BNP Paribas in Canada’s extensive efforts to embed diversity, equity and inclusion policies into its business practices took home the award in the DEI program category at Benefits Canada’s 2023 Workplace Benefits Awards on Oct. 20.

It’s an honour to have been recognized by Benefits Canada and we are thrilled!” says Stéphanie Champagne, BNP Paribas’ head of compensation and benefits. “It’s a testament to the dedication of our teams to creating a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace.”

Read: 72% of business leaders increased investment in DEI over past year: survey

In 2023, the bank and financial services company implemented a number of initiatives to ensure inclusion was at the heart of its attraction and retention and health and wellness strategies. To broaden its talent base, the organization launched its neurodiversity hiring program and created a job board geared towards attracting First Nations talent. It also continued building up its nine-month mentorship program for junior employees in administration and senior clerical roles, established a leadership program for women and launched a targeted DEI social media campaign focused on acquiring talent from under-represented groups.

In 2022, BNP Paribas began embedding diversity and inclusion topics into all of its management training programs, including its training program for newly-promoted managers. The organization also developed a training program to bridge and better understand intergenerational differences.

“Nurturing inclusive leadership can be a transformative force in the workplace, empowering leaders to build an environment where every team member is valued and heard as well as encouraged to unleash their full potential,” says Champagne. “An inclusive leader prioritizes collaboration and willingly shares in the decision-making process with their team, setting themselves and others up for success.”

Read: Editorial: Speaking up on DEI must go beyond policies and programs

Through its employee resource groups, BNP Paribas rolled out a series of continuous learning programs, events and mentoring sessions, in which employees learned DEI basics, including unconscious bias training. The company’s annual leadership community forum also included a segment on unconscious bias specifically for executive committee members, senior management and hiring managers.

BNP Paribas has also continued to build awareness around DEI through conferences and roundtables organized by its nine ERGs, including the new Ability ERG, which promotes accessibility and inclusivity and empowers people with diverse abilities.

“Employees are prioritizing workplaces that support diversity and inclusion — redefining what work means to them,” says Champagne. “Employees want — and deserve — a strong inclusive community and culture and that’s what employers need to work towards. . . . ERGs help celebrate differences, which in turn drives innovation, builds trusted relationships and enables equitable experiences for all employees.”

Read: Back to basics on employee resource groups