Cultural diversity and gender equality are playing key roles in hiring practices among dealers who want their workforces to more accurately reflect their customer base.
“[The] strategy is constantly revised to build cultural capacity in our workplace and promote inclusion for all our team members and our customers,” said Darryl Tuck, general manager of Birchwood Lexus in Winnipeg.
The store provides employees training such as communication and cultural-competency workshops, and it offers opportunities to “celebrate and share our team members’ stories and backgrounds, offering a personal glimpse into our rich backgrounds of culture, language, celebrations and so on,” Tuck said.
“With Lexus and all our dealerships, we highlight various team members by video,” said MaryAnn Kempe, chief human resources officer for the 23-store Birchwood Automotive Group. “They share their cultures, language and heritage with all team members.
“This has had an amazing impact. We call them our ‘influencers,’ very powerful when shared in a story.”
The company also reaches out to Indigenous groups as part of its recruitment efforts, Kempe said.
“As business leaders, we want to create a sense of community by forging partnerships with Indigenous organizations within Winnipeg,” she said. “Birchwood engages with the University of Manitoba Indigenous Commerce Students, a student group for those who identify with or have a common interest in enhancing Indigenous culture.
“We are members of a joint working consortium representing nine Winnipeg corporations . . . the focus is to employ Indigenous youth in a meaningful way by engaging in educational activities and experiences for mutual learning.”