Fidelity Canada was recognized for its comprehensive diversity program at Benefits Canada’s 2017 Workplace Benefits Awards last week.

In 2012, the company established five Canadian employee resource groups, which are made up of self-organized teams. “We’re really proud of the work that our groups are doing because they’re driving us to make the change and they’re educating us,” said Diana Godfrey, vice-president of human resources, as she accepted the award at the Arcadian Court in Toronto on Oct. 12.

“And I think that’s the best way to do it, when employees are included and they help us understand what we’re missing. I’m proud to be a part of an organization that wants to listen to its employees.”

Read: Employers must do more to build diverse, inclusive workforces: report

Fidelity Canada’s employee resource groups host a number of events throughout the year, including: the Pride group’s pink shirt bake sale to raise money on anti-bullying day; the Asian group’s annual lunar new year networking lunch; and a Jane Bond martini mixer in celebration of women’s history month by the women’s leadership group.

The company also ties many of its diversity events into its role as a financial services firm. For instance, members of its Latino and Black resource group volunteer to teach financial literacy, such as money management strategies, to Toronto middle school students.

The groups are also encouraged to be inclusive of one another, says Godfrey, noting when they were first established they were quite separate but many groups now host events together. “They themselves have become more inclusive. The level of acceptance has gone up tremendously. I can’t put a number on it because it’s not something you can measure, but I can see it by the way people behave and the way they act.”

Read: Enbridge, RBC among employers recognized for focus on diversity, inclusion

Fidelity Canada piloted a new employee resource group in 2016 called ENABLE, which focuses on lending a strong voice to people with varying abilities. The group collaborated with the human resources team to launch the company’s Not Myself Today program.

And this month, the organization is giving each of its employee resource groups $5,000 to donate to a charity of their choice. It’s a way to recognize that these groups are making a difference both internally and externally in their communities, says Godfrey. “They’re making sure that people have communities and support within the organization. But they’re also taking our work outside and their efforts are being recognized in a way that is very meaningful to them, because I will say, the one thing that our employees like to do is give back.”

Read: Canadians want volunteering opportunities organized by employers: study

Fidelity Canada also introduced mandatory diversity and inclusion training in 2014. “I think what it’s done is it’s created a level of tolerance,” says Godfrey. “It’s taught people to be more thoughtful about how they say things. And it’s really forced people to be introspective, as opposed to being judging. It was an amazing program that we did. We did that first and then we continued to augment it.”

The same year Fidelity Canada introduced its diversity and inclusion training, 272 employees became new members of its employee resource groups. 

“It’s important to us because we want not only for our employees to feel included, but we want to ensure that we’re able to reflect the communities we operate in and also our client base too,” says Godfrey, referring to the award. “We don’t want a homogeneous workforce, we want the diversity and the different thoughts that diversity and inclusion bring to the workforce.”

A full list of the 2017 Workplace Benefits Awards’ winners is available here. More winners will be featured in BenefitsCanada.com throughout the week.

Copyright © 2018 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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