25% of Canadians ‘uncomfortable’ expressing opinions at work

Diversity is a top-to-bottom strategy – not just an HR program

25% of Canadians ‘uncomfortable’ expressing opinions at work

Canadian workplaces have much more work to do when it comes to diversity and inclusion – according to a new study from ADP.

In fact, Canadian employees who belong to an ethnic minority claim to have experienced some form of discrimination based purely on their skin tone – with 32% believing its hampered their career growth.

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HRD spoke to Andrea Wynter, head of HR at ADP Canada, who explained the damage this bias is causing to both workplaces and individuals.

“Diversity, equity and inclusion is a top-to-bottom business strategy – not just an HR program,” she told us.

“This is why it’s so important to have a diversity, equity and inclusion vision for your organization that prompts senior leadership buy-in. This includes treating diversity and inclusion like other strategic goals, using data to inform efforts, showing an ongoing commitment through actions, and continuing to learn and adapt.”

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And this discrimination seems to extend beyond race, as 19% of female employees believe they’ve experienced judgement based on their gender. What’s more, 25% of Canadians don’t feel comfortable expressing their opinions at work, with that percentage rising to 31% for ethnic minority employees.

“With visible ethnic and religious minorities reporting more discomfort about sharing their ideas at work, employed Canadians within these communities may not have a strong sense of belonging at work and may not feel their input is heard when trying to participate in discussions,” added Reetu Bajaj, HR Advisor at ADP Canada.

“These same individuals may also perceive that they are not represented within their management team.”

Investing in D&I is a game-changer for employees – with younger hires particularly more concerned about their organization’s approach to inclusivity.

Almost half (47%) of workers aged 18-34 admitted they’d feel more loyal to their employer it if publicly took a stand on diversity.

 “There is no one-size-fits-all approach to creating, or even, sustaining a diverse and inclusive organization,” continued Wynter.

“Working towards a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace requires constant education, employee feedback and policy adjustments. Organizations need to be willing to learn and adapt.”

So, what steps should employers take to tackle this issue head on?

Well, according to Bajaj, it’s all about strategic implementation of ground-breaking policies.

“Many organizations may be wondering where to begin,” he told HRD.

“Early wins to improving diversity, equity and inclusion can include reviewing recruiting criteria and onboarding processes. Are job descriptions inclusive? Are recruiters revising their sourcing strategies targeting talent pools where diverse candidates reside in order to provide a diverse variety of candidates? Asking these questions can go a long way when working towards a more diverse culture.

“The results of the survey present a call to action for Canadian organizations to establish and communicate clear policies around diversity, equity and inclusion, and to create an inclusive environment. We encourage all Canadian organizations to consider nurturing talent and careers of employees from underrepresented groups and making sustainable changes that create a greater sense of belonging.”

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