Export Development Canada
Given its mandate to help Canadian companies succeed in foreign markets, it only makes sense for Export Development Canada to have a diverse and multicultural workforce.
This is a strategic imperative. EDC’s commitment to diversity is reflected in its 2015-2019 corporate plan and embedded in its top three corporate priorities.
Most of EDC’s workforce is bilingual, as befitting a Crown corporation. But many speak a variety of other languages, such as Spanish, Arabic and Mandarin. The workforce includes many people who were born outside Canada, studied abroad and/or have international work experience.
That means EDC employees have the broader cultural understandings and diverse and global perspectives companies need to succeed in foreign markets, to create more economic opportunity and wealth for Canada.
But this diversity doesn’t come without a coordinated and persistent effort.
“Diverse and inclusive workplaces do not just happen and need to be developed and nurtured through dedicated programs aimed at achieving specific goals,” said Cheryl Caldwell, EDC’s Director, Diversity, Bilingualism and Employee Relations. “Much time and effort is being spent on ensuring our workplace culture is diverse as well as inclusive for all employees.”
Those programs include:
- Talent acquisition using employment platforms such as Equitek to reach qualified and diverse candidates who might otherwise be overlooked by traditional recruitment methods.
- A structured onboarding program, to ensure successful integration of all new hires.
- Regular employee engagement surveys.
- Unconscious bias training, to help leaders identify, understand and overcome bias when it comes to promotions, career development and succession planning.
- Commitments by all senior managers to advance a culture of diversity and inclusion. This includes a Diversity and Inclusion Committee comprised of a cross-section of employees from all levels of EDC.
- A transparent and structured talent review process understood by all for career development and advancement.
- Informal networking groups so employees can get to know each other better.
To ensure diverse recruitment, EDC takes a number of additional steps. For example, its one-page Human Rights Guide includes examples of prohibited interview questions, and interviews with candidates are conducted with diverse selection panels.
“Increasing the diversity of our employee population is making EDC a better organization,” said Caldwell. “It is allowing us to deliver value and better connect with customers of all sizes in the markets they do business – traditional international markets as well as fast-growing emerging markets.”