Illuminate Opportunity: Equity in the Workplace


Do you want your workplace to be inclusive, forward-thinking and disruptive?

We each think differently based on our culture, language, lived experience, and personality. Teams that include people possessing a rich range of identity factors have been shown to work smarter; collaborating with people who are different from us can challenge our brains to think in new ways and boost its performance.1

The more viewpoints and perspectives are broadened, the more “group think” is challenged. This in turn can lead to more accurate decision-making and more creative and innovative problem-solving.

This innovative culture that diversity of thought can bring into our sector will help our employees be more engaged and productive, strengthen the capacities of our teams, and enhance our brand in the competition for talent⁠—and so enable us to better serve our increasingly diverse customer base.

To encourage diversity of thought and perspective, three key elements must be integrated into our talent management approach:

  • Diversity: Reap the benefits
    By attracting and hiring a range of talent⁠—including women, Indigenous peoples, newcomers, visible minorities and persons with disabilities, and beyond.
  • Equity: Disrupt the barriers
    By making sure our HR practices are fair and free of systemic barriers, to ensure all members of our workforce are fully supported and have opportunities to advance.
  • Inclusion: Demonstrate the behaviours
    To create and sustain a welcoming, supportive culture so all talented employees can contribute their best and feel valued for their contributions.

It is always important to lead the way in bringing together a wealth of experiences, identities, ideas and opinions to spark innovation and drive performance in our organizations.

About this Resource

What is it?

A set of made-in-Alberta quick reference tools, learning materials and short videos to support employers in building a diverse workforce – and reaping the resulting benefits.

Who can use it?

HR professionals, managers and others involved in hiring or responsible for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in their organization.

Why should you use it?

  • Build and disseminate a rationale for a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and equitable people practices
  • Anticipate and mitigate common systemic barriers to recruiting, hiring, onboarding and retaining a wide diversity of talent
  • Influence, support and challenge decision makers (and employees), to enable your organization to fully harness the benefits a diverse, equitable and inclusive workforce can bring
  • Role-model bias-aware communication and interpersonal skills to help foster a culture of inclusion

What does it include?

  • Good practice DEI “how-to” strategies.
  • Covers the full HR cycle: Recruiting and hiring; Onboarding and developing; Engaging and retaining.
  • Focuses on diverse talent groups that can “illuminate opportunity” for employers (such as women, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, visible minorities, newcomers, and beyond).
  • Tailored to the needs of electricity and renewables employers.

Illuminate Opportunity Launch Q&A

To help you implement great DEI practices in your organization, we’re taking questions about DEI challenges that will be answered by our Program Manager of Diversity and Inclusion. You can share your questions below, either anonymously or with your email for follow-up.

Where to Start

To help you determine how to get the most out of this Toolkit, the following chart highlights common good practices organizations can put in place to increase DEI. Use it as a guideline, adapting it to your own context.

Getting Started: Diversity

So far, you’ve:

  • Complied with employment equity/human rights legislation.
  • Focused mostly on “numbers” and increasing representation.
  • Implemented an anti-harassment and discrimination policy and enforced practices.

Next, you should:

  • Define the “why”: Articulate the benefits of DEI for your business success, beyond your legal obligations.
  • Create a vision: Highlight the importance of DEI in your vision/mission/values, to signal internally and externally that it is integral to who you are and how you operate.
  • Assess your current status: Gather baseline data on employee demographics and experiences to help identify where to focus efforts.
  • Seek early wins: As foundational practices, consider respect in the workplace education, inclusive job titles and work terminology, and recruitment materials that welcome and reflect candidates from all backgrounds.

Explore related resources:

Going Further: Equity

So far, you’ve…

  • Experimented with several initiatives, but not in a strategic or integrated way.
  • Realized that subtle barriers might exist, but lack a coordinated approach.
  • Positioned DEI primarily as an HR/head office responsibility.

Next, you should:

  • Focus on proven practices: Start with practices that deliver evidence-based value (such as robust orientation, mentoring and sponsorship, flexible work schedules and visible role models).
  • Formalize to prioritize: Building on your business case and values, set DEI goals (both for representation and experiences of inclusion), establish accountabilities, and measure and report on progress regularly.
  • Consistently apply a DEI lens: Develop a habit of questioning “how things have always been done”, and of assessing who is and is not included in organizational initiatives.
  • Engage leaders: Identify committed executives – including from operations – to champion diversity; facilitate opportunities to build their DEI self-awareness, consult across the organization to stay informed, and to communicate and champion their vision.
  • Integrate DEI throughout the business: For example, require search firms and other vendors to demonstrate support for DEI.

