How to Maximize Your Workplace Diversity: Conduct a Workforce Composition Survey


Introducing the Diversity at Work, Do-It-Yourself Workforce

Composition Survey Toolkit!

 

workforcesurvey

 

You would like to know more about your workforce, but you don’t know where to begin.

You’re intimidated by the process.

How do you make sure you ask the right questions?

How can you do this without hiring an expensive consultant?

If you have a skilled human resources team and a secure database — our D-I-Y Workplace Composition Survey Toolkit is for you.

The results will help you to determine:

If your workforce represents the community and clients you serve?

Are you meeting your Employment Equity goals?

Are you fully utilizing the education and training of your workforce?

Do your existing benefit and reward plans fit your current demographics?

What percentage of your workforce will be retiring soon?

Is your workforce representative of the community you work in?

Are you meeting your Employment Equity goals?

Are you fully utilizing the talents of your workforce?

And much more.

Testimonial from user:

“When we first started discussing a Diversity Survey, we didn’t know where to begin with questions and themes, let alone how to ensure the questions we were asking and the message we were delivering was politically correct and relevant to our employees. Evelina and Diversity at Work solved this problem for us by providing a Diversity Survey template, which we were able to modify based on our targeted outcome. This template saved us a tremendous amount of time and money, and also assured us that the survey content was respectful and aligned with our Shared Values.”

Tahlia Rimnyak, CHRP | Human Relations Coordinator
McCormick Canada

For more information and to purchase please visit:

http://www.yourdiversityatwork.com/classes/diyWorkForceSurvey.php

 

 

 

 

 

London’s Poor Diversity Score No Surprise


Written by: Evelina Silveira, President Diversity at Work

As featured in New Canadian Media
Thursday, 27 October 2016 

A recent study published by the Western University’s Centre for Research on Migration and Ethnic Relations found a severe lack of visible minorities in leadership roles in organizations in London, Ontario. 

While the study made headlines, the findings came as no surprise to me.  I have lived in London all my life, working as a diversity consultant for 10 years. I would like to offer an explanation as to why inroads have not been made in visible minority leadership in  London, Ontario.

Flashback to about 13 years ago, when I started to work on a business plan for Diversity at Work: I interviewed many leaders in London asking them whether my idea of having a business which promoted hiring and supporting diverse candidates would ever fly?

I will never forget the answer I received from a human resources consultant who had previously held many jobs in the recruitment and leadership fields.  She said:  “Evelina, as long as there are enough white people to fill the jobs, no one will ever consider anyone else, because they don’t have to.”

Essentially, she conveyed that there really was no need to change the recruitment process and that it was too much work to do so.

A late joiner

In comparison to other cities, London has lagged behind. Perhaps it is because the jobs could easily be filled as the human resources consultant suggested, or maybe we ignore the ever-growing presence of visible minorities which started in the mid-1980’s. 

Some of our largest employers and institutions have only recently developed diversity policies, later than their counterparts in other comparable cities which have a high number of visible minorities and immigrants. I often scan the diversity plans of the public service organizations in London and it would appear that the effort or the kind of approach being used – if at all – are not producing  much in terms of achieving a representative workforce, let alone diversity in leadership. 

My observations are consistent with the findings which indicate a very low level of visible minority participation, notably 5.3 per cent on agencies, boards, and commissions.  Their lack of participation at these levels can have ramifications for how services are delivered, in addition to resource allocation. 

Furthermore, there is a tendency, especially with boards, to recruit people they know, often friends and co-workers, to fill vacancies.  This can perpetuate the lack of representation and the effort to create more diversified boards and committees.

It is startling how many workplaces have not implemented the strategies and best practices that can help mitigate these gaps. How might we explain the disconnect? There is a multitude of reasons why this occurs and this is key to understanding the problem of under-representation in London’s publicly-funded organizations.

Consider these possibilities:

·         Foreign credentials and work experience are not recognized. Generally speaking, if an applicant has not graduated from a leadership program in North America or the U.K , there is a good chance their education in leadership may not be recognized.  Leadership experience from other  parts of the world may not be taken into consideration for a host of reasons, including cultural differences in how we do business and interact with employees.  

·         Effective leadership requires highly developed communication skills:  in person, in writing and over the phone.  An internationally-trained applicant is disadvantaged if they have a pronounced accent and have an indirect style of communication.  Interviewer bias can hamper heavily-accented applicants, who may be mistaken as unqualified because they speak differently.  Across cultures, there are variations in how we conduct meetings, presentations and write reports. The Canadian standards are often learned in school or through work experience.

