Workplace diversity in 2017
Diversity seems to be an important trend going into 2017. This year, visible minorities will make up between 19% and 23% of Canada’s population. More than 70% of the visible minority population will be immigrants.
Many major brands have been putting out advertising campaigns that better represent our current society – showing people in more varied shapes, sizes, abilities, genders, ethnicities and sexualities, and challenging accepted perceptions about what is considered the norm.
Diversity itself is not a new thing. Our past projects over the years have touched on this subject when discussing things like core company values in onboarding elearning and other training. Several of our latest projects specifically have to do with diversity in the workplace.
However, despite good intentions, it appears that most workplaces have difficulty in implementing meaningful action to increase diversity. Ironically, a value that is meant to counteract biases towards marginalized groups is itself marginalized, as diversity is often considered the least important aspect of HR, and are implemented with misguided or outdated ideas. It is also not helped by the fact that the concept of ‘diversity’ is vague and badly defined. This article published in 2015 summarizes the problem – ‘Diversity’ is Rightly Criticized As An Empty Buzzword. So How Can We Make It Work?
Actively seeking out, including, and promoting employees of different backgrounds (whether of nationality, gender identity, or work history, to name a few), requires sustained, conscious effort and awareness of unconscious biases that affect hiring practices and company culture.
This year, many companies are re-examining their existing diversity training, creating new programs, and instituting new roles specifically to address this issue.
On the elearning front, major stock photo providers Getty and Shutterstock have been working towards curating collections of images that have better representation of different groups, and moving away from stereotypical and clichéd imagery. This is great news for those of us trying to be more inclusive when developing elearning modules.
Pathways can help you create training to help your company make a real difference to your diversity practices.