Company: Ontario Ministry of Labour
Innovation: Accountable Leadership and Employee Engagement
Award Recognition: Honorable Mention

The Ontario Ministry of Labour adopted a strategy to measure and strengthen equitable leadership competencies of its leaders, starting at the most senior level in year one and gradually moving to assess and support all managers in their growth as champions of diversity and inclusion. In this way, the Ministry will strengthen the management cadre’s capacity to lead as well as their accountability to lead. This process’s ultimate purpose is to leverage each manager’s influence in the workplace to shift the culture and deliver better results.

The journey began in 2010 with an annual plan to:

Hold leaders accountable through the following:
• Diversity Mentorship program
• Annual Equitable Leadership 360 Assessment of all senior and middle managers with clearly enunciated objectives
• Tailored learning and coaching supports for managers
• Diversity Performance commitments mandatory in all managers’ performance plans
• “Inclusion lens” applied to program and policy development, recruitment, and communications

Engage employees:
• Council for Inclusion and Diversity
• Council for Accessibility
• Focus group research and awareness program
• Recognition Award for Inclusion and Diversity
• Days of Significance program
• Divisional Plans
• Dedicated Employment Accommodation Lead
• Education and awareness training
• Promotion of Employee Networks (Black Ontario Public Service Network; East Asian Network; Pride Network; Aboriginal Employees Network; Disability Network; South Asian Network; Francophone Network; Tomorrow’s Ontario Public Service Network – young professionals)

The Ministry of Labour reflects the best practices expected across the Ontario Public Service for holding senior managers and middle managers accountable for a diverse and inclusive organizations. As a multi-year exercise, managers were first given a year of raising self-awareness through the benchmarking of their core competencies as leaders in a diverse workplace. They were then provided individual and group training that responded to areas of strength and weaknesses.

In the second year, core leadership competency scores were again recorded to see the year over year change, but these scores were not embedded in performance metrics. Year two was the transition between an opportunity to learn about yourself as a leader to a formal measuring of your skills as a leader in year three.
Where an individual’s assessment scores go up or down year over year across eight key leadership attributes set out in the following chart, they are either coached and provided training to bring up their scores, or are used as mentors and champions to share their leadership capacity more broadly amongst their peers. For leaders with the lowest scores, they have been targeted with additional training, mentoring, and accountability for expected change.

In three years at the Ministry of Labour, a comparison of scoring shows the following achievements:
• Leaders are scored by their peers, employees, and their supervisors as more knowledgeable, committed, and self-aware.
• The annual Equitable Leadership Assessment results show higher ratings for all competencies in each year between 2010 and 2012. Leaders with ratings in the lowest 20 percent have shown the strongest improvement. Those identified in any year as the highest 10 percent are motivated to retain their excellence scores and are rewarded in doing so.
• Equitable leadership competencies inform training programs; and serve as criteria for leadership recruitment, evaluating probationary employees, identifying competencies for succession management, and informing approaches for change initiatives.
• The Inclusion Lens is more broadly applied, i.e. through policy and legislative reviews, hiring, accommodation, results-based planning, and most recently to design a new fully accessible website.
• Program materials are inclusive, i.e. Health and Safety Posters are available in twenty-one languages), Employment Standards posters are available in twenty languages, animated online videos are in multiple languages, sector-specific health and safety videos are available in languages.
• Call centres offer service in multiple languages.
• The new policy focuses on vulnerable workers and precarious employment.