Diversity at Work: Creating an inclusive and supportive work environment

Diversity at Work: Creating an inclusive and supportive work environment in the HR Council of Canada library. Another toolkit for embracing diversity in the workplace.


Ideas for embracing diversity in the workplace

  • Learn about the cultural backgrounds, lives and interests of employees outside of the workplace. Building relationships through increased understanding and trust helps to foster inclusion
  • Include opportunities for staff to interact in settings outside of work so that employees feel more comfortable. Be creative, flexible and look for new ways of doing things
  • Ensure all employees have the opportunity to take part in decision-making and planning for social activities
  • Organize collective meals where employees can learn about one another’s cultures by sharing food
  • Be aware of, and provide time off for, culturally significant events and holy days. Consider offering a float day for employees to use at their discretion to observe such events or days
  • Recognize and acknowledge special days and events such as International Day of Persons with Disabilities (Dec 3), International Day to End Racism, Gay Pride celebrations, etc.
  • Create Intranet-based multicultural calendars to avoid scheduling important meetings on major cultural holidays
  • Permit flexible schedules so that employees who observe religious practices can arrange their schedules around their beliefs
  • Acknowledge all faiths present in your workplace

Guidelines for creating a GLBTTQ inclusive workplace culture

Tips for creating a GLBTTQ inclusive environment

  • Don’t assume everyone is heterosexual
  • If specific significant days or events are highlighted for other employees, annual Gay Pride celebrations (usually held during the month of June) should be similarly marked
  • Acknowledge the relationships of staff equally by ensuring that anniversaries, births and marriages/union ceremonies are celebrated in the same way
  • Use the term ‘partners’ when inviting spouses to social activities. This is a more inclusive and non gender-specific term, and includes same-sex couples
  • Never reveal a GLBTTQ person’s sexual orientation or gender identity without permission
  • In training or information sessions for employees or managers, use concrete examples of situations that pertain to GLBTTQ persons (e.g., when addressing legal issues related to financial matters of opposite-sex couples in a pre-retirement course, discuss those that apply to same-sex couples as well)


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