Building a foundation of respect - Part 15 | BuildForce Canada

Building a foundation of respect - Part 15

Welcome to the BuildForce blog on Respectful Workplaces! Here we explore issues and provide advice, research, tools, and checklists – everything our industry needs to create respectful and inclusive workplaces where everyone can succeed. Who will benefit? Leaders, managers, HR staff, and anyone who wants to understand how to create and support a Respectful and Inclusive Workplace. To meet the challenges of the 21st century, the Canadian construction and maintenance industry must be able to recruit and retain workers with a diversity of backgrounds such as Indigenous people, women, immigrants, and young workers. This means building respectful, safe and inclusive workplaces where all workers can succeed. Some of these challenges are: A quarter of a million skilled workers retiring over the next decade. Increased globalization demands more awareness of different cultures. The changing needs of a changing workforce. Increased demands for corporate social responsibility such as fairness and equity.

What can an effective Respectful and Inclusive Workplace Program deliver? The BuildForce Canada Respectful Workplace Online Assessment Tool ~ Release date - late 2018 ~ The Respectful Workplace Assessment Tool allows organization leadership to assess their progress toward a Respectful and Inclusive Workplace and benchmark their progress confidentially against other construction organizations.Each month we will feature an  "Assessment question of the month."  So make sure to be a regular visitor! Assessment question of the month: Does your organization measure progress toward its respectful and inclusive workplace objectives? Watch for the release of the BuildForce Canada Online Respectful and Inclusive Workplace Toolkit, including The Respectful Workplace Online Assessment Tool: to assist organization leadership in assessing their current situation and identifying where they may need to make changes; The Respectful and Inclusive Workplace Training Course: to train workers on how to create and support a respectful and inclusive workplace; and The Respectful Workplace Policy Framework and Implementation Guide: to assist organizations in creating and implementing a policy that supports a respectful and inclusive workplace.

We cannot improve what we do not measure.

It's important to know how respect and inclusion can influence your organization's performance. For example, respect and inclusion efforts can affect turnover and retention generally in the workforce and specifically among different demographic groups. An organization, therefore, must know the baseline levels of turnover and retention segmented by demographic group, and understand the costs associated with each measure.

Examples of Quantitative Measures are:

  • employee turnover rates
  • hours worked
  • time to complete apprenticeship

Examples of Qualitative Measures are:

  • employee levels of job satisfaction
  • changes in attitude before and after respect and inclusion training
  • the company's image among job applicants

World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development - May 21, 2018 - Adopted in 2002, The United Nations General Assembly declared May 21st to be the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. This day provides an opportunity to deepen our understanding of the value of cultural diversity. Diversity also requires development of one's skills and capacity for meaningful dialogue. (See Blog #8 for tips on inclusive communication and Blog #11 for tips on inclusive team work).  Diversity, dialogue, and the skills to engage in meaningful dialogue can result in better team performance. In a study that compared the number of correct answers to a test question between homogeneous groups and diverse groups, researchers found that diversity resulted in more correct answers for several reasons: 1) there was more careful consideration of ideas and more exchange of information, 2) there was more problem solving, as members tried to resolve the tension caused by diverse opinions, 3) "out-group" members didn't bring new ideas, but their mere presence caused alliances to shift, which led to better problem solving, and 4) the diverse groups reported less confidence in their performance, yet they performed better than homogeneous groups.

OUR NEXT INSTALLMENT: Committing the resources necessary for an effective Respectful and Inclusive Workplace Plan

PREVIOUS INSTALLMENT: The link between an organization's core values and a Respectful and Inclusive Workplace

Read from the beginning. Click here to start at Part 1.


  • BuildForce Canada. Online Respect & Inclusion Toolkit. Release date - late 2018.
  • Liljenquist, Katie and Williams Phillips, Katherine and Neale, Margaret, The Pain is Worth the Gain: The Advantages and Liabilities of Agreeing with Socially Distinct Newcomers. 16th Annual IACM Conference Melbourne, Australia. Available at SSRN: Accessed February 25, 2018.

Join the conversation: How does your organization measure the effectiveness of its Respectful and Inclusive Workplace Plan? Leave your comments below.

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This project has been funded by Status of Women Canada.