At civic level: zero

The number of visible minorities and immigrant leaders in municipal organizations is at a glaring zero per cent! 

Given that government organizations are held to a higher standard than the private sector to have a reflective workforce, as well as to meet Employment Equity standards, this represents a failure of implementation and consequently lost opportunities for diversifying the workforce and gaining new skills and perspectives. 

With increasing job insecurity, good benefits and salaries, public service employees are not likely to leave their jobs.  Understandably, this represents fewer opportunities for external applicants to get hired. 

It would be interesting to know if the City of London has an internal mentoring program to assist aspiring leaders.  Research consistently indicates that visible minorities and immigrants find a lack of mentors in the workplace. 

Successful leaders often attest to the significance of mentors throughout their careers.  There have been some attempts over the last few years to develop internships for immigrant professionals at the City of London. However, it is hard to know if this experience translated into permanent employment with the City.

Finally, we cannot overlook bias and racism in the recruitment and selection process, although it does not probably explain the huge disconnect between the population and their representation in the workforce. In my experience, if the leadership in an organization is not familiar with the business benefits of a diverse workforce, they are very unlikely to support and initiate programs which can facilitate the entry and promotion of visible minorities within their organizations.

Evelina Silveira is the President of Diversity at Work in London, a three-time award -winning firm which specializes in creating inclusive workplaces and diverse customer bases.  She has co-authored two globally acclaimed books and is the publisher of the Inclusion Quarterly.

Political Correctness: Haven’t We Gone Too Far?


By:  Evelina Silveira, President, Diversity at Work

“Evelina, I don’t know how to say it, because I don’t want to sound bad or offend anyone but…”   “Just say it!”  I declare.   “You don’t have to be politically correct with me, if I don’t know what the problem is, I can’t help you!”  The tension automatically dissipates; and a looser more relaxed tone settles in and then the client begins to tell me an uncensored version of what is happening.

This happens regularly to me when I receive a call from a client. Usually they are stressed about a situation and they want answers but they don’t want to be judged.  They have learned they cannot criticize certain groups because they will have a label hurled at them or get slapped with a human rights complaint –-the biggest threat and silencer of all.

I am writing this article because I believe in truth and fairness. I believe in a balanced approach to diversity and workplace inclusion.  Political correctness is not always “correct” when it comes to truth and fairness.

Politically correct language is not a bad thing. I don’t want to be referred to as a “girl” “chick” or “bitch” but a woman.  Using the “right words” is positive.  It demonstrates the progress we have made in our understanding of the equality of human beings.  I like that!  Perhaps we should have left it at that.

Political correctness is responsible for:

  • Creating animosity amongst different groups and perpetuating all of the “isms” where none have existed.
  • Suppressing the truth.
  • Removing ourselves from our moral obligations to help marginalized groups.
  • Perpetuating a double-standard when it comes to acceptable  behaviour.
  • Preventing us from talking to one another.

 

How Political Correctness Creates Animosity Amongst Groups

The Christmas holidays are a prime example. I have never met a Jew or a Muslim in Canada who was “offended” by celebrating Christmas in the workplace.  Yet, each year there is a rush to plan a holiday festivity which sounds like a Christmas one – but  it isn’t supposed to be. Or the gathering is cancelled altogether because the organization has just hired a Jew or a Muslim, or any other non-Christian.  The end result: dislike for those of minority faiths and the cancellation of a celebration which would have otherwise brought employees together. In our effort to please everyone –we please no one. Instead, “well-meaning”, “religiously-sensitive”  gestures spring into micro-aggressions in the workplace where none has previously existed.

How Political Correctness Suppresses the Truth

It’s seems like it wasn’t that long ago when CBC’s Marketplace made a formal apology  for publishing inaccurate test results  about vitamin supplements.  But I am unaware of any such apology with the Fifth Estates’ problematic reporting of the incidents which lead to the death of little Aylan Kurdi.  His precious life could have been saved. Instead, they aired a report which infers that the Canadian government was responsible  for Aylan’s death since his family’s application  wasn’t approved in time to immigrate to Canada!   Around the same time, European and Turkish papers had reported about Aylan’s father’s disregard for his own son’s life (did not give him a life jacket but wore one himself) and that he was actually a human smuggler who was trying to get to Germany to get the State to pay for very expensive dental work. And to make matters worse, Aylan  wasn’t the only member of his family who perished as a result of his father’s negligence it was also his mother and siblings. The last I read his father was going to prison.  I don’t recall a correction notice on the Fifth Estate or any other media sources for that matter. It’s not politically correct and it certainly wouldn’t fit in with Liberal politics.

