Posted in : Blog
Posted on : November 6, 2019
We asked Fidelity about their Employee Resource Group (ERG) – Enable. As the Awards of Success winner for ERG of the Year (Eastern Canada), they had some great stuff to say about this incredible group.
Fidelity has always upheld a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion. We initially had ERGs that represented different ethnicities and communities, but not one to represent those living with a disability. The Enable ERG kickstarted in response to our employees: there was great interest in starting an ERG that promoted inclusion of employees of varying abilities and assisted employees in dealing with family situations impacted by disability or mental health. Fidelity in the U.S. also started a similar ERG, so that was also helpful in guiding the development in Canada.
Enable was established in 2016 with six members, and now has 80 members, and it’s still growing!
Fidelity’s corporate values of integrity, commitment, partnership and balance are shared and deeply held beliefs that define our culture and how we conduct business. Diversity and inclusion support these core values by strengthening our collaboration and partnership. Employees who embrace diversity and inclusion and who join Fidelity ERGs gain benefits from promoting ONE Fidelity:
It is now widely accepted that a diverse and inclusive workplace can lead to increased collaboration of ideas and partnership, more and better innovation, and improved financial performance. It’s about creating a workplace where all voices are heard, respected, and valued. It helps in recruiting and retaining the best and brightest employees. All of this helps Fidelity Canada achieve its goals and objectives.
For those involved in our Enable ERG, the events and activities that have shaped them are highly personal and spurred them to get involved to make Fidelity’s workplace more inclusive.
For one of the chairs of Enable, she mentioned that as a woman in her 50s, she wanted to ensure that we have an environment where people are comfortable disclosing limits on their abilities related to age and that people like her can be accommodated if needed. She also mentioned she witnessed first-hand the job-search struggles of a friend who had a stroke and was left paralyzed.
Also - again, something very personal - one of our founding members has a child with disability (autism) and wanted to advocate for people with different abilities; he wanted to create a Fidelity that is hard-wired to attract and retain people with different needs and abilities. He wanted to work on reducing underemployment of people who have valuable skills to put to work and a desire to be useful.
Fidelity Canada was also inspired by the creation of Enable at Fidelity in the U.S. in 2016. This group got off to a strong start and was successful, so we consulted with them before starting our own version of Enable. Their input and advice were very valuable. It made us realize that much can be achieved for people with disabilities if you put your mind to it.
We also wanted to advocate for flexible hours and creating a program to work remotely which would help with taking care of family members (spouses/ partners, children, parents).
While we comply with government accessibility standards, we challenged ourselves as an organization to go beyond the basic requirements and lead the example of how a workplace should be structured to support diversity and inclusion. Starting with how we can ensure that our employees can do their job to the best of their ability, we’ve taken steps to improve accessibility from the washrooms, to desk and computer equipment. Each year we hire students from the Holland Bloorview Ready to Work program and it has taught us a lot about meeting the accommodation requirements of others. We also allow flexible work options such as working from home as well as welcoming outside Occupation Therapist (OT) personnel to coach staff who require that type of support.
Focus on one’s abilities, not their disability. Ask questions, and don’t assume anything. Be curious, open minded, and leave your judgements at the door. We’ve also learned that when you open up and share your experiences, others will come forward and share theirs. And at the end of the day, you’ll realize that we all have our own unique diversity and inclusion story to tell.
The development of our Enable ERG has helped Fidelity’s commitment to developing and promoting a diverse, inclusive, equitable and accessible workplace. It is helping to create a Fidelity that is hard-wired to attract and retain people with different needs and abilities. This strengthens our business and reduces the underemployment of people who have skills to be put to work and a desire to be useful. Enable highlights the diversity and inclusion issue with our employees and broadens their understanding and empathy.