In today's business landscape, fostering a positive company culture goes hand in hand with embracing diversity and inclusion. Canadian enterprises are increasingly recognizing the value of cultivating an environment that celebrates differences and promotes equal opportunities.

The reason is simple. A diverse and inclusive workplace not only attracts top talent but also drives innovation and enhances overall organizational performance.

However, applying diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) policies is not always easy for managers who don’t have experience with it. As many important aspects can get overlooked, the following steps will help effective leaders have a broad vision of the key things to consider when working on their DEI policies.

1. Leadership Commitment and Accountability

Leadership's commitment to diversity and inclusion sets the stage for the entire organization. When leaders champion these values, it communicates a clear message of their importance.

According to a study by Deloitte, companies with inclusive leadership teams are 70% more likely to feel valued.

Research shows that the behaviours of leaders (be they senior executives or managers) can drive up to 70% points of difference between the proportion of employees who feel highly included and the proportion of those who do not. This effect is even stronger for minority group members. Furthermore, an increase in individuals’ feelings of inclusion translates into an increase in perceived team performance (+17%), decision-making quality (+20%), and collaboration (+29%).

This only shows how important implementing measurable goals and holding leaders accountable for diversity and inclusion initiatives is. A helpful way to do this is by assigning KPIs assessing progress to foster an inclusive culture.

2. Diverse Recruitment and Hiring Practices

“As always, when attempting to improve a part of your business, it’s important to ask yourself the following questions: What’s my goal? How do I measure success? Without clearly laying out these two important variables, it’s difficult to successfully improve your recruiting strategy for diversity,” according to Recruitee.

Once the goal is clear, HR managers can increase diversity in sourcing by following these steps recommended by Recruitee.

  1. Audit your job ads

  2. Target sources where diverse candidates congregate

  3. Encourage your diverse employees to refer their connections

  4. Offer internships to targeted groups

  5. Develop an employer brand that showcases your diversity

  6. Create company policies that appeal to diverse candidates

  7. Use blind resumes and anonymous interviews

  8. Harness AI to review resumes

3. Inclusive Onboarding and Training

Develop training programs that promote cultural sensitivity and awareness among employees. This can enhance cross-cultural collaboration and reduce misunderstandings.

Another great strategy is implementing mentorship and sponsorship programs that pair employees from diverse backgrounds with senior leaders. This fosters professional growth and creates a sense of belonging.

4. Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)

Employee Resource Groups provide safe spaces for employees to connect based on shared identities or interests. Encourage their formation as they amplify diverse voices and contribute to a sense of community.

Companies with innovative DEI practices usually leverage ERGs as think tanks to gain insights on specific diversity-related challenges and solutions. Their input can be used to inform strategic decisions.

5. Inclusive Communication and Policies

Ensuring that official documents, job descriptions, and internal communication resonate with all employees, regardless of their background, is essential to ensure inclusivity.

When creating DEI company rules, it’s also important to institute zero-tolerance policies for discrimination and harassment. Communicate them clearly to all employees and provide accessible ways for reporting incidents.

6. Flexible Work Arrangements

Offer flexible work arrangements that accommodate diverse needs, such as caregiving responsibilities or religious observances. A survey by Statistics Canada found that 80% of employees value flexible work arrangements.

For instance, it can be highly challenging for caregivers to find a balance between their responsibilities and work. Managers must show them support and adapt their workflow to allow them to find this balance and not feel overwhelmed. Watch this webinar to learn how to support them!

7. Measurement and Continuous Improvement

Conduct regular diversity audits to assess the representation of different groups within the organization. Use the data to identify areas that require attention.

An easy-to-implement way to start this assessment is to create channels for employees to provide anonymous feedback on diversity and inclusion efforts. HR departments can act on this feedback to continuously refine strategies.

In conclusion, embracing diversity and inclusion is not only a moral imperative but also a strategic advantage for Canadian enterprises. By weaving these principles into the fabric of the company culture, HR leaders can contribute to a thriving workplace that values every individual's unique contributions.

Does your company have Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI) policies in place?

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Poll ended on 31 December 2023
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