One of the common misconceptions about equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) is that it is for large organizations. The truth is that any size business from solopreneur to large global multinationals can apply the same principles of embedding EDI into the way that they operate. Here are a few ways you can start:
Recognize Your Own Bias
We all have our bias. Your bias is a learned memory. The recognition that hunting a deer versus a bear was a safer choice is an example of a learned bias transmitted through generations.
Fast-forward a few hundred centuries and these biases are still present in our society with good and bad implications. Biases are ingrained in us to help us make every decision, without even being conscious of it. The only way to control your bias is to be aware and recognize it. The more educated you and your team become about bias the more cognizant you can be of correcting the habit.
Include Human Resources
Today’s organizational structure is segmented to produce solutions and products in the most efficient way possible.
But how often do the finance team and the human resource team talk, let alone collaborate? How often do top directors and front-line workers chat about strategic decisions?
You never know what knowledge and experience someone has until you ask them. Start to take initiative to break down the traditional structure and learn from different people in your organization. You can also seek the opinions from mentors, informal board of advisors, experts or business advisors.
Diversify Your Suppliers
Whether you are a solopreneur or a large organization, you have suppliers. Supplier diversity is a key initiative that can help to create systemic change.
For example, when we move to having a three-quote process with at least one quote from a racialized or marginalized group, we are seeking to hire for diversity of thought rather than who we know.
Make Your Marketing Inclusive
Inclusive marketing will allow access to new audiences which leads to an increase in revenues. While the representation of imagery is important, that is only one aspect of inclusive marketing. It is important to also consider:
- Targeting audiences
- Advertising methods and locations
- Who are your champions and ambassadors
It may be overwhelming to think of all things that are possible to become more equitable and more inclusive as an organization, but you can start by choosing the one thing that will yield the most return.
Inclusivity is a way of life. It is a way of approaching projects and planning. It is about allowing for diversity of thought. When we just ask the question, “what viewpoint do I need to increase my impact?” then inclusion becomes easy.