Top 4 drivers of Workplace Inclusion

Focus Area — Inclusion


Part two of our inclusion and diversity blog series, to read part one please click here.

A change in attitude (and evidence) is brewing. Organizations are starting to realize that building a diverse and inclusive workplace is no longer a nice to have – it’s a critical business imperative. Here is a snapshot of four main drivers behind this new thinking.

1) Aging population and the need to fill skills shortages

With an aging population, the demand for workers to replace retirees will only continue to increase in Canada. By 2035, those 65 and older will represent nearly a quarter of the total population. This demographic change is pushing employers to look outside of their traditional talent pools to consider under-used groups to address labour shortages and fill critical skills gaps.

2) Under-accessed talent groups

Women, immigrants, people with disabilities and Indigenous people are groups of under-represented workers that have the potential to help fill the gaps in Canada’s shrinking labour pool. Research shows that homogeneity at the top of organizations can create a behavioural barrier to both diversity and inclusion at all levels. Organizations must be more deliberate in their efforts to hire, retain and promote people from these diversity groups, especially at the leadership level.

3) Meeting regulatory compliance

Legislation requires many Canadian organizations to track the diversity of their workforce and/or report on how they address barriers and provide accommodation. Organizations that report know exactly how diverse their current workforces are—or are not. Businesses need to step up unless they wish to see regulatory bodies take further legislative action to drive greater impact and change on inclusion and diversity efforts.

4) Understanding the competitive advantages of a diverse workforce

There is a strong business case for the benefits of a diverse workforce, supported by a growing body of evidence. Ethnic and cultural diversity has been associated with increased revenue and productivity. There is a strong correlation between corporate financial performance and women’s representation on boards. Organizations that hire persons with disabilities have shown improvements in profitability and competitive advantage.

Diversity and inclusion will] allow us to recruit from a larger pool of qualified individuals. [This] will improve employee development and retention, thus increasing innovation, productivity, and employee engagement. Having more diverse voices will in turn attract new customers.” – Survey respondent (Measuring Up report)

What is driving your organization to integrate inclusion and diversity as part of its overall strategy? While laws and demographics are powerful drivers toward change, it’s the positive impacts of a more diverse workforce that are driving new organizational practices. Recruiting a diverse workforce and then retaining those workers within an inclusive environment offers organizations a classic win-win situation.

Acknowledging that diversity alone is not enough, The Conference Board of Canada is hosting an Inclusive Workplaces Conference to build on this discussion to explore ways in which organizations can empower the diversity of their workforce through an inclusive culture. Connect, learn, and share as we shift from responding to the drivers of diversity and become champions and leaders of inclusive cultures.

Amanda Daoust

Network Manager 

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  Conference—December 4