Explore related resources:

Sustaining Momentum: Inclusion

So far, you’ve:

  • Taken an integrated approach to DEI.
  • Embedded DEI in the organization’s culture.
  • Established internal accountability frameworks.
  • Established and aligned supplier and partner diversity initiatives.
  • Engaged role models.

Next, you should:

  • Make everyday inclusion part of your culture: Work to create a culture of open, positive behaviours where everyone is on board with inclusive workplace norms, and is comfortable resolving issues informally as they arise.
  • Keep track to stay on track: Update measurements and targets to reflect progress to date and any evolving needs. Sustain progress through ongoing ‘nudges’ using evidence you gather.
  • Cultivate high-impact partnerships: Collaborate with, share, and support both internal groups (e.g. employee resource groups), and external bodies (e.g. community, education and under-represented group-serving organizations) that will extend and support your DEI efforts.
  • Communicate successes throughout your journey: Collect stories of positive impact, and of any setbacks and associated learnings, from across the organization. Equip champions with storytelling skills to spread your message and encourage further sharing about DEI in your culture.

Explore related resources:

You can also start from the beginning of the toolkit and move forward from there.

Start from the Beginning

Toolkit Contents

The toolkit is organized into three sections, aligned with the three key stages of the employee lifecycle. Each section contains tips, tools and resources to support employers in enhancing their practices through a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion: the three elements required to “illuminate opportunity” in your workforce.

Recruiting and Hiring

  • Diversity:
    • Meeting the need for changing skillsets and maintaining a talent pool
    • Understanding the many identities of your customers
    • Bringing in a mix of experiences and perspectives to spark innovation
  • Equity:
    • Conducting wider outreach and advertising
    • Bias-aware hiring
    • Hiring to add value vs ‘fit in’
    • Seeking ways to accommodate and be accessible
  • Inclusion:
    • Diversifying your network
    • Addressing limiting beliefs
    • Re-thinking possibilities and being open to new approaches
  • Knowledge Check
  • Further Learning

Onboarding and Developing

  • Diversity:
    • Helping new employees feel welcome and part of the team
    • Accelerating employee success to facilitate early engagement
    • Supporting new hires to aspire to advancement, expanding diversity at all levels
  • Equity:
    • Providing clear expectations and ongoing feedback
    • Being inclusive in sharing information on opportunities, coaching and mentoring, and accommodating to facilitate participation
    • Recognizing unique contributions
  • Inclusion:
    • Challenging your assumptions about an employee’s interests or potential
    • Connecting with and supporting those who are “different”
    • Celebrating each employee’s performance and giving credit when due
  • Knowledge Check
  • Further Learning

Engaging and Retaining

  • Diversity:
    • Creating a positive culture of collaboration
    • Retaining skilled talent as an employer of choice
    • Strengthening ties with communities, customers and stakeholders
  • Equity:
    • Education on inclusion, equity and respect
    • Flexible working options
    • Embedding DEI through all people practices
    • Monitoring and communicating progress on DEI
  • Inclusion:
    • Setting the tone for expected behaviours
    • Calling out bias
    • Having the difficult conversations
    • Actively listening and promoting  new ideas
  • Knowledge Check
  • Further Learning

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Checklist

This checklist includes promising practices to help organizations prioritize, embed, and broaden their diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. It covers multiple actions that can be implemented to create work environments and organizational cultures that are supportive of diverse talent. Your organization may want to consider tailoring its use to your specific needs.

View the Resource


Advisory Committee

We express our sincere gratitude and appreciation to the following individuals who participated on the Advisory Committee.

  • Denise Burke, Committee Chair of the Advisory Committee, ENMAX Corporation
  • Amanda Sanregret, TransAlta Corporation
  • Andrea Janes, ATCO Groups
  • Cindy Go, Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO)
  • Michelle Branigan, CEO, Electricity Human Resources Canada
  • Mark Chapeskie, Director of Programs, Electricity Human Resources Canada
  • Merertu Mogga Frissa, Program Manager, Electricity Human Resources Canada

We would also like to acknowledge the generous time and support of organizations, employment service agencies and equity seeking groups who participated in our engagement sessions to provide insight.

  • Edmonton Region Immigrant Employment Council (ERIEC)
  • FortisAlberta
  • Vecova Centre for Disability Services and Research
  • Capital Power


The Province of Alberta is working in partnership with the Government of Canada to provide employment support programs and services.