How to prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace

The leading companies in the country know the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion, and it goes beyond simply checking a box or filling a quota

Canadian Business
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In a few weeks, the 2021 list of Canada’s Best Managed Companies will be announced—and that’s something to get excited about. These companies are the high-performance businesses that energize our economy, even in the toughest of times. We’re looking into their DNA and what makes them outstanding in their field, and it is clear that one of those factors is a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. This year, for example, 24 per cent of the new winners have a CEO that identifies as a member of a diverse group. But it goes beyond that. Deloitte’s DE&I Special Advisor to the Best Managed Companies Program, Chinmaya Thakore, explains that, “as a first step, it is critical to understand what diversity, equity and inclusion does not mean—it’s not simply a matter of checking a box or filling a quota. This is about equitable sponsorship of everyone who has an aspiration to lead and progress. Therefore, a successful diversity, equity and inclusion strategy involves accepting and implementing it as a standard practice within the culture, training, policies, skills and every every aspect of running and building a successful business.”

To that end, here’s how some of these companies are prioritizing—and championing—diversity, equity and inclusion in their workspaces:

  • Ensuring that clients are able to be served in their language of choice—meaning hiring staff that speak more than 50 languages
  • Allowing and encouraging uniform modifications for religious purposes and celebrating holidays, festivals and traditions of all cultures
  • Keeping a close eye on the percentage of marginalized and other underrepresented areas in their business and continuously creating opportunities where there are gaps
  • Making an effort to go beyond stereotypical hiring and creating more opportunities for women in traditionally male-dominated roles
  • Going above and beyond traditional hiring by looking globally and providing immigration support, language-skills training and team-integration assistance
  • Committing to inclusion, equity and diversity beyond the workplace by donating to social justice organizations and encouraging employees to follow suit with a donation-matching program
Chinmaya Thakore, Deloitte’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Special Advisor to the Best Managed Companies program

“As leaders, we want our Best Managed companies to feel empowered to act, paving the way for businesses across Canada. If we want to prosper and succeed in these very disruptive times, we will need the full strength of the Canadian demographic and we will need to pivot from the old practices,” adds Thakore.

Though diversity, equity and inclusion is not the only solution to a well-managed company, it is a common success factor among companies on this year’s Best Managed list. The Best Managed community is a platform to strengthen the bonds between like-minded companies and nurture new relationships—driving Canada toward a more prosperous future.