PLT Canada’s Diversity and Inclusion Webinars Are Changing How I Hire Staff

July 02, 2020

Jim Kurta, Founder and Owner, Westroad Resource Consultants, with his dog, Zip, outside his home in Quesnel, B.C. Westroad helps forestry companies manage timber harvesting and replanting.

By Jim Kurta

Working with PLT Canada is changing the face of my company. Hiring youth through PLT Canada’s Green Jobs program has opened up opportunities for me to diversify my staff. The program also offers wage matching, which makes hiring a bright young worker even more attractive.

Bringing more youth into Westroad fits with my idea of the future. When I think of the future, I imagine a diverse, youth-friendly team delivering value for our forest sector clients. But when I think of the people I’ve hired over the last 28 years, most of them look a lot like me. At Westroad, we could do more to embrace diversity, and I’m happy that PLT Canada is there to help me do this.  

I’ve always thought more women, youth, and Indigenous staff would energize Westroad and really show we are engaged with the communities where we live and work. But at the same time, I’ve experienced challenges when it comes to hiring more diverse staff. That’s why I didn’t hesitate to sign up for PLT Canada’s Green Jobs Employer Webinar Series.

Webinar 1—Diversity and Inclusion in Green Jobs: The Promise of Behavioural Design (watch the video)

The first webinar focused on behavioural design, combining behavioural science, psychology, economics, and neuroscience. It gave me a lot to think about and showed me that, despite my best intentions, I have more work to do.

I found the discussion on unconscious bias and how we favour people who look like us thought-provoking. Now I make every effort to check my bias as I interact with people. I ask myself if I’m suffering from “similarity bias” that could be leading me to unconsciously favour people who are similar to me.

The webinar also showed me how it’s easy to rely too much on initial, sometimes irrelevant, information when making hiring decisions—this was described as “anchoring bias.”

Webinar 2— New Ways to Attract Diverse Green Job Candidates (watch the video)

The second webinar met the same high bar as the first one. I’m already using some of the things I learned to change Westroad’s hiring practices.

Our new job postings and mission statement are just some examples of the very real changes we’re making at Westroad. Today, our job postings explicitly reference diversity and inclusion and use language that I hope will help all candidates feel welcome. These same words and ideals are also embedded in our new mission statement.

The webinar also offered lots of practical approaches to making a diverse workforce thrive. For example, the concepts covered by BAM—Belonging, Autonomy, Mastery—should help us build a welcoming workplace. Feelings of belonging improve motivation and performance. Autonomy helps people feel in control. A workplace culture that encourages mastery shows we are a company that helps people build their skills.

Mark your calendars for the next two webinars, July 8 and August 12

I’m expecting the same high value from Webinar 3, Make Better Hiring Decisions When Staffing Your Green Job, and webinar 4, Create an Inclusive Culture for Your Green Workplace.

If you’re interested in diversity and inclusion in the workplace, you should register today for webinar 3 and webinar 4.

The future I imagine, where everyone at Westroad can be proud to be part of a diverse, youth-friendly team, is getting closer.

Are you an employer who has benefited from PLT Canada’s Employer Webinar? We would love to hear about what you have done or are planning to do with what you learned and feature your story in our newsletter. Email info@pltcanada.org for more information.

PLT Canada’s Green Jobs program is supported in large part by our employer networks at the Canadian Parks Council and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). Check out the PLT Canada Mentorship Program for Youth in Forestry and Conservation and PLT Canada’s Green Jobs E-Summits. PLT Canada is an initiative of SFI.



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