Make Workplace Diversity and Inclusion A Priority

Making a difference and solving societal problems of our time are tenets shared across our charitable sector. These principles are woven into the tapestry of our collective work, yet we have much more to do to create diverse and inclusive workplaces. I admit it’s not easy, however I believe the Canadian charitable sector can set an example for our global community in creating a more respectful and welcoming work environment for all.

With over 1.3 million people working in over 89,000 charitable and nonprofit organizations in Canada, the sector is a dynamic and caring place to work with a reach well beyond its local and national borders. Imagine the collective power of positive change that could ripple globally if all Canadian charities made workplace diversity and inclusion a greater priority.

Below are 7 suggested steps your organization can take to create a more diverse and inclusive workplace:

  1. Establish a working group or standing committee to review current policy and practice for your organization. Engaging a diverse group of employees, board members, donors and external partners or experts who are committed to the work can guide your organization’s transformation.
  2. Review and update your employee policies, handbook and hiring practices. Look to external resources, like the HR CouncilCanadian Human Rights Commission and your provincial government to develop or update policy. On a cautionary note, particular attention should be given to your employer duty to accommodate an employee in the workplace and with local legislation and employment standards.
  3. Establish an anti-bullying policy and training program. Check out the resource: Working with a Bully
  4. Raise a LGBTQ flag when conducting employee positive space training. Check out: Positive Spaces
  5. Welcome our aboriginal citizens to participate equally. Check out: Aboriginal HR
  6. Hold monthly employee and volunteer themed lunch and learn events promoting diversity and inclusion. Include the recognition of all religious holidays, heritage education months, current affairs and successes. Attendees can share their stories and exchange ideas and perspectives.
  7. Ensure your brand messaging and organization’s marketing and communications activities reflect your commitment to workplace diversity and inclusion. In our world of integrated digital marketing and social media traditional geographic boundaries have been erased and your potential audience is as far-reaching at the internet. Check out: Canadian Marketing Association resources.

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