Leadership Matters
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By Brenda Clark, CHRE

As you’ve seen, the cover theme for this issue is all about diversity and inclusion. Those are concepts that have truly gained ground in the workplace over the past two decades, and they continue to do so.

But while it has become the norm for organizations to fly the diversity flag – including inclusive language band statements in recruitment materials, crafting solid policies and the like – what’s a little less clear-cut is the matter of how those statements and policies translate into the actual culture and fabric of the workplace.

It’s easy to put a policy on paper; it’s difficult to create true cultural shifts. And as study upon study has shown, human beings have implicit and unconscious bias that we are usually not even aware of.

That’s why a critical piece of the puzzle is consistent policy application for everyone, follow up and evaluation to determine if the policy to doing what you want. Part of this includes ensuring you have all the information needed to improve. It makes no difference to minority groups or disenfranchised individuals in the workplace if you have a really stellar D&I policy on the books and a strongly written commitment to human rights – they need to see it in action.

If an issue arises that could be a matter of workplace discrimination, HR needs to take action – and it needs to be seen to do so. A key to success for HR professionals in this area is the competency to undertake a thorough workplace investigation.

HRPA members now have a new advantage when it comes to carrying out effective workplace investigations. Earlier this month, Bill 27, or the Burden Reduction Act, has passed through the Ontario Legislature, allowing HRPA members to be exempt from the Private Security and Investigative Services Act.

Bill 27 was an omnibus bill that included a number of different and disparate items, but the piece that affects HRPA members is an amendment to our Registered Human Resources Professionals Act of 2013.

The act was amended to add the following section:

Workplace investigations

14.1 A member of the Association, who is in good standing, is authorized to conduct, for remuneration, workplace investigations in order to provide information, and section 2 of Ontario Regulation 435/07 made under the Private Security and Investigative Services Act, 2005 applies.

Essentially, HRPA members are now significantly less encumbered by external regulation when it comes to conducting workplace investigations – HRPA now has the authority to regulate its own members in that respect.

As we further professionalize the HR profession – and strive toward a better expression of true inclusion in the workforce – it is integral that workplace investigations are used effectively as a tool to support those goals. In doing so, we are not only protecting the public at large – we’re also protecting the disenfranchised individuals in our own workplaces who need us to be a voice for them.

Brenda Clark, CHRE, is chair of the Human Resources Professionals Association.

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