Lowe’s highlights the importance of diversity at work
A Lowe’s in Regina made headlines this week when it brought on its two newest employees – one man and one dog. Wearing their matching blue vests, Owen Lima and Blue greet customers in the Saskatchewan store. Lima lives with a brain injury, and Blue is his service dog – and now possibly Lowe’s friendliest greeter.
While many organizations might pass on the duo, Lowe’s hired Owen Lima without pause – and it’s paying off (in both Facebook Likes and two great workers). Lima says, “I’m just so happy to work here… Lowe’s has given me an opportunity to be here, to be my own person and not to be anybody else.”
Most companies claim to value diversity, but how many of them really mean it?
If you’re looking for a company where you’ll be supported and valued for your individual contributions, take a cue from Lima and Blue, and start by finding a company that actually, really, truly believes in diversity and inclusivity.
A focus on diversity will benefit you by providing a supportive environment where your unique talents and perspective will be valued, but it’s also integral to a company’s own success. Workplace inclusivity and diversity is “a key driver of internal innovation and business growth,” according to a Forbes study. Diverse companies perform better financially, in turn offering their employees increased opportunities for success.
How can you tell if a potential employer is creating an inclusive culture? Here are a few clues that you can look out for:
Who works there?
First, a caveat – not all diversity is visible. That said, if you’re applying with a company and you walk in for an interview (or check out one of their offices or stores on a recon mission) and everyone looks the same, it’s a bad sign. Likewise – check out the executive level employees. If the executive level is lacking diversity, you’re more likely to run into archaic attitudes about who should (and will) be moving up in the organization.
Who do they work with?
Many organizations that are actively working to create an inclusive culture partner with organizations built around championing the support and development of diverse populations. Names to look for include the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion, Egale Human Rights Trust, and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (among many!). Check around on a potential employer’s website for more details on collaborators and initiatives they’re working on.
Who are they trying to recruit?
Companies that truly believe in the power of diversity will be actively looking to fill their roles with people from diverse backgrounds and perspectives. Many organizations will include a note in job descriptions that includes their commitment to diverse hiring practices – keep an eye out.
Every year, Canada’s Best Diversity Employers releases its list of employers across Canada with “exceptional workplace diversity and inclusiveness programs.” The program highlights companies that have done work to support diversity across five groups: women, members of visible minorities, persons with disabilities, aboriginal peoples, and LGBT peoples. This list is a great starting point for finding a work culture where you’ll fit right in, no matter what.
Ready for that new job immediately? Here are five of 2016’s Best Diversity Employers who are hiring now: