Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI)5At Bell, we do not just accept difference – we celebrate it. We are proud of our focus on fostering an inclusive, equitable and accessible workplace where all team members and customers feel valued, respected and supported. We are dedicated to building a workforce that reflects the diversity of the communities we serve, where every team member has the opportunity to reach their full potential.
WHY IT MATTERSG R I 103
Organizations that have integrated diversity, equity and inclusion programs foster team member innovation and creativity, widen the talent pool and increase team member satisfaction. This leads to greater profitability and reduced costs, all the while enhancing engagement among our team members
WHAT WE ARE DOING
Bell has a variety of diversity and inclusion programs and initiatives across the country. We have set objectives while monitoring and reporting on our ongoing performance.
Our Diversity Leadership Council (DLC) champions DEI across the organization, defining Bell’s DEI strategy and developing company-wide implementation plans for specific actions. The DLC is comprised of 14 diverse senior leaders, including vice presidents and above, who represent each business unit as well as the markets we serve across Canada. Under their leadership, we work to ensure that our business strategy and human resources policies align with our DEI goals.
In addition to the DLC, our governance framework includes a dedicated DEI office, business unit committees and Employee Resource Groups (Black Professionals at Bell, resiliency at Bell and Women at Bell) to support our DEI strategy. These committees and groups have a direct impact on employee experience and engagement, and are key drivers in creating an inclusive environment at Bell. Through ongoing meetings, events and initiatives focused on various topics – including career development, peer mentoring, networking, awareness and education, and community engagement – they provide a forum for celebrating the diversity that each of us brings to the workplace, as well as for learning from one another, and growing as a result.
As a key leader of our diversity initiatives, Bell President and CEO Mirko Bibic consistently reinforced our commitment to inclusion throughout 2021, reaching out to all employees on five key inclusion dates – Black History Month, International Women's Day, International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, National Indigenous Peoples Day and International Day of Persons with Disabilities – as well as supporting campaign launches. He also hosted a series of meetings with committee members of our Employee Resource Groups.
In step with our overarching corporate objective to improve gender diversity at all levels, including in our senior leadership, Bell is a signatory to the Catalyst Accord 2022 and a member of the 30% Club, which aim to increase the proportion of women serving on Canadian corporate boards to at least 30%. In 2021, Bell exceeded this target with two new Board appointments (women now represent 36% of BCE’s full Board of Directors, and 38% of non-executive Board members). A member of the 30% Club and a signatory to the Catalyst Accord 2022, Bell leads with more ambitious targets: we aim for a minimum 35% gender diverse representation among directors on the BCE Board moving forward, and at least 35% of Bell leaders at the VP level and above by the end of 2023.
Target: 35% gender diverse representation in executive positions (vice president level and above) by the end of 20231
Target: 35% gender diverse representation among directors on the BCE Board
We also continue advocating for more women to take on roles in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and are expanding efforts to increase the representation of other underrepresented groups, such as visible minorities, Indigenous peoples and persons with disabilities. In 2021, Bell partnered with The WIT Network (WIT), a global and local not-for-profit organization that provides inspiration, education, mentoring, networking and practical advice to empower women to build and grow their careers in technology and pursue their ambitions. It focuses on encouraging women and girls to study STEM and pursue careers in tech, enabling more women to attain leadership positions and career advancement and helping companies change the landscape of gender equality.
In 2021, Bell continued pursuing its endeavour to take meaningful actions to address the impacts of systemic racism on Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) individuals at our company and in our communities. Along with a number of education and awareness initiatives, this includes a target for BIPOC representation on our senior management team of at least 25% by 2025 (at the director level and above and including executive officers), and a target of 40% BIPOC representation in our graduate and intern hires. In 2021, we exceeded our BIPOC representation target in new graduate and intern hires by achieving 41% representation.2
To even further our commitment, we intend to sign on to become a Progressive Aboriginal Relations (PAR) program through the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, which is a premier corporate social responsibility program with an emphasis on Aboriginal relations.
Target: 25% BIPOC representation in Bell senior management (director level and above and including executive officers) by 2025
Target: 40% BIPOC representation in new graduate and intern hires
In 2021, we committed to making our products and services more accessible, and we have established a company-wide Accessibility Program and an Executive Steering Committee across the BCE group of companies. The Committee’s mandate is to establish the governance required to achieve accessibility compliance, create sustainable policies, deliver tools and processes and educate team members. The Program has seven areas of focus to enable a barrier-free environment for employees and customers: Digital, Human Resources, Documents, Procurement, Buildings, Products & Services and Customer Operations. As part of our effort to continuously advance our DEI strategy, we consult with members of various identity groups to understand their experiences at work. In 2021, we facilitated a series of virtual feedback consultations, encouraging discussions around workplace experiences and inclusion at Bell. In conjunction with our Bell Team survey results, we analyzed the insights to identify areas of opportunity and look to continuously improve our strategic direction and adopt best practices.
