Diversity Is a Competitive Advantage

Posted on February 22, 2018 by Angela Splinter

Attracting, developing, and retaining talent is a competitive advantage in the trucking industry. Successful fleets know that a capable and content workforce improves productivity, client relations, and more.

As the talent pool in Canada becomes increasingly diverse, HR strategies need to adapt. Consider this:

  • Indigenous Peoples are Canada’s fastest-growing demographic
  • 2.1 million people aged 25-64 have a mental or physical disability that limits daily activities
  • 6.3 million people identify themselves as visible minorities
  • People aged 18-35 are the largest cohort in Canada’s workforce
  • Women account for 48% of Canada’s workforce

Compare this to the trucking workforce:

  • 12% of our truck drivers are under the age of 30
  • 3% of truck drivers, technicians and mechanics are women
  • 19% of the trucking industry’s population identifies as visible minorities

Trucking ranks the lowest among all federally regulated employers in representation of Indigenous Peoples and people with disabilities

If these numbers are not enough to make you think twice about the industry’s ability to attract the workers it needs, consider the many business benefits of an HR strategy that promotes diversity.

A diversity of perspectives, growing out of a diversity of life experiences, can promote innovation and problem-solving that helps a business succeed. A diverse workforce can open up new opportunities within our diverse marketplace.

If you can’t find the extra money for training, there are numerous funding programs available for untapped labour pools. The Canada Job Grant, the Opportunities Fund for People with Disabilities, the Apprenticeship Job Creation Tax Credit, and other programs can reimburse companies thousands of dollars for programs that bring in new workers or retrain existing employees.

And if finding drivers is as challenging for you as it is for hundreds of others, diversifying your workforce can increase your access to new talent pools, build your reputation as a company with open and fair employment practices, and help you compete for potential workers.

Not sure where to start? Here are some tips to help you:

Leadership

As with any new approach or initiative, unless it is championed by the CEO, president, or owner, don’t bother. Leadership in diversity needs to be more than lip service-it needs to be well intentioned and genuine. Ideas don’t have to come from the top, but they do need to be effectively communicated from the top so everyone in the company knows that diversity is important.

Make it a team effort

In addition to support from the top, all managers need to be on board and be held accountable. Workplace diversity needs to permeate the organizational culture at all levels. And do consider sending your managers on diversity training—many of the industry’s top employers do, and this helps set up your team for success.

Commit

As with everything else in HR, good intentions need to be supported with sound organizational policies and procedures. This ensures everything mentioned above gets addressed. Clear policies communicate the values of the organization, provide guidance and a consistent approach for all employees, and send a strong message to prospective talent.

That competitive advantage I was talking about? Make workplace diversity part of your HR approach and reap the benefits. Current employees will speak positively about your company, thus promoting your employer brand; prospective employees will see a company that allows for professional growth and development for all; and clients will see a modern and forward-thinking company.

Who wouldn’t want to be associated with that?