Case Study: Removing Barriers to Employment

Case Study: Removing Barriers to Employment

“Our organization is legally and ethically committed to removing barriers to employment for designated groups under the Employment Equity Act. How can you help us?”

Situation: A large publicly traded, full-service bank and one of Canada’s 50 Best Employers needed to consult with current employees that belonged to the four designated groups under Employment Equity (EE) legislation (women, Aboriginal, people with disabilities, and visible minorities). This exercise complied with aspects of a recent EE Audit that the Federal Government had conducted with the bank as part of the standard EE procedures. The bank sought to hear participants’ experiences regarding real or perceived barriers in recruitment, promotion and other areas of employment within the organization. They also wanted to listen to any suggestions to overcome such obstacles.

What We Did: The bank retained CFRAC’s consulting services to lead this exercise as they ascertained that employees would feel more comfortable sharing truthful information with an outside professional organization. A carefully crafted invitation was co-designed by our consulting team and the bank to be sent to all bank employees to encourage participation, especially those who self-identified as members of the designated groups.

The response was very positive, with a series of in-person focus groups conducted in three different cities and focus groups with some one-on-one interviews over the phone. CFRAC’s consulting team identified and categorized “themes” that emerged and presented their implications to the bank.

Benefits: Participants were pleased to have been consulted. They reported that the bank had many good policies supporting employment equity and pointed how the bank could implement such policies into practice. An added value of this initiative was the other good suggestions that participants generated beyond EE requirements. Taking action on these would improve the overall human resources practices of the bank. The participants felt proud of the bank’s commitment to improving this important area of workforce development. Through this process, the bank recognized some concrete tools that can be developed and used in their human resource processes to strengthen their inclusive environment. CFRAC’s consulting team developed these tools for them, and the bank could report on some immediate actions in the follow-up to their EE Audit.