Meaningful change is a journey, one that doesn’t stop after making the commitment. It is now time to put the plan into action and create a safe and inclusive workplace for women. Keep your plan close by so you don’t lose sight of your goals. We Are Trades recommends to start with the most common barriers for women in the skilled trades such as facilities and equipment, professional practices and behaviours. Concentrating on a few strong actions will allow the workplace to transform one step at a time. 


Everyone works best when their workspace, gear, and equipment are safe. Take a close look at your equipment and facilities, and ask what’s safe and what’s not. Safe and inclusive workplaces include:

  • A supply of PPE, workwear and equipment that fits all workers properly and safely (e.g. fit the body)
  • Equipment and tools that are in good repair
  • Washroom and change room facilities that are close to the worksite and appropriate for all genders (e.g. soap, garbage disposal and consideration for hygiene products)
  • A clean and organized work environment following workspace standards
  • Proper workplace risk assessments including pregnancy risk assessments


A safe and inclusive skilled trades workplace is free of all types of psychological harm, including harassment, bullying, and microaggressions. In order to create this environment, everyone at every level of the organization must be responsible for their own behaviour as part of a professional team. Acceptable and professional behaviour as outlined in the We Are Trades individual pledge includes:

  • Stay up-to-date with and practice anti-harassment and respectful workplace policies
  • Share knowledge with new team members
  • Recognize the skills of colleagues
  • Give supportive, open-minded and positive encouragement
  • Value the differences that people bring to the workplace
  • Speak up when hearing or seeing unacceptable or unsafe behaviour
  • Speak to others respectfully
  • Listen to and support others
  • Don’t make assumptions about others
  • Collaborate with others to help improve the workplace


Diversity is part of the path to inclusion, but hiring diverse talent does not automatically create an inclusive workplace. The danger in focusing exclusively on the hiring process is that it does not prepare the workplace to appropriately include underrepresented groups like women, once they are brought onto the team. Safe and inclusive practices must be implemented at every stage of the employee experience. Policies and practices that include everyone are crucial for successful retention of the best possible talent.

Recruitment and Hiring

Having diverse job applicants means that you are recruiting from the largest possible talent pool. If you don’t see diversity in those applying to fill vacant roles, there is opportunity to improve your processes. Review and update your recruitment and hiring processes to include:

  • The good work you’re already doing, such as existing inclusive language and photos
  • Gender inclusive language and equal opportunity employer statement in job postings
  • Job postings that include only skills applicable to the job
  • New opportunities for hiring talent (e.g. colleges, women in trades programs, associations, etc.)
  • Unbiased selection practices (e.g. masked resumes, diverse hiring panels, etc.)

Welcoming Orientation and Onboarding

The purpose of orientation is to make new team members feel comfortable and competent as soon as possible. A new employee’s onboarding experience should reflect the level of attention, care and consideration attributed to people and productivity. An inclusive and welcoming orientation and onboarding includes:

  • A detailed site tour which outlines all important facilities, safety and reporting information, and an overview of all company policies
  • Consistent training and the opportunity for feedback 
  • Assigning a mentor to each new employee
  • Clear expectations are provided by a supervisor at the beginning with regular follow up
  • An opportunity for each new employee to provide feedback about the orientation and onboarding process after 1-2 months
  • Procedures, policies and collective agreements that contain gender inclusive language

Retention of Talent

Workers are more likely to stay if they feel safe and included. People who feel respected and accommodated at work are some of the most dedicated and loyal employees. Be proactive and don’t wait for a loss of talent you can’t afford. Strong retention practices include:

  • Go-to people that are available for concerns/complaints on all shifts.  They should be trained and supported by a clear conflict resolution process
  • Pay equity processes and equal opportunity for training and promotion
  • Confidential harassment policies and processes are followed properly
  • Regular and agile employee review or feedback processes at all levels 
  • A recognition process that appeals to your workers (e.g. formal reward program or informal positive and open feedback)
  • Support systems for women in the workforce (ask them!)
  • Appropriate and consistent parental leave and pregnancy policies (e.g. fetal protection)
  • Appropriate accommodation around benefits including family, childcare, and/or personal responsibility
  • Consideration and options for flexible work and/or transportation needs