Dialogue on Diversity: Jane Allen, Chief Diversity Officer, Deloitte Canada

February 16th, 2012

Jane Allen, Partner and Chief Diversity Officer, Deloitte Canada promotes the importance of diversity and creating greater cross-cultural competence in today’s business climate. She shares some tips for putting ideas into action from our December 2011 webinar.

1. Leadership buy-in

There needs to be a large movement to get employers to start changing. Major employers have a responsibility to that. Start with the board and senior levels of management: start with the CEO! Deloitte went through an intensive education program with top 50 leaders in the company so they could be comfortable on the issues. It is important to develop a business rationale and to get to leaders’ heads, not just their hearts. Have the facts and statistics to show how diversity is good for the business.

2. Create employee resource groups

Liked-minded employees can create formal mentorships within the company or create informal networks to pass on unwritten knowledge. Helping employees understand newcomer experiences can be cost-affective by using existing employees as cultural resources. Deloitte has piloted a buddy system to help new immigrants integrate within the company by assigning “buddies” to help them through their first year.

3. Share lessons learned

There may be resistance to change, but be persistent. Keep communicating and educating leaders and employees about the value of diversity of workforce. Deloitte hosts round tables once a quarter to share new information, research, and experiences in this field, and also works with organizations like Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC) to learn about the barriers that immigrants face and what employers can do to overcome them.

To learn more, watch the webinar video with Jane Allen, and find related resources

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