Canadians have been led to believe that we are saving thousands of people from Syrian refugee camps, but sadly we are not. According to the April 13, 2016 edition of Hill Times confirms that “very few are coming from refugee camps”.  Rushing to bring in thousands of people into the country without a good plan and then saying we are saving lives is deceptive. Stop leading Canadians to believe that we are helping more people than we actually are  — we are not!

My friends from former communist countries have noted that the CBC is no different than the propaganda they had to put up with back in their country of origin. It seems that our media on the whole has a disdain for simultaneously broadcasting opposing points of view.  There’s a name for that:  media bias.

Internationally and at home, journalists, police officers, and government officials are not allowed to report what is going on because they are afraid of an uprising and backlash against refugees and migrants. Since when is censorship a part of living in a democratic country?  I ask myself: What must it be like to be a muzzled journalist these days?

Yet the sexual abuse of children at the hands of Catholic priests seems to be okay to broadcast around the world. Christian-bashing has becoming so acceptable in our modern society that we hardly notice it.  Rarely do you ever hear anyone sticking up for Christians. So who makes the decision of what truths can be disclosed and which will be suppressed? Political correctness does.

Political correctness slaps a “xenophobe” or “racist” label whenever you disagree with a leftist mentality. Very strong words, improperly used when citizens start asking questions about the politics of their country.  I would argue by using these words so regularly  actually takes away from the experiences of those who truly live them each day.

How Political Correctness Removes Us From Our Moral Responsibility

Where are the voices of Western feminists when it comes to advocating for the rights of women globally?   In some ways, today’s feminists haven’t evolved much from the 1960’s.  Female genital mutilation, child marriage and honour killings are off-bounds.  I would encourage any feminist who thinks it is culturally insensitive to challenge the violent practices of other cultures to meet the women who have endured them.  In my work with immigrant women, I have met those who have suffered these horrendous, traumatic practices and who have been marred physically and psychologically for the rest of their lives.  If we don’t try to help our sisters globally we are making the statement that their lives are less valuable.  Is the life of a Yemenite, Sudanese, Indian girl or other any less than a Western life?  Of course not. It is not racist to advocate for the rights of people who are often voiceless. It is the right thing to do!

How Political Correctness Makes Us Accept Intolerable Behaviour 

When we accept poor work performance or belligerent behaviour from a person of a designated group we are being unjust.   We are telling  ourselves that we cannot expect better behaviour because of “x” number of reasons and consequently we reduce them to a lower level of expectations. Translation:  we don’t feel they can attain our standards.  Isn’t this kind of like the “racism of lower expectations”?

What would happen if you walked naked down the street? There is a good chance the police would be called and you would be arrested for violating the public decency laws.  Most people I say don’t really care if there is a Pride Parade, but they do care if there is nudity involved.  Why do the Toronto police turn a blind eye to nudity at the Pride Parade when it is unlawful?  Since when does one group of people get to break the law without consequence and others can’t?  No one can argue that the LGBT community has a lot to celebrate and they have had a long history of oppression but that does not give them the right to be naked on the street.  One law for everyone, please! No exceptions.

Political Correctness Prevents Us From Talking To One Another

Many years ago, I had a wonderful opportunity to bring Jewish and Arab-Muslim women together for a dialogue group. These forward-thinking women through mutual learning wanted to “create a pocket of peace” in the city they lived in, by reducing hate and stereotypes.  It was one of the most difficult and rewarding groups I have ever facilitated as it  was so emotionally charged.  At the outset, these women denounced “terminal politeness”.  We all understood what it meant:  no phoniness and no political correctness.   Consequently, these women spent many weeks together, shared meals and prayers of peace.  As the facilitator, I can recount how the women expressed similar feelings about the impact on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  It was interesting to know how each group felt the newspapers were biased against them.  Did long-lasting friendships happen?  Not really, but respect did.  These were bold woman who were willing to ask and speak without judgment and fear and consequently they got the answers they were seeking.  This wouldn’t have happened if they had been politically correct.

What can we do as individuals?

1. Accept diversity of opinion. With embracing diversity comes the expectation of accepting  differences of opinion, even when it doesn’t suit you. . You cannot have one without the other.

2. Don’t accept one truth only. There are different sides to every story. Challenge bias when you see it. Whether it’s the media,  the authors of your children’s textbooks, or institutions and even yourself.

3.  Stop the silence and take a chance and speak out against political correctness.  I can guarantee that you’ll be a hero.  You won’t be alone.

