August 9, 2023 All Articles

Meet the Speaker: Patricio Gutierrez, Strategic Consultant – EDI&A, Randstad Canada

As a strategic consultant for the EDI&A division within Randstad Canada, Patricio works with clients to identify their business needs, develop EDI&A strategies to address them, and ensures successful implementation. He collaborates with cross-functional teams to deliver value and impact to clients. 

As a gay dad and a person of color, Patricio has had a unique lived experience that has shaped him into the man he is today. Growing up, he often felt like he didn’t fit in, and it wasn’t until later in life that he discovered his true identity and found a community where he felt like he belonged.

As a gay man, Patricio has experienced both acceptance and discrimination, and while society has come a long way in terms of 2SLGBTQIA+ rights, there is still a long way to go. He has faced homophobia, but has also found support and love. Being a gay dad has its own set of challenges, including having to navigate parenting in a society that still views traditional family structures as the norm. Despite this, Patricio has found a strong support system and has been able to raise his child with love and acceptance.

Overall, Patricio’s lived experience has taught him the importance of standing up for what he believes in and being true to himself. Through embracing his own identity, Patricio has found the strength to advocate for diversity and inclusion both in and out of the workplace. While there have been challenges along the way, he is proud of who he is, the communities he belongs to and he’s excited to motivate and inspire organizations to make positive change.

We caught up with Patricio in preparation for his involvement in the Wellbeing at Work Summit Canada which takes place from September 26-28 live and in-person in Toronto & Calgary to find out why he is so passionate about wellbeing at work and why he is looking forward to the Summit.

We are thrilled that you will be speaking at our Wellbeing at Work Canada Summit in September. Our first and most important question is, how are you doing today?

I am doing great thanks. I woke up this morning feeling inspired and motivated. Also, thank you for asking. I find that now-a-days that question has become so ingrained in our day to day conversations, that I find that most times there is no sincerity behind that question or care as to how I’m actually feeling. Same goes with the response “good”. It seems to be everyone’s go to question and answer. Just like how the weather is typically an ice breaker for conversation.

As a leader based in the region, what are the main challenges your you are facing when it comes to employee wellbeing?

For me the main challenges I face when it comes to wellbeing – as an employee – is feeling guilty when I take time off for myself and my wellbeing. Any and every time I take a personal day off, there is always a part of me that feels like I am not being supportive of my team, or like I’m leaving them “in the dust”. That being said, I understand that my wellbeing is crucial in being productive and staying motivated at work. Another challenge I face is disconnecting when I work from home – I say this as I sit on my couch, on a beautiful evening, typing this out. There is also the mental health component to it as well, whereas despite growing awareness around mental health and overall wellbeing, there is still stigma surrounding it that can lead to feeling a certain level of inadequacy. For example, not wanting to share your mental health struggles for fear of being looked at as weak or incapable of handling a stressful situation/moment in your life, or even doing your job.
And finally but not finally, being a member of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, my wellbeing is challenged on the daily by all the homophobic and transphobic rhetoric going on nowadays, where it feels like we’re taking steps backwards instead of forwards. Any form of discrimination, negatively affects the wellbeing of marginalized people/employees.

What strategies have you seen developing over the past 6 months, both internally and externally, that is moving the dial on wellbeing in the workplace?

One of the strategies has been the implementation of our Business Resource Groups and the momentum they gained within our organization since they were created a couple of years ago. Being a member of a few of these BRGs provides myself and other employees within our organziation, a safe space where we feel supported, seen, heard and understood. It allows for allies to learn from others’ lived experiences. As employee wellbeing gains recognition as a crucial aspect of a productive and sustainable workforce, our organization has been developing various strategies to improve employee wellbeing such as, flexible work arrangements, mental health support and D&I initiatives, to name a few. Regular feedback through surveys or focus groups has also helped identify potential areas of improvement and tailor wellbeing initiatives to meet the specific needs of all employees.

Why is employee wellbeing so important to you personally? 

Employee wellbeing is SO important to me personally because when I am not well, I am not productive, focused or motivated. My wellbeing is also important to me because without it, I am not the best version of myself. Overall, my wellbeing impacts every aspect of my life because it encompasses the overall state of my physical, mental, and emotional health. Prioritizing my wellbeing leads to a healthier, happier, and more prosperous me. But it is not just about personal happiness, it’s also about building a sustainable and thriving world for everyone. My wellbeing contributes to a more fulfilling and meaningful life, that’s why it’s SO important to me.

What are you most looking forward to about the Summit in September? 

I am most looking forward to connecting with other leaders in the region and learning more on why wellbeing is so important to them. I look forward to gaining valuable insights, strategies, and resources that will enhance my personal and professional life in order to be the catalyst for change in and out of work. It’s always worth connecting with others that are aligned with the same vision and/or goals.

Tell us, what is your vision for the workplace of the future, in terms of engagement, health and wellbeing?

My vision for the workplace of the future is one that embraces and welcomes everyone, and prioritizes engagement, health and wellbeing. A workplace that will prioritize creating a culture where the well-being and satisfaction of employees are central to decision-making. My vision for a workplace is also one that supports its employees to become the best version of their true selves and motivates them to reach their full potential.

What areas do you think employers should be focused on over the next 12 months? 

I think employers should focus on employee engagement, health, and wellbeing as these are key drivers to the success of any organization. I think employers should focus on creating a culture that fosters a sense of belonging, purpose, and empowerment. A culture that supports and nurtures its most valuable asset: its people.

How has your organization been leading the way? 

My organization has been leading the way by providing safe spaces through the implementation of the BRGs. These are spaces where employees feel supported and heard. The organization has provided ongoing training to leaders to ensure that they are properly equipped with the tools and resources necessary to support their team/colleagues in almost any capacity.

Patricio will be speaking in Calgary at the Wellbeing at Work Summit Canada that takes place both live and in-person in Toronto and Calgary, and virtually for the wider region. Further details on the Summit can be found here.

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