Tag Archives: Inclusive Workplaces

Religious Accommodation

22 Mar

One of the things that I hear about a lot working with organizations is how difficult religious accommodation feels.

Passover begins next week and in the spirit of things, I thought I’d share a success story that I just heard about.

B&H is a photo, video and audio company in the USA. They have a superstore in New York City as well as an online store. And the owners are of the Jewish Orthodox faith.

“So what?”  you may say.
The ‘so what’ is that the store is closed for the Sabbath (Saturday in this case). In fact the store closes at 2pm on the Friday. This also applies to their online store: you can browse, but you can’t purchase anything on the Sabbath.
AND – and this is the really great part – the store and online store are closed for Passover (March 25 – April 2 this year). A whole 9 days!!

What a great example of how faith can be part of what is valued in a workplace and still have your company be profitable.  For those who are finding giving employees time off to observe (note: not closing their entire organization) as part of their commitment to inclusion, I say think again.

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copyright 2013 Annemarie Shrouder
Author, Speaker and Facilitator on issues of Diversity and Inclusion


Corporate Social Responsibility – what about inside the organization?

30 Sep

This week I was forwarded the list of Canada’s 50 Best Corporate Citizens (2011). It’s a list that Corporate Knights (“the Magazine for Clean Capitalism”) started about 10 years ago.

Who knew there was such a list? I was amazed!

I discovered  through Madelaine Drohan’s article in the report (entitled Big country, small steps) that corporate social responsibility can mean very different things;  from making sure child labour isn’t used in the supply chain, to building schools in Africa, to preventing high school drop outs right here at home.  Not bad, I thought. Good to know that there are large companies that are looking at more than profits. Hooray!

Further into the report, I came across a scorecard which tracks “the environmental, social and governance performance of the S&P/TSX60 Companies on the 2011 Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada.  I thought I would find some great stats about what these companies are doing internally as well, to match their social responsibility externally.

I was disappointed.

A few things stand out in particular among these stats about corporate citizens who are up to some great things:

  • the number of female company directors in 2010 was 14.61% (UP from 14.49% in 2009, but still low)
  • the number of company directors who were either visible minorities or aboriginal  in 2010 was 2.92% (DOWN from 4.06 in 2009)
  • and the ratio of CEO salary to the lowest paid employees salary INCREASED by 8.70%


I’m not sure why I’m surprised. I often see companies making efforts in diversity and inclusion outside their walls (arguably where it looks good and they get kudos) before tackling any change inside. I guess I thought that with the corporate halo shining brightly for these 50 companies, that maybe, just maybe, they would be different.  I know it’s just a graph and I don’t have the whole story by far, but it suggests a lot.  

Would it be great if corporate social responsibility included creating an inclusive, welcoming workplace  that valued diversity and inclusion – with representation at all levels and smaller pay gaps (for example) to prove it?

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Copyright 2011 Annemarie Shrouder
author, speaker and facilitator on issues of diversity and inclusion

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