 

Coaching New Canadians in Soft Skills: How do you do it?


Evelina Silveira, President, Diversity at Work in London Inc.

I am pleased to announce an upcoming workshop that I will be doing in London, Ontario on May 29th. It combines what I have learned over the years in: international education, coaching and mentoring New Canadians in the workplace and working directly with employers regarding their integration. If you are interested in learning how to optimize and retain immigrant talent, this workshop is for you. If you cannot make the workshop in London, we are happy to deliver it to your workplace or community. We travel anywhere, just ask.   For full details, visit our website at http://www.yourdiversityatwork.com/workshops/.

coaching

Five Easy Actions for a More Inclusive Workplace


Evelina Silveira, President, Diversity at Work  co-author  No-Nonsense Guide to Workplace Inclusion

Workplace inclusion can seem like an elusive goal. Does it really have to be that way? Whether you have a strategy in place, or take small steps with bolder ones along the way—it will pay off! Here are a few ideas, they don’t take a lot of effort and best of all you can start them today!

1. Add a voluntary self-identification check box in your application process.

Who’s applying? Who is not? Self-identification will provide you with vital statistics for human resources planning. Case in point: if you start to see a pattern that only men are applying for a job, barriers could exist for women. This is worth investigating. Organizations are increasingly expected to reflect the communities they serve. Voluntary self-identification is one way of obtaining this information from the front end. Be sure to outline why you are requesting the information and how it will be used.

2. Add a diversity and inclusion section to each of your staff /leadership meetings.

Injecting awareness and instructional information into your workplace on a regular basis is a significant reminder, diversity and inclusion is an integral part of your operations. It is not an add-on but just as crucial as health and safety awareness.

3. Ask your generation Y (Millennials) for their opinion.

Seems strange? Not really! They are dying to hear from you. These workers have had diversity as a natural part of their landscape. They have expertise and want to be acknowledged for their opinions. Find out what they think you could do to make the workplace better and ask them to help out with building a strategy.

4. Thank an employee.

Each week send a handwritten thank you note to an employee recognizing their work. How long does it take? The busiest person on the planet has two minutes to thank an employee. Isn’t a good employee worth the time? Your recognition will go a long way with boosting morale.
5. Inform all staff about professional development and promotional opportunities.

You are probably thinking we do that already so what’s the big deal? Consistently, research points to the fact that visible minorities, women and immigrants are often left out of the loop when it comes to growing and developing in the organization. Workplace equity begins with giving everyone the same information and organizational opportunities.

Motivated to learn more about workplace inclusion? The No-Nonsense Guide to Workplace Inclusion can show you how to do it. Endorsed by business management schools and diversity practitioners, it’s all you really need.  Visit http://www.yourdiversityatwork.com/ebook/  to preview and purchase.

Stand Up Against the “B” Word


ImageSo it is summer, and things have slowed down and now I have time to do things like watch television.  It seems like it has been awhile since I have watched so much television, but I am going to put a halt to it very soon.   I cannot believe what I am seeing!  Has the world become so numb and accepting of the violence against women in TV?  Reality television has stooped to the lowest level when a bunch of women are vying for a bachelor? Roma women are punching each other and slapping the face of a pregnant woman?  Vancouver beauties fight over who has more filler or botox? And on top of that the “Bitch” word and “Slut” word gets furiously hurled around like it was nothing, even in daytime programming which was once supposed to have higher decency standards!

Since when did it become acceptable and common place to call women female dogs?  I don’t care if some women have reclaimed this word as their own.  The connotation is still negative.  We are ascribing half of the world’s population to the status of an animal.  Why are anti-racist activists so good at challenging the use of derogatory and racist words and women are not?  Is it that women are unsuccessful with challenging it, or are their calls not being heard? When was the last time you saw the “N” word written if full?  You probably haven’t.  The “N” word has become so repugnant in our vocabulary that the mere sight of it, makes a lot of people enraged.  It’s meaning heralds back to a time of slavery, inequality, and the inferior role that black people had in our society.

I wish that we could do the same with the “B” word or the “S” word and others  What will it take for us to see that calling women these words is repugnant as well? It seems that we haven’t really progressed that much. By using these words, we show that we are backward and that women have not reached the same equal status as men in our society.  We still judge them on their submission, passivity, and on their sexual history.

Let’s challenge one another when we use these words against women.  One by one we can make these misogynistic words cast outs from our vernacular.  It is going to take some time but  high time that women enjoyed equal status in this society, don’t you think?

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