Talent Canada
Talent Canada

Columns/Blogs Diversity & Inclusion Managing/Leadership
Inclusive workplaces are key in attracting top talent

July 12, 2022
By Jennifer Taylor

(Rawpixel.com/Adobe Stock)

In today’s competitive labour market, an inclusive workplace is a key differentiator when candidates are deciding where they want to work. Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are no longer a nice to have, but a must-have. In fact, a survey conducted by Glassdoor found that more than three-in-four employees and job seekers (76 per cent) report a diverse workforce as an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers. Employers need to be ready to answer: Is your workplace truly inclusive?

The world is evolving, and so must our work culture

When it comes to the evolution of work, employees want to work for organizations that have values that align with their own. Employers should view this as an opportunity to rise to the occasion and recalibrate their workplaces, which includes ensuring inclusive leadership, which will result in attracting and retaining talent. Workplaces that evolve to support social changes and expectations will set their employees – and ultimately the entire business – up for success.

Social change has been driving meaningful conversations and change around DEI in workplaces across Canada. According to a recent Mercer study, 70 per cent of Canadian employers are focused on making their workplaces more inclusive, while 30 per cent have a multi-year DEI strategy.

Being your true self at work creates a better work environment

We all benefit from workplaces where we are comfortable bringing our true selves to work and can feel like we belong, thus contributing to inclusive growth. The evidence supporting the need for inclusive workplaces is strong. For instance, a study from McGill University found that when employees are able to be authentic at work, they are more satisfied, less likely to experience depressive symptoms, and, overall, the organization is poised to leverage more creative ideas and diversity of thought. Employees thrive when their individuality is embraced and encouraged. The fact is an inclusive work culture goes beyond just retaining talent, it also improves our overall life experience.


Modernizing employee benefits offerings to be more inclusive

One way to build an inclusive workplace is through employee benefits offerings. If you don’t think benefits are enough to sway an employee – think again. According to an Ipsos poll, more than two thirds (68 per cent) of Canadians say they would take a job with a good benefits plan over another job that pays more but does not offer benefits.

Benefits offerings must continue to evolve to be as inclusive and accessible as possible. For instance, at Medavie Blue Cross, we’ve added a Gender Affirmation Benefit to enable increased access and financial support for plan members throughout the gender transitioning journey.

According to Statistics Canada, approximately 75,000 Canadians, aged 15 and older, were trans or non-binary. Some experience gender dysphoria, which is described as distress resulting from a difference between a person’s gender identity and the person’s assigned sex, associated gender role, and/or primary and secondary sex characteristics. Surgical options can ease their gender dysphoria and improve their quality of life.

We also need to ensure accessing benefits is inclusive and accessible to everyone. For instance, updating business forms, client communication and our systems to use inclusive language, and adopting the use of gender-neutral language.

The road ahead

We are all learning as we advance our journey towards a more inclusive workplace. We will continue to learn through this process and adjust as needed. To build an inclusive workplace – and one that will attract and retain talent – DEI must be embedded in everything an organization does. From offering inclusive benefits to using more inclusive language, to investing in community-based initiatives – employers must continue to take real action to build inclusive workplaces. Our present and future workforces depend on it.

Jennifer Taylor, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Medavie, leads the execution of the organizations’ DEI Strategy. Jennifer works in close collaboration across the business on the development, implementation, promotion and evaluation of DEI initiatives, while monitoring emerging trends to influence future initiatives across the organization. 

Print this page


Stories continue below