Inclusive Canada: HR's biggest mistake with belonging

Remember, a policy alone will not affect change

Inclusive Canada: HR's biggest mistake with belonging

For years, Canada has been known as one of the most welcoming and inclusive countries in the world – but it wasn’t always so. The discovery of mass graves of Indigenous children in the residential school system led to public outcry, with many demanding immediate change and reconciliation. These and other social movements had a palpable impact on our nation – with more and more employees gravitating towards companies with meaningful diversity programs. It may seem like there’s a lot of work ahead, but for organizations looking to create a more inclusive workplace right away, there are simple actions that can be implemented now.

HRD spoke to Tamisha Parris, founder of Parris Consulting and contributor at UKG’s upcoming webinar Inclusive Canada: Simple steps to create a workplace culture where everyone feels they belong. Parris explained how leaders can set themselves up to become models of inclusivity and revealed the biggest mistake HRs makes when it comes to fostering a culture of belonging.

“The first step is always awareness,” Parris told HRD. “By this, I mean being aware of what those inclusive behaviours are, and then modelling those behaviours for your team. The most important attribute has to be humility. We are all on this journey together – and we’re all learning as we go. There will be times where we will make mistakes or make decisions that weren't the best ones in hindsight. Just remember to be open and curious, making sure that we’re being accountable for our actions and teaching others to be accountable for theirs.”

Sounds simple enough, right? Well, you’d be surprised just how many mistakes employers make when it comes to the execution of inclusion initiatives. For example, recent research from Gallup found that while 55% of companies claim to have comprehensive D&I policies in place, 45% of employees say they’ve experienced discrimination and harassment over the past year. This startling disconnect seems to suggest that while leaders are keen to buy into inclusivity programs, they’re failing to implement them properly. This, as Parris told HRD, is just one of the biggest mistakes that leaders are making. A policy alone will not affect change.

“Treat others as you wish to be treated – that’s the principle we’re encouraged to follow.” Parris told HRD. “That’s all well and good, but when it comes to inclusion, it’s important not to be clouded by personal opinions. That’s the biggest mistake I’ve seen leaders make. It’s not about what you want – or what you think would be good for you. It’s about your team. Observe your people – ask them what they’d like to see done. Often we, as leaders, are afraid to ask some of those questions. Leaders can be nervous about speaking up out of fear of doing the wrong thing, saying the wrong thing, or not correctly handling things. Therefore, we end up doing nothing; we become complacent, bystanders – which is not a good position to be in.”

To hear more on simple ways you can create a more inclusive workplace today, register to UKG’s free webinar or (or the on-demand recording) here.

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