Throughout the pandemic, business owners have been responding to continuous disruptions in the labour market. At the same time, a healthy talent pipeline is essential for any successful business.
In a recent Canadian Chamber of Commerce panel discussion on the ‘Future of Inclusive Economic Growth’, CWB’s CEO Chris Fowler provided insight on why it’s important to invest in attracting new employees much like you do in attracting new customers – and how being an inclusive employer should be a key part of your strategy.
With over 400,000 new Canadians moving to the country in 2021 and new immigrants today making up more than 20 per cent of our population, this presents both an incredibly rich applicant pool and the need for strong diversity and inclusion workplace practices.
Here we summarize five key takeaways to help business owners ensure diversity and inclusion are woven into how they hire, retain, and promote talent.
5 best practices for being an inclusive employer
#1: Reset your hiring tactics: Use inclusive language in job postings, and target non-conventional places where newcomers look for jobs. Many hiring managers also find it helpful to counteract unconscious bias by removing names and addresses from applications in the early stages of recruitment.
#2: Address biases: Bias is part of being human. Explore and address it through online tools and learning and development activities. And put the onus on your leaders – consider building it into their performance objectives. For example, at CWB there are mandatory learning modules for hiring managers.
#3: Create a multi-year plan: Don’t just create the plan, but make sure it’s measured and managed. Measures may include a commitment to pay transparency and equity, creating representation targets, and then building and expanding pipeline programs that eliminate bias in your organization’s systems.
#4: Listen relentlessly: Build a continuous strategy for being curious, seeking feedback, and responding and acting on suggestions at every level of the organization. This builds credibility, trust, empowerment and purpose. Go beyond your annual engagement survey and make sure you have ways of getting feedback from groups who may have an under-represented voice at senior levels.
#5: Give a sense of belonging: Create an environment to nurture and support Employee Represented Groups (ERGs). ERGs are employee-driven and connect employees with like interests and mindsets, representing any kind of unique collective or topic areas. Education is at the core of these groups, and it gets people involved very quickly. CWB currently has eight active ERGs, including CWB Global which represents CWB employees who are new to Canada, were new to Canada, or are allies to new Canadians in their community.
Bringing it all together
Inclusion is not only essential to being a good employer, but it can – and should – also play an important role in keeping your talent pipeline healthy. Ensuring that diversity and inclusion is a key thread in your employment practices requires actively addressing biases among leaders and employees, especially when it comes to hiring. Once onboarded, sustainability and growth are supported by engaging the hearts and minds of your people. This includes listening to them and giving them a sense of purpose and belonging through initiatives like Employee Represented Groups.
Want to learn more? Watch the full Canadian Chamber of Commerce panel discussion.