
2) Support other managers as you develop and promote your diverse staff
- Encourage employees to add goals related to their professional development as well as for their performance.
- Hold review meetings regularly where managers talk to employees about their goals for professional development.
3) Hold employees accountable to support the company’s values and principles for diversity
- Include the company’s core values and diversity values when you talk with employees about their goals.
- Set clear expectations for employees so that they can behave in ways that fit with company’s values and culture.
Follow These Five Steps to Support Diversity in Management
Step1: Have employees and supervisors work together to complete a performance review. In doing so encourage them to develop a specific process including the creation of a template to follow so that it is consistent for everyone.
Step 2: Make sure supervisors and employees agree on the standards they will use to measure each goal. As much as possible, use objective measures to show an employee’s progress.
Step 3: Make sure that all employees include the same goals and objectives for creating a diverse workplace, and that everyone measures these goals in the same way. These goals are meant to hold staff accountable for supporting the values of your company.
Step 4: Have supervisors and employees do performance reviews every quarter. This process allows employees to look at what they have done, review their plans, and look for support from management.
Step 5: Review and modify these plans once a year, starting with Step 1 each time.