3 essential steps to start your EDI strategy right

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Needless to say that 2020 has been and will remain a transition year in many regards. It made all of us reflect on how we do things. The tragic events that took place in the US last summer, as well as the closer and more recent ones here, have led many organizations to rethink their work environment to make them more inclusive. Considering the complexity of the issues raised by these questions, many don’t know how to go about it or where to start. That’s why we’ve put together the following 3 steps to help guide you in your reflexion and approach when it comes to EDI.

Clarify your objectives

First of all, it’s important to clarify the organizational objectives within which your equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) will live instead of writing a separate set of objectives for EDI. A relatively easy, but very important task. Too often, businesses act hastingly to create processes, train their teams and create new positions, but omit to define what they aim to do. Before rushing into anything, it is crucial to take the time to define your priorities, your objectives and motives. This reflection will guide your actions with intent and will help you assign resources and put efforts in the right initiatives. Last month, Quebec’s business scene’s stakeholders called on businesses to create innovative and inclusive initiatives to revive the economy. A great gesture, but one that must be thought of long term rather than short term.

Go from actions to words

We’ve seen it through the last months, it’s often in times of crisis that we think about EDI. Nevertheless, these questions were present before any crisis and will still be there once the crisis passes. The problem is that we tend to ignore them. And it’s often the reason why we find ourselves in a crisis to begin with. Most businesses’ go-to is to list their actions instead of putting them in motion. As a matter of fact, after the tragic events leading to the death of George Floyd, we saw a plethora of organisations talking about their intentions to take action in support of the #BLM movement. Despite the good intentions of most organizations, many of them have been criticized for their lack of sincerity. We can think, for example, of businesses like Nike, Spotify and Netflix to name a few. Why not take the opposite route and take action before communicating? Once again, we must take the time to reflect and ensure that our messages and actions are coherent and reflect our objectives. It is also vital to put our team at the core of our initiatives. Therefore, before rushing to announce initiatives externally, make sure to talk to your teams first.

Use the right resources

While organizations often have good intentions, they often forget key elements in their approach due to a lack of expertise in EDI or a misunderstanding of the issues. Since many are unsure about the path to take, many organizations create committees, new EDI positions or even ask their team members from diverse backgrounds to counsel them in their actions. Even if that seems like a good idea at first, it’s rarely a productive one. We tend to forget that governance and inclusive communications are indeed fields of expertise. They require a knowledge and understanding of human resources, communications, governance, different audiences’ realities and a capacity to analyze different workplace dynamics. Starting an efficient EDI strategy requires more than an exchange, it requires a holistic approach to the process, an investment and a commitment from the organization.

All in all, we are aware that it can be challenging for organizations to factor in all of these aspects to create an inclusive workplace. It may be challenging, but it’s definitely not impossible. Align your initiatives with your objectives and invest time and resources in your actions rather than your external communications, understand that you need EDI expertise to back you and you’ll be on the right path to get an impactful EDI strategy started.

June 29, 2021

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