While Imperial Tobacco has always valued the diversity of its employees with a workforce representing nearly 50 different nationalities, in 2021, it introduced a D&I Council to take the company to a new phase on its D&I journey, says Lito Charet, vice president of HR, Canada, at Imperial Tobacco.
The goal is “to create a more inclusive workplace, one where everyone feels a true sense of belonging,” says Charet, adding the Council provides a formal structure to capture input from employees, and introduce new initiatives that drive meaningful change, and real progress.
In the last year, the company ran multiple employee focus groups, tweaked leadership and development programs to be more focused on inclusion and rolled out additional training, including the “mastering inclusion” program for all employees.
Plus, there’s two employee resource groups: BUnited for LGBTQ+ employees, and Female Force. One recommendation—additional leadership training for junior-level female staff—led to Imperial Tobacco created a new three-day program.
“Through the feedback shared by participants, we know this program has had a tremendous impact,” says Charet.
A voluntary disclosure survey—which saw 76% of all staff take part—revealed 46% of all employees are visible minorities. “We are now in the process of further analyzing the data to present to our D&I Council and establish whether we have additional barriers to address,” says Charet. The extra focus and commitment to D&I means more education and awareness and embedding inclusion in the culture of the organization.
This is about making a workplace where everyone feels comfortable bringing their whole selves to work, she says. “This will enable more open dialogue and debates which will undoubtedly translate into making the best decisions for our consumers that will in turn drive growth.”