Recent studies indicate that Canada, despite its progressive reputation, still has progress to make to achieve true gender equality in the workplace. The pay gap between Canadian men and women remains substantial, and more than one-third of female workers report they aren’t given the tools they need to achieve success in the workplace while balancing home duties.
Even as a small business owner, you can do your part to promote equality in the workplace. It starts with your hiring practices and continues with your workplace culture. Having diverse genders and cultures represented among your workforce not only promotes fairness and equality but also offers your company benefits from a marketing perspective. Chances are, your customer base isn’t homogeneous, so your employees shouldn’t be either.
Your Hiring Practices
Promoting gender equality and a diverse workforce requires more than simply eschewing overtly discriminatory hiring practices. You have to actively recruit talented women and members of minority groups. This involves seeking them out in the places you’re most likely to find them. For example, holding hiring events at women’s networking groups in your industry puts you in front of talented and motivated women looking to advance their careers. A good business plan consultant can help you identify rich talent pools stocked with women and minority talent. Your hiring practices should strive to put together a workforce that mirrors your customer base in its gender and cultural diversity.
A diverse workforce is wasted if that diversity isn’t reflected in your company’s leadership team. There are still too many companies in Canada that relegate female and minority workers to lower-level positions; this drives a lot of the pay gap reflected in the country’s earnings data. A person’s record of employment with your company shouldn’t be impacted because of gender or minority status.
Staffing your leadership team with people from diverse backgrounds lets your employees know that anyone, regardless of background, who has valuable ideas to contribute is capable of advancing within the organization. The advantages of a diverse leadership team, however, extend beyond fairness and equality.
People from different backgrounds and different cultures invariably bring unique life experiences and ideas to the table. For a truly diverse marketplace of ideas to flourish within your company, it needs people with a broad variety of backgrounds and experiences. The easiest way to ensure this happens is to promote diversity among your company’s leaders.
Few businesses can survive without customers. To broaden your customer base, you want your business to appeal to as much of the public as possible. When you take a look at the public, the first thing you probably notice is that diversity reigns. In a diverse culture, it makes little sense to market to the public with a nondiverse workforce.
Members of minority cultures may not feel comfortable working with a business where they don’t seem to be represented, and rightly so. Your business can remedy this problem by ensuring all genders and cultures are not only represented but also highly visible within your organization.