Inspired by Our People, Driven by Our Purpose and Empowered by Our Culture is our newly articulated employee value proposition (EVP), which homes in on what’s special about working for EDC. It’s intended to help us attract, develop and retain the high-quality talent needed to continue creating value for Canada.
We brought the EVP to life through an internal campaign called “Why I choose EDC…”. Employee photos and quotes were published on our intranet and floor monitors as well as being displayed in our lobby. The EVP was launched during our 2019 annual employee conference with a video starring our own people. Following the conference, employees received “Thank you for choosing EDC” cards asking them to tell us one thing we could do to improve their employee experience. More than 300 cards were returned, providing valuable feedback that we’re now acting on.
Having traditionally conducted employee engagement surveys every two years, we moved to quarterly corporate pulse checks in 2019. This gives us more targeted feedback in areas that are most meaningful to our people – such as employee engagement, enablement, leadership involvement and decision making – and enables us to respond to issues in a timely fashion.
While improving the employee experience and building a more risk-aware culture were priorities in 2019, two other focus areas for both 2019 and 2020 are leadership development and employee wellness.
Given the important role leaders play in shaping our culture, our leadership development program includes conferences, seminars and coaching to help executives grow personally and professionally. EDC leadership conferences bring all leaders together twice a year to align on corporate priorities and hone their skills by participating in topic-specific break-out sessions. To further promote growth and leadership excellence, we continually evaluate and invest in our program and will be rolling out a new strategy and curriculum in 2020.
Having launched a comprehensive wellness program in 2018, we’re not satisfied that it’s making a great enough impact on employees’ overall health and well-being. As a result, we conducted a wellness survey in 2019 to better understand our workplace stress and find out what’s most important to our people. The findings have informed a revised wellness strategy that will be implemented in 2020.
Diversity and inclusion (D&I) are fundamental strengths for EDC. We work hard to recruit diverse talent and create a culture of belonging where all employees feel accepted and safe to bring their authentic selves to work each day. Employees who feel valued and included are happier, more productive and more engaged, which ultimately strengthens EDC and our ability to serve the diversity found in Canadian companies.
Guided by our D&I Strategy and Action Plan, we’ve made strong progress on the representation of women in leadership roles over the past few years. We publicly announced that EDC had joined the 30% Club Canada Campaign, coming together with other Canadian leaders and organizations advocating for gender balance on boards and in C-suite roles.
Women currently make up 50 per cent of EDC’s Board of Directors and more than 40 per cent of our executive leadership team. We’re close to achieving gender parity across all EDC leadership levels. We’ve also increased the representation of visible minorities in leadership roles – up from 9.3 per cent in 2017 to 11.1 per cent in 2019. These are important steps, and we are proud of them – but we’re also aware that we need to improve in certain areas. As progress has been slower for indigenous employees and persons with disability representation, we plan to sharpen our focus on these two groups going forward. In addition, EDC continues to be a strong supporter of LGBTQ2+ employees and their communities.
D&I is a journey and we recognize there is more work to do. In fact, there will likely always be more work, as society continues to evolve. Significant time and effort are devoted to evolving our culture at the grassroots level through initiatives organized by employee resource groups and supported by our D&I Committee. Our Committee is led by EDC’s President and CEO, who is also the organization’s D&I Champion. The Committee is charged with advancing a culture of diversity and inclusion and acting as the eyes and ears of EDC.
A third-party D&I maturity assessment will be conducted in 2020 to obtain an independent perspective on our D&I progress and guide the development of an updated strategy and action plan.
EDC participated in the Ottawa Pride Parade for the first time in 2019, with CEO Mairead Lavery and other EDC employees joining in the festivities.