Performance in 2021
Our DEI strategy and high self-disclosure rate of 83% have significantly increased our understanding of the representation of visible minorities, Indigenous peoples and persons with disabilities in our workforce. We have maintained our strategic focus on making our senior leadership team more representative of our overall employee population through focused talent management strategies and best-in-class development programs for high-potential leaders, including those from equity-deserving groups.
Workforce diversity (in %)GRI 405-1
- Executives1Footnote: Vice presidents and above
As part of Bell’s commitment to addressing racism and discrimination while building a diverse and inclusive workplace, and in addition to the targets we have set for BIPOC representation, Bell has also stepped up by developing partnerships with leading BIPOC organizations, holding events and providing resources to support a diverse and inclusive workplace. See our Supporting diversity, equity and inclusion in our communities information sheet to learn more.
Bell is committed to fostering positive relationships with Indigenous peoples and communities and has moved forward on implementing major infrastructure projects and the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. For more information, please see the Supporting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in our communities information sheet.
As part of our continued effort to spotlight Gender Inclusive Practices, we launched new pronoun guidance and templates for team members to update their email signatures, directory information and nametags for retail employees. Since the initiative was launched, over 1,000 team members have updated their directory information, and 400 team members have completed our Gender Inclusive Practices training, developed in partnership with TransFocus Consulting. This training has been very well received, with an overall satisfaction score of 92%.
Additionally, we hosted instructor-led sessions in 2021 that addressed the importance of inclusive language – the daily practice of intentional word selection that conveys respect to all. These sessions showed us how to become more intentional with language and begin to create inclusive environments for everyone.
The impact of our sustained efforts are apparent in the results of our annual team member survey: in 2021, 85% of team members responded favourably to the statement “People of all backgrounds (cultural, gender, age, religion, ability, etc.) can succeed in my company.” Bell works with leading diversity and inclusion-focused organizations to provide team members with access to partner events, mentoring, networking and other professional development resources including Ascend Canada, the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion, Catalyst, the Black Professionals in Tech Network (BPTN), Indigenous Works, Lime Connect, the Onyx Initiative, Pride at Work, Women in Communications and Technology (WCT), Women in Tech (WIT).
Diversity awards and recognitions
In 2021, Bell was recognized as one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers for the fifth consecutive year. This award acknowledges our successful diversity initiatives in a variety of areas, including programs for employees from the following groups: women; Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC); visible minorities; persons with disabilities and the LGBTQ2S+ community.
In 2021, Bell’s supplier diversity program was named the most improved by Women Business Enterprise Canada, reflecting our focus on promoting women-owned suppliers as we continue to build a more inclusive, equitable and accessible workplace. Bell’s supplier diversity program promotes the active inclusion of diverse businesses owned and managed by women, visible minorities, Indigenous peoples, the LGBTQ2S+ community, Veterans and persons with disabilities.
In 2021, Bell was named Corporation of the Year by the Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council (CAMSC) for our support of supplier diversity and promotion of Indigenous and visible minority-owned suppliers. CAMSC enables a wide range of programs and services to assist BIPOC suppliers in better accessing business opportunities at major companies.
Bell Canada has also been recognized as one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers (2021), Canada’s Top Employers for Young People (2021), Montréal’s Top Employers (2021) and Canada’s Top Family-Friendly Employers (2021), and received the TalentEgg’s Special Award for Social Responsibility in Recruiting (2021), underscoring our commitment to fostering an inclusive workplace for all employees.
To learn more about our team members who were recognized by diversity awards and recognitions, see Supporting diversity, equity and inclusion in our communities and our Team member recognition information sheets.
“Bell diversity groups work to raise cultural awareness across the company, engage talent in various BIPOC communities and support team members’ professional development”
Axel Ntakaburimvo Ndayiragije, Senior Manager Call Center Operations, Montréal, Québec
With a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Polytechnique Montreal, Axel was eager to continue learning and saw an opportunity to do it at Bell. In his first three years with Bell as part of the new graduate program, Axel held five different positions in areas ranging from field operations to data analysis. After attending a panel discussion during Black History Month, Axel was inspired to join Black Professionals at Bell (BPB), an employee resource group founded in 2018. Inspired by their mission, he became the group’s project management lead and has now transitioned to inclusion & measurement lead. BPB’s activities are just one example of the company’s ongoing efforts to align its business strategy and human resources policies with its diversity, equity and inclusion goals.