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Diverse approaches to diversity

Diversity is high on most company's priority list, but how can HR practically improve diversity and inclusion in their organization, to ensure they are making the most of the talent available?

On the HR Director Magazine and HRM Online Round Table:
Laura Croucher
Partner and National Leader of People and Change Solutions, KPMG

Helena Gottschling
SVP Leadership & Organizational Development, RBC

David Heather
VP of Human Resources, Cisco Canada

Katrina Stevens
National Director of Human Resources, Miller Thomson LLP

For more from the HR executives see the HRD 2.1.

Video transcript below:

Laura Croucher, Partner & Leader of People & Change Solutions, KPMG
Laura Croucher:
 My name is Laura Croucher.  I am a partner at KPMG, a national leader of our people and change solutions practice and we are here with HR Director Magazine today to have a round table about HR trends that are impacting our businesses right now.  

To my right I have David Heather, the VP of HR at Cisco, Canada.  Beside David I have Katrina Stevens, National Director of HR at Miller Thomson and to my left I have Helena Gottschling, the SVP of Leadership & Organisational Development at RBC.

Katrina Stevens, National Director of Human Resources, Miller Thomson LLP
Katrina Stevens:
 The firm has a very long history with a woman’s leadership initiative and also a Diversity Committee that’s fairly mature with many sub-committees with it and so we are looking forward to not only, you know enjoying the fact that we have really integrated this thought of diversity in our work, in our strategy, it’s not something that’s an add on, a separate program, but now looking forward to you know really getting those numbers where they should be, more progress and more improvements.

Helena Gottschling, SVP, Leadership & Organisational Development, RBC
Helena Gottschling:
 For us I think it’s taking diversity to the next [centre], I think that was the question isn’t it, for us would be around unconscious bias you know when we have senior leaders interview and recruit for talent often people make a judgement within the first I don’t know, five seconds from the interview whether or not this is the person they want on their team without really understanding the skills, experiences and value that someone might be able to bring in. So unconscious bias is something that we are paying more attention to, we are doing some training around it, we have got some self assessment tools around it to really help people understand what their own personal biases might be that might be getting in the way.

David Heather, VP of Human Resources, CISCO, Canada
David Heather:  
What we are trying to move forward is to try and get them to really embrace true diversity.  So yeah kind of lot of what you are both saying is, yes it is a social, yes it is a moral imperative and absolutely we should never veer away from that, we should hold ourselves to a high standard, but equally there is a business imperative as well.  You know Canada is a very diverse country and you know if you are in a sales organisation, if you are in product development, you should get them to embrace that diversity and bring into your organisation for our own competitive benefit.  So recently we subtly changed the messaging around the new one, so never to get them all on a social imperatives, but also it is a business imperative here, this is how you can do business better.

Laura Croucher:  Certainly in our client work, I mean diversity continues to be you know, we have clients that are continuing to look and develop their approach on diversity.  So it’s my experience, it is top of mind in terms of corporate Canada and I think they are one of the challenges, one of the frontiers that I am seeing is people or organisations are now struggling with how they manage diversity, right it creates different things in the workplace that they need to be mindful about and how we all interact and what assumptions, so is this unconscious bias that you are talking about, but could be that kind of is the next frontier at least from what I am observing.