Diversity and Inclusion
D&I is a series of steps along a journey that sets out measurable objectives, reports, talent succession practices, competency, and skills assessments, instigating an organizational culture of inclusion, and more. This session looks at some practical steps taken in organizations, who take Diversity and Inclusion very seriously, and want to move the dial on their practices.
Moderator: Elizabeth Watson, CEO and Founder, WATSON Advisors Inc.
Panel: Linda Seymour, Group General Manager, President and CEO, HSBC Bank Canada; Wendy Kei, Board Chair, Ontario Power Generation; Anna Tudela, Board Member and Independent Consultant
Additional Audience Questions:
1. Have you been able to demonstrate bottom line results derived from a diverse board and management team?
- Wendy: Diversity at the board and management level fosters innovation and creative thinking, which leads to improvements to the bottom line.
- Anna: Yes, women are better managing budgets, taking care of equipment and respecting warning signs just to give you a few examples. Women on Boards are also more prompt to ask questions and start the dialogue.
2. Can you please speak in more details how you started developing your targets and metrics? Did you have a focused task force or?
- Wendy: OPG chose metrics that were established by the Global Centre for Diversity and Inclusion. It is important that the entire board is involved in making this decision to ensure buy-in.
- Anna: I used as guidance the Global Diversity and Inclusion Benchmark guideline to create metrics that worked for our industry and company.
3. Same idea - what standard should the Board be aiming for, e.g. diversity that mirrors local populations, stakeholders, etc.?
- Wendy: For OPG it is the population or communities that we operate in.
- Anna: A range of cultural/ethnic awareness of the countries/areas where you operate. Look for what you are missing on your board to promote inclusion.
4. Do you think we should have legislation requiring 50% women?
- Anna: I believe that is where the OSC is going.
6. Our board is doing well from the gender perspective, but it is harder to move the dial with the focused inclusion of race and indigenous. Any advice?
- Wendy: Ask recruiters to provide more candidates or ask recruiters to work with the 30% Club or Black North Initiates for equity seeking candidates.
- Anna: Again, the tone has to come from the top. Educate on cultural awareness (IDI Harvard) or more UBT and reinforce learnings with self-development goals that will be reviewed once a year during performance evaluation process.
7. Recently a female CEO said that “Complex, generational issues are never effectively solved through singular solutions. The enthusiasm to make things better by applying quotas at the most senior levels of organizations is a quick fix working the wrong end of the pipeline". What are your thoughts?
- Anna: I am personally against of quotas. I like targets. I don’t want to be a checkmark on a checklist, I want to bring value to the boards I serve on.
8. Is the need for achieving diversity leading to an increase in the size of your board?
- Wendy: This depends on the size of your board and if you have the skills needed to align with your strategy corporate objectives. You need to look ahead to determine if your board is the right board in the next 3 to 5 years or Board 2.0.
- Anna: Sometimes it does others it replaces board members that should’ve retired many years ago. Boards that have adopted either a term limit or age limit (or both) policies are doing better as it is very difficult to tell a long-time board member, he/she is no longer needed.
9. What actions has your organization taken to ensure that your work environment is a safe, accepting, and inclusive space for the LGBTQ community?
- Anna: Lots of education and tone at the top.
10. How do you address retention (as opposed to pipeline)? What do you watch for in turnover for Board and staff?
- Wendy: We absolutely watch for turnover at the staff and board level. I spend a lot of time having virtual coffees with the board, the executive team and management to gage retention issues.
- Anna: Implement exit interviews.