Championing Diversity with Chloé Freslon

Today we had the pleasure of welcoming Chloé Freslon to the Breakfast Club. A digital project manager here at Plank since June, Chloé is a champion of diversity in the workplace, especially in the tech industry. 

For those who couldn’t make, here’s a very quick run-down, and a few resources.

First of all, Chloé made me think about diversity in an even more inclusive way than I had before. That truly embracing diversity is not just about hiring more women and minorities, but to be adaptable to all the ways team members are different – how we deal with stress or insecurity, how we solve problems, our most productive hours of the day, our family commitments.

Chloé’s position is that committing to developing a more diverse workplace is not something you do for the warm fuzzies. It’s something you do to make your company stronger, better, and more competitive. 

One of the more obvious ways this plays out is in developing and/or marketing products for the mass market – the more representative of the wider world your workforce is, the better chance they have of creating a product that appeals to the many different people in that market. 

Chloé suggested some strategies for hiring a more diverse workforce, such as tweaking the language in job posting to make them appeal to a wider range of applicants, distributing your posting beyond the usual places, and reaching beyond your network. Also, making it clear to applicants that you DO value diversity, and what you do to support it.

But of course, supporting diversity does not end on hiring, and Chloé also offered some tips on creating a workplace culture that’s more welcoming. Some super basic ones include: allowing people to speak up and making sure everyone has a chance to be heard in meetings, organizing different kinds of fun activities (not always beer and hockey games!), or something as simple as not always eating lunch with the same people everyday. 

The Q&A period brought up some great feedback as well. We heard from someone who made the extra effort to rejig their hiring practices to be more transparent and avoid bias using a skills grid and blind review from colleagues. We heard from women who have had the experience of being the first female on an all-male team, and we heard from a business owner who extolled the virtues of generational diversity.

It was a great talk, and we thank Chloé very much for sharing with us. 

You can keep up with her online at URelles, her blog for Journal Métro, read more about Canada’s opportunities for inclusion in this report that she mentioned in her presentation, and run your job ads through this gendered-language decoder.

That’s it for the Breakfast Club in 2017! See you next year!

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