International HR Day: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion are the Essence of Healthy Workplaces 

  • Equality & Diversity
International HR Day: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
Darren Chadwick

Darren Chadwick, Chief Executive Officer – Croner-I (UK); Chief Executive Officer (acting) – Peninsula & BrightHR Canada

(Last updated )

This Saturday, May 20th, is International HR Day.  

It is the day every year where we all acknowledge and appreciate the achievements and importance of Human Resource departments globally. It is extremely important that we recognize how integral our HR departments are in shaping our businesses.  

This year’s International HR Day theme is “Shaping the New Future” and the importance of fostering trust and equality, diversity, and inclusion – treating employees with dignity, honesty, and fairness.  

We are currently in a job market plagued by labour shortage and inflation, which is making it harder to find and also retain talented employees. It used to be easy to just recruit an applicant with the offer of a good wage package, but a competitive salary isn’t everything anymore.   

If you want to hold on or attract the best talent, you must look much further than the pay that you are giving them.  What will help you hold on to your employees and get the best out of them is to treat them well, offer stability, benefits, ongoing training, promotions, and professional growth.  

We also need to make sure that the above approaches include everyone. I mean everyone – no matter the age, race, religion, sexuality. It is important to make everyone feel valued and included.  So how do we do this? We do this through equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) and make this critical to building a fair and healthy work environment where employees feel valued and want to stay.  

So, what exactly do these words mean?    

Equity means fair treatment and equal access to opportunities for everyone irrespective of their background. This means equity in pay, and opportunities for growth and advancement within the company.    

It also means providing support to those who may need it to be able to compete with others on an