Safeway tapped a world of innovation
Cliff Yeo chuckles at the Safeway of yesteryear.
“In the mid-80s, I was part of a management training group. All ten of us were white males, around the same age, most with young children. We were basically clones of each other,” says Yeo, smiling wryly at the memory.
“Imagine if our VP had asked that group to brainstorm for an innovative idea. How successful would we have been, compared to the Safeway of today, where our management teams now include women, people from all over the world, members of our aboriginal community, people with different sexual orientations and people with disabilities?” asks Yeo.
Yeo, a warm man with a friendly smile, is now a Human Resources Advisor with the giant supermarket chain, and over the years he’s seen Safeway evolve into an employer which consciously incorporates immigrants and other aspects of workforce diversity into every aspect of the business.
He notes that Safeway provides workshop training in diversity and inclusiveness for all management-level employees. It has a diversity website on their company intranet that includes a resource library and training materials. Progress on diversity goals is monitored quarterly, and results are embedded into leaders’ performance appraisals and compensation structure. All the diversity activity is coordinated by a corporate diversity and an inclusion department.
It seems to be working: Safeway was called one of “Canada's ‘Best Diversity Employers 2010.”
“We’re proud of our diverse team at Safeway. From our corporate offices to the front lines, Safeway is built on the strength of our people and we value the differences they bring to the workplace. Diversity of thought is what employers should strive for,” says Yeo.
We’re proud of our diverse team at Safeway. From our corporate offices to the front lines, Safeway is built on the strength of our people and we value the differences they bring to the workplace. Diversity of thought is what employers should strive for.