Diverse, inclusive organizations perform with higher creativity and innovation, have higher employee engagement and stronger financial bottom lines, which is just part of why building a people-first culture is at the heart of our story.
Every two years we send out an engagement survey to our employees, and last year's findings showed a strong desire to review Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) practices throughout the company. As a result, DEI was formally identified as a company priority.
“Leading our company with a better understanding of employee perceptions and experiences better enables us to foster human connections in the workplace – and with clients, residents, partners and the community at large,” says Aran Clarke, Concert Properties’ Vice President, People Experience. “We are committed to ensuring our policies, procedures, and practices are inclusive and encourage a supportive workplace culture.”
Led by our People Experience team and championed by the Senior Executive Team, the DEI Strategy has been promoted throughout the company to ensure that our workforce reflects and represents the communities in which we live and work. Through this lens, we’ve made some impactful changes to set up our DEI strategy for years to come.
With a commitment to providing a workplace culture where all employees experience respect and dignity, we continue to implement strategies to remove barriers and create a professional, healthy and safe environment. From the outset of the year all policies, procedures and recruitment practices were reviewed, using the DEI lens, and revised as necessary.
Notably, the Respectful Workplace policy was modernized and reintroduced. The updated policy is an important part of our vision to prioritize a healthy and safe workplace that operates with respect and inclusion; reduces conflict, stress, mental health challenges and absenteeism; and improves collaboration, creativity, innovation, morale and engagement.
This policy came with in-depth training on topics surrounding a respectful workplace environment, including how to identify common micro-aggressions, understanding the difference between intent and the impact of our actions, and how to engage in an appropriate process of reporting and conflict resolution.
But the reality is that there are also often unintended or invisible barriers to full inclusion that exist within organizations. To address this, we rolled out a variety of training programs for employees, with some targeted to people-leaders specifically.
This included in-depth training on gender diversity and pronoun use, with the invitation to staff to voluntarily add their pronouns to their email signatures, as well as continued access to learning resources around Indigenous reconciliation and experiential learning activities such as Indigenous-led tours.
“By identifying those barriers and removing them,” continues Aran, “we can fully embrace the benefits of a welcoming, diverse, and inclusive workplace culture.”