From civil rights to women’s liberation movements, and many other leaps and bounds in between, there’s no doubt that we’ve made significant strides towards more equity and inclusion as a society

However, there is still much work to be done. Approximately 91% of board members in Canadian corporations are non-racialized.

Racialized women, Black men (and women), LGBTQ people+, persons with disabilities, and Indigenous peoples are practically invisible in corporate leadership roles, despite high levels of diversification within Canada.

Below are some active steps you can take to integrate more equality, representation, and diversity among your team.  

1. Acknowledge the Work That Needs to be Done

Change starts with accountability and acknowledgement. It is important to recognize where there is room for growth and how you can ensure more voices are heard within your organization.

Help your team understand any unconscious bias they may have; reflect on the culture of your organization and whether certain groups may feel alienated or under-represented.

Although studies and statistics continue to showcase the under-representation of minority groups in business leadership roles, it is also important to reflect personally on why and how your organization or team in particular lacks diversity and inclusion.

Reflect on your organization’s diversity and inclusion, be aware of the different communities represented within your organization or team, create  and fulfill company goals and initiatives related to accessibility, equity and inclusion, and maintain annual D&I reports.

2. Develop Policies to Prevent Discrimination

Developing anti-discrimination policies and procedures is a great way to form tangible solutions to combat or prevent discrimination in the workplace.

Policies offer active solutions and protocols to ensure that your workplace is safe, equitable and supportive, and that a culture of awareness is created.

Ensure people on your team are aware of these policies and procedures, that they know where and how to report a violation, and that policies and procedures are updated and approved annually.

Some policies you can implement include:  

  1. Zero-tolerance policy for discrimination and harassment,  
  2. Accessibility guidelines,  
  3. Having safe procedures in place for reporting workplace harassment and discrimination,  
  4. Offering flexible working environments,  
  5. Offering employee resources,  
  6. Mandatory bias training. 
3. Reflect on Your Hiring Procedures and Guidelines 

Hiring and recruitment plays a key role in ensuring that your team reflects diverse perspectives and voices. How and where you target candidates is crucial in making sure that you receive a diverse range of applicants from various communities, backgrounds and designated groups.

Consider partnering with community organizations, conduct bias training within your hiring department prior to the starting the hiring process, and use inclusive language when tailoring job descriptions.

More specific examples include blindly reviewing CVs without names or locations to eliminate any unconscious bias; and using alternative sources to reach a more diverse talent pool such as community groups dedicated to marginalized communities within a specified industry or profession.

You can also monitor and track your recruitment efforts using data metrics and/or recruitment software that measures and evaluates the success of your diversity recruiting process.

4. Empower Individuals to Speak Up and Create Safe Spaces for Dialogue 

Encourage open communication within your team and ensure that everyone’s experiences, perspectives and skills are heard and accounted for.

Hold meetings or conduct anonymous surveys to get regular feedback and suggestions on employee experience, company culture, adherence to company policies and opportunities for growth and development.

Provide safe spaces for your team to connect with one another and express and advocate for themselves through tools such as an anonymous complaint box, designating/hiring an Equity Diversity and Inclusion Officer, and having or helping establish a pro-active procedure and training in place for appropriately addressing discrimination or harassment.

5. Celebrate and Learn About Your Team’s Diversity

Most importantly, celebrate and value your team members’ unique perspectives and experiences. It is important to let your team members know how much you value them and their contributions both collectively and individually.

Celebrate your team’s diversity and excellence by recognizing different cultural and religious holidays, encouraging traditions, and celebrating their achievements.

Make equity, diversity and inclusion part of the general conversation through a company book club or company newsletter highlighting different perspectives, hold team events at diverse supplier locations, or host community circles and activities aimed at getting to know one another.  

The benefits of a diverse and inclusive workplace are endless. Being in a safe and encouraging environment enables more collaboration, brings unique and important perspectives, and ensures a positive and healthy workspace.  

Check out the following sources that were referenced in this blog post for more ways you can implement equity, diversity and inclusion in your workplace: