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Friday, October 30, 2020
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Tips & Training

How to identify decent work employers during the hiring process

As communities look to recover from the pandemic and many jobseekers look to re-enter the workforce, Canada’s non-profit sector of 170,000 non-profits and charities can provide opportunities to help both communities and jobseekers thrive again. Across the sector and around the country, more and more non-profits are becoming decent work champions. The benefits of decent work for employers and workers include improved team morale, more engaging work cultures, and an increased ability for organizations to fulfill their missions and thus for communities to thrive.

Decent workplaces are fair, stable and productive workplaces. Decent work means building a culture of equality and inclusion at work, and ensuring everyone’s voices are valued and heard.

Understanding and evaluating the culture of an organization can be difficult for job applicants. But finding a workplace with a decent work culture is worth the extra effort. Why? Because every worker deserves an employer who can provide job security, equitable income opportunities and a culture that can help them achieve their full potential.

Here are three ways jobseekers and career professionals alike can identify decent work employers during the hiring process.

Prioritize pay transparency during your job search

Pay transparency in job postings is one of the first ways an employer can demonstrate to workers their commitment to decent work and equity in hiring. Equitable compensation practices such as pay transparency can help employers reduce the gender wage gap and address systemic barriers that women face in compensation, especially racialized, immigrant, and Indigenous women, women with disabilities and women from the LGBTQ2S1 community.

“Every worker deserves an employer who can provide job security, equitable income opportunities and a culture that can help them achieve their full potential.”

Using job sites that require the disclosure of salaries or pay scales such as ONN’s Connect Jobs or WorkinCulture is an easy way to find employers who are on their own decent work journey.

Ask the right questions during the interview

When reviewing an employer’s website or annual report, don’t forget to check for policies or processes that they are implementing to advance decent work. If there is limited information offered online, the interview is a great opportunity to learn about the organization’s culture and how its decent work practices may affect one’s career.

From using equitable compensation practices to providing both paid sick and wellness days to developing anti-oppression policies, there are many ways for employers to advance decent work. Job applicants can use the interview to ask questions about the organization’s practices and determine if these practices align with their values and ideal working conditions.

Understand the details of a job contract

An offer on the table doesn’t mean the work is done. Analyzing the job contract, beyond the compensation level, can help set expectations for the role going forward and provide a job applicant with the opportunity to negotiate any benefits that are missing. Does the company offer health and dental benefits, give professional development and training, or provide the opportunity to join a retirement plan or defined-benefit pension plan? If not, are the lost benefits reflected in the salary or wage that they are offering?

Benefits such as a defined-benefit pension plan are only one of the many ways that employers can demonstrate that they value and implement decent work practices. For example, the Ottawa Art Gallery advances decent work in their organization by valuing shared decision-making. Each quarter, the entire staff reviews the annual budget to help ensure that everyone can participate in and be responsible for group decision-making.

Even though decent work employers may not be able to provide all of the benefits a worker is looking for, understanding the difference in benefits and the implications they have on a worker’s long-term job security, income growth and job satisfaction are important to realizing the full value of one’s contract. Whether a job applicant is starting their career or is an experienced leader in the non-profit sector, it’s important to search for an employer that can provide working conditions and a workplace culture that can help employees thrive in the present and prepare for the future of work.


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Melanie Rodriguez is a mother who is passionate about strengthening empathy and altruism in others. From advocating for access to early childhood education at the G7 Summit to working with over 20 non-profits around the world, her life is dedicated to providing children access to the resources they need to reach their full potential. Currently, she focuses on strengthening non-profits’ ability to help others as the Founder of Capacity Creation and as the Communications and Engagement Manager at the Ontario Nonprofit Network.
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Melanie Rodriguez is a mother who is passionate about strengthening empathy and altruism in others. From advocating for access to early childhood education at the G7 Summit to working with over 20 non-profits around the world, her life is dedicated to providing children access to the resources they need to reach their full potential. Currently, she focuses on strengthening non-profits’ ability to help others as the Founder of Capacity Creation and as the Communications and Engagement Manager at the Ontario Nonprofit Network.
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