At these Firms, Inclusion and Diversity Matters

The  2013 winners of the Canada’s Best Diversity Employers competition were announced today, recognizing the nation’s most progressive organizations in creating diverse and inclusive workplaces including Accenture and William Osler Health System.

By Diane Jerymn, The Globe and Mail

Diversity at William Osler has grown to include mental health and addiction. The premise is to think about the whole person and how that plays out in the workplace.

“The obvious ones when we started were around gender and culture – race, ethnicity, language,” says Matthew Anderson, president and CEO. “Our diversity office challenged us to think beyond that, to be more holistic about diversity and how we can support our employees and patients going forward.”

Another change Mr. Anderson observes is a shift from a series of diversity initiatives to a program. Now they set out rules and objectives each year and report on and measure their progress.

“Diversity has become so embedded within our senior leadership that it’s become a key measure that goes into deciding what projects to tackle,” Mr. Anderson says. “A diversity program can be as measurable and concrete as any other measure in your organization. There’s a real business case.”

Those diversity measures have also given Osler a boost in staff and patient satisfaction levels, thanks to staff such as Lysa Lecky, a co-ordinator with the diagnostic imaging department who’s also on the Diversity Advisory Council. Due to her and the diversity team’s efforts, hospital CT scanners are programmed in 16 languages and reference cards are created to establish that patients aren’t pregnant before undergoing certain procedures.

“Being involved in Osler’s diversity initiatives has opened my eyes to what it might be like to be ill and feel vulnerable and frightened because those caring for me may not understand my language, or my beliefs and values,” Ms. Lecky says. “A few patients have even kissed my hand to show their appreciation.”

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