Embracing the New Demographic

L’Oréal Canada recognizes that diversity can be a key driver of the company’s growth.

Financial Post

Successful Canadian companies have learned that a commitment to workplace cultural diversity offers more than the ability to reflect the country’s evolving demographics. A policy of diversity provides customers with confidence that a company gives employment opportunities to all Canadians.

Internally, workplace diversity allows companies to create synergies and generate new approaches to business challenges.

Diversity also benefits companies through the experiences and resources of employees who can offer unique insights into the needs, interests and preferences of all of their customers.

The importance of that insight will continue to grow. Statistics Canada projects that by 2061 the population will increase by about 400,000 per year. Only 10% of that growth is attributed to new births in this country, with the others arriving through immigration.

However, there is often a significant gap between announcing a policy of workplace diversity and achieving the goals associated with such a program.

Beauty product giant L’Oréal Canada, for example, has enjoyed the benefits of diversity by ensuring that its own program bridges the gap between setting goals and delivering results.

President and chief executive officer Javier San Juan has been steering diversity at L’Oréal Canada since he assumed his position in 2006, after nearly two decades with the Group. That career saw Mr. San Juan taking on management roles around the world for operations in Spain, France, Argentina, Romania and Russia.

“Upon my arrival in Canada, a top priority for me was to significantly diversify the demographic composition of the teams at all levels,” says Mr. San Juan. “For instance, my executive committee went from 20% to 50% women-to-men ratio, and is now comprised of six different nationalities. I am very proud today of the performance level of this diverse team.”

Mr. San Juan also gave the company’s human resources team a mandate to recruit from cultural, gender or age-diverse groups. Today, with the oversight of an HR diversity manager, L’Oréal Canada’s workforce of about 1,200 is composed of 61 different nationalities, has a 42% women-to-men ratio, and is well-balanced between Generation X, Generation Y and Baby Boomers.

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