Situation: A large transportation company comprised of about five hundred drivers and three hundred other employees wanted to develop a strategy on diversity and inclusion. They had been hiring more diverse drivers and staff in recent years. Even though the company had standard HR policies, it did not have any policies on diversity, accommodation nor ways to find out which challenges in employees’ relationships were due to cultural misunderstanding.
What we did: The Centre for Race and Culture (CRC) was retained and conducted a needs analysis with the Human Resources team where it was determined that the company had not successfully welcomed new employees; there was little cross cultural interaction between employees; there were accommodation needs that were not being addressed and some managers were not interested in exploring diversity issues.
The company asked CRC to offer one full-day of training to the senior leadership team, managers and other key personnel in leadership roles. It was determined that a great place to start was with this group of people as they make decisions on a daily basis that affect employees and the company. The goal of the training was that participants would:
- understand the benefits of having a diverse workplace
- develop tools to deal with cultural differences
- learn about the pivotal role that culture plays in the workplace and its many benefits when effectively managed.
Benefits of the Process: The company had never had this type of training before. After the training, several people said that holding a workshop on diversity was a great achievement in and of itself. The company revamped its orientation process and hired a retention specialist whose job involved diversity initiatives. The company also became aware that to truly achieve success in this area, the organization needed to understand the ongoing nature of this work. The HR manager was given additional responsibility and she believed the diversity and inclusion initiative helped to make that happen.