Canada’s diversity, inclusion could win the war for global talent
2017/02/02 Leave a comment
The business case for diversity by John Montalbano, recently retired vice-chairman of RBC Wealth Management and how Canadian firms should take advantage of the ‘Canadian advantage’ in the era of Trump:
Before my retirement in December, I hosted a steady stream of women and visible minorities bewildered by the events south of our border. Their commonly held fear was that the unhealthy discourse of the election, and its outcome, would make it okay for unconscious (discriminatory) biases to become conscious biases within the workplace. Or, at the very least, allow unconscious biases to be reinforced. This uncertainty and dismay deserves to be addressed by our business leaders, even though the genesis of these fears took place outside of our country.
Corporate leaders who believe that their organizations have a culture that supports meritocracy in the workplace should acknowledge the concerns that have arisen among those who fear the repercussions of recent events. All employees want to hear that their CEO is sensitive to the presently heightened concerns of women, visible minorities, LBGT communities and those with physical challenges. It is the time to be vocal about your commitment to robust diversity practices.
Where gaps exist in a company’s diversity initiatives, this is the perfect time to review and introduce key action items, such as: pay equity (merit and experience should be the key differentiators); diversity targets for board appointments, external recruitment and internal promotions (or similarly a commitment to principles consistent with those introduced by Catalyst Canada, an advocacy organization dedicated to progress for women through workplace inclusion); mentorship programs aimed at building experience and exposure for high performers in mid-management positions where diversity pools are generally deep; campus recruitment programs that reflect local demographics and that of the emerging work force; removal of the stigma of paternity leave, and synchronization of maternity benefits in the United States to those offered in Canada; and introduction of mandatory programs for all senior executives, addressing conscious and unconscious biases.
The war for talent rages and the time is now for our CEOs to boldly declare an unwavering commitment to diversity and inclusion. “Brand Canada” is our recruiting advantage. Use it to full affect, without apology.