Our workforces are becoming
more diverse. We have more
ethnic and cultural diversity, we
have more people with disabilities,
we have four different generations,
we have different sexual orientations
and gender identities and we have a
workforce that is nearly half women.
However, many of our HR systems and
processes were designed back when we
had a relatively homogenous workforce. A
big change is needed, and inclusion must
become a number one priority for HR.
Aon Hewitt’s annual Best Employers in
Canada study shows that in 2015, the
average engagement rate of Canadian employees
is 65 per cent. This means that 35
per cent of the workforce is disengaged.
According to a 2010 Hewitt study, every
disengaged employee costs your organization
roughly $10,000 per year.
But what causes disengagement?
Some of the most common reasons: being
treated unfairly; not being given equal
opportunities for advancement, development
or pay; being subjected to ridicule,
harassment or discrimination; or being ostracized
Build a culture of inclusion, and you will
address all of these problems. Inclusion
will drive engagement.
THE FUTURE OF HR IS INCLUSION
BECAUSE EMPLOYEES WANT TO
FEEL THAT THEY WORK FOR A FAIR
AND INCLUSIVE EMPLOYER. THEY
WANT TO FEEL LIKE THEY BELONG
AND THEY’RE NOT GOING TO BE
DISADVANTAGED BECAUSE OF ANY
ASPECT OF THEIR IDENTITY.
It is the job of every HR professional to
ensure that employees feel engaged and included.
Yet we know that in many of our
organizations, not all employees feel that way.
DIFFERENT APPROACHES TO
We already know that people from different
generations have vastly different views
on work and career. We have a tendency
to label or blame those who have a different
approach than us. However, we need
to recognize that we are all products of the
generation and context we were raised in.
As an example, a man now in his senior
years worked for one company for
38 years and then retired with a nice pension.
In contrast, his daughter has been
laid off twice in the past 12 years, something
she has in common with many of her
peers. Her father’s career path is simply
not available to her, which affects how she
approaches her relationship with any organization
she works for. It most certainly
is different than how her father viewed his
The situation is even more pronounced
for young people entering the workforce
today. We like to criticize millennials for
being “disloyal” or for “job hopping.” The
truth is, they do what they have to do.
As young people, they struggle with high
unemployment. According to Statistics
Canada, the youth unemployment rate in
Ontario is 12.9 per cent as of June 2015.
Furthermore, millennials enter the workforce
with crippling student loan debt.
Tuition fees in Ontario have increased a
whopping 370 per cent in the last 10 years.
Additionally, permanent jobs with benefits
are increasingly hard to find. A report
from CIBC Economics released in March
2015 indicated that Canadian employment
quality is at a 25-year low. That means more
people are working part-time or contract
jobs instead of having full-time permanent
jobs with benefits, more people are self-employed
instead of having secure employment
and more people are in low-wage jobs than at
any other time in the last 25 years.
Imagine you were just starting in your
career right now, faced with the worst employment
quality in 25 years, high student
loan debt, high unemployment for people
like you and a lack of good-paying permanent
jobs with benefits, and imagine how
that would affect your approach to employers
and the employment deal.
It’s not just generational. We have more
people with disabilities in our workforces,
and studies of employee engagement
show they are consistently less engaged
than other employees. Why? In large part
because they are not being treated fairly,
and in part because they are not included.
They are too often seen as a burden, a
problem to deal with, rather than an asset
and contributing member of the team. The
HRPATODAY.CA ❚ SEPTEMBER 2015 ❚ 21