The beneficial effects of a diverse and inclusive workforce have been well-documented. Studies have repeatedly linked diversity and inclusion in the workplace to higher job satisfaction and better performance. Where an employer is able to cultivate this environment, it may result in a competitive advantage.
Cultivating a diverse workforce begins with the recruitment process. Managers in charge of making such decisions should be aware of any biases that may preclude them from identifying strong candidates. Biases may be unconscious, which include associations or feelings that are based on previous experiences or feelings. These biases may not align with a manager’s conscious beliefs or attitudes, however, they may nevertheless have a significant influence on decision making.
It is therefore important for hiring managers to constantly question and update systems for identifying and recruiting candidates. Use of objective data and input from several stakeholders will assist mitigate or eliminate the effect of unconscious biases.
Any decision to promote an employee provides a clear signal to the workforce regarding the employer’s desires. Accordingly, these decisions should not be made without due consideration.
When making a decision to promote an employee, both objective criteria and subjective assessments of an employee’s performance should be considered. The objective criteria that will be considered should be clearly communicated to employees and subjective assessments should be sought from as many stakeholders as possible. It is also important to consider providing employees with formal and informal feedback to develop a culture of constant learning and professional development.
Although British Columbia does not presently have pay-equity legislation, employees nevertheless may have recourse before the Human Rights Tribunal to address disparities in compensation.
In order to mitigate the risk of any complaint for discrimination based on pay, employers may wish to constantly review and update their compensation policies. Transparency with respect to compensation may also further motivate employees as it is a clear acknowledgment of the value that the employee provides to the organization.
Other means of fostering diversity in the workplace include acknowledgment and celebration of holidays of all employee’s cultures, creating workspaces which encourage collusion and interaction amongst employees of various backgrounds and facilitating ongoing feedback from employees.
If you have questions regarding equity, diversity and inclusion in the workplace, we invite you to contact one of our lawyers.