Equity, diversity and inclusion: building blocks for respect

June 16th, 2021 Research

Equity, diversity, and inclusion, or ‘EDI’, are key values that contribute to the fabric and sustainability of any organization. While the acronym EDI is often used broadly, and the individual terms used interchangeably, it is important to understand the distinctions between these terms, and how they are essential to building a culture of respect in any organization.

Source: Inclusion by Design: Insights from Design Week Portland; Gensler

 

The infographic above from Gensler provides the individual definitions and visual depictions of diversity, equity, and inclusion. While the elements of these terms overlap and build upon one another, there are clear differences in what they mean and look like in practice. While diversity involves recognizing and celebrating the differences between individuals, equity focuses on fair treatment and access to opportunities for all, particularly individuals who have been marginalized within our society (Gensler, 2019). Inclusion involves having a range of voices and representation from all members of an organization involved in both power-sharing and decision-making (Gensler, 2019).

Recognition of and support for equity, diversity, and inclusion within organizations strengthens both the organization as a whole and the individuals working within it. The third report in a series from McKinsey exploring the business case for diversity and inclusion demonstrates that internationally, companies whose executive teams were more diverse across gender, ethnicity, and culture significantly outperformed their less diverse counterparts, who tended to underperform financially (Hunt et al., 2020). Two keys to the successes of the former group are a systematic approach to diversity and inclusion, and taking bold action to strengthen inclusion (Hunt et al., 2020). Key ‘pain points’ identified by employees who felt their organizations did not prioritize inclusion were a lack of equality, openness, and belonging (Hunt et al., 2020). Further, employees felt that leadership taking strong action to promote openness, belonging, and equality of opportunity was a necessary component of inclusive cultures (Hunt et al., 2020).

Taken together, diverse, inclusive, and equitable organizations are not only more profitable, but support environments that are physically and psychologically safe, where all individuals are respected and have the opportunity to thrive. These successful organizations do not tolerate behaviours that undermine respect, such as bullying, abuse, harassment, or disrimination, or BAHD behaviours. They understand the importance of preventing these behaviours and how to address them should they occur.

Equity, diversity, and inclusion are foundational cornerstones built into all Respect Group programs. Through exploring the value of EDI, the root causes of BAHD behaviours and how to mitigate them, our curriculum highlights the importance of building a positive, respectful culture. Respect Programs include relevant and timely content, including and beyond the following:

  • preventing and dealing with BAHD
  • racism and unconscious bias
  • accessibility for all
  • occupational health & safety legislation
  • supporting marginalized communities, including newcomers to Canada and the LGBTQ+ community
  • content updates influenced by important cultural and political movements and acts, including Truth & Reconciliation, Black Lives Matter, and #MeToo

 

Above all, our programs focus on a key theme of empowering the bystander and the role every individual can play in promoting respect within their organization. More information about our individual programs can be found through the links below:

 

References:  

 

Hunt, V., Dixon-Fyle, S., Dolan, K., Prince, S. (2020). Diversity wins: How inclusion matters. Retrieved from https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/diversity-and-inclusion/diversity-wins-how-inclusion-matters

 

Gensler and Kim, S.J. (2019). Inclusion by Design: Insights from Design Week Portland. Retrieved from https://www.gensler.com/blog/inclusion-by-design-insights-from-design-week-portland 

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