Pride 2019: building an inclusive workplace

This summer, communities across Nova Scotia are taking part in Pride week festivities. It’s an opportunity to show support for the 2SLGBTQ+ community, and to raise awareness of the progress that has been made and the work that still needs to be done to ensure equal rights and representation for people of all sexual and gender identities.

As a company, we’re a proud sponsor of the Halifax Pride Festival. We’re celebrating by flying the Pride flag at facilities across the province—and over 80 employees have volunteered to march with us in the Pride parade.

Demonstrating our support matters. But being an inclusive and diverse company and workplace is about more than that. It’s about hard work and action. It’s about listening and not being afraid to make real change when it comes to how we do things.

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It’s why we asked Carol Dayment (pictured above left), our Diversity and Inclusion lead to share her thoughts on our blog today. We asked her to go a little deeper on what it means to build an inclusive workplace.

 

Building a Foundation

“My role starts with enabling conversation about diversity and inclusion. Because before change can happen, there needs to be a foundation of education and understanding.

“Diverse perspectives put us in a better place to be creative, solve problems, and understand our customers—and it’s our job to harness the power of every unique employee. Every person who shows up here deserves to feel supported, included and heard in order to do their best work.”

 

Making Real Progress

“Building a culture of inclusion and diversity doesn’t happen overnight. It must be driven by leadership, but employees make it happen.

“In 2017, we invited employees to join our Diversity and Inclusion network, and together we created our diversity and inclusion strategy. This has meant setting measurable goals, identifying concrete actions, and holding ourselves accountable by tracking our progress.

“This isn’t a plan that will collect dust on a shelf. There are now 90 employees in our Diversity and Inclusion network that play an active role in creating and delivering on our plans. These aren’t just employees who expressed support—they’ve stood up and asked, ‘How can we help?’. In the last year, we’ve led diversity, inclusion and unconscious bias training across all levels of the business, held a series of events that celebrate our diverse communities, and communicated our goals and priorities to employees across the company.”

 

Celebrating Pride

“With Pride week coming up in Halifax, I’ve been thinking a lot about the progress we’ve made as a country. I used to hear that we need to tolerate difference—and now, we’re focused on valuing it. That’s a huge shift.

“It feels wonderful to celebrate as a member of the 2SLGBTQ+ community, and I recognize that there have been so many people who have risked so much so that we can do that.

“And although we’ve made enormous strides when it comes to equality and inclusion, in 2019, it can still be emotionally and physically dangerous to be who you are. When you’re talking about that level of vulnerability, as an employer, we must be aware of the issues and clearly communicate what we stand for.

At the end of the day, we all want and are entitled to the same things when we come to work—to feel valued, safe and respected.”

 

Final Thoughts

“If I had to give advice about building a diverse and inclusive workplace, it would be to include employees from all groups and diverse backgrounds in the conversation. It’s so important to incorporate all voices, ideas and perspectives in the process.

“This year at Nova Scotia Power, I hope to have more conversations with our 2SLGBTQ+ employees about how we can make the business more inclusive. We’ve got more work to do, but every day we move forward—and I’m so proud of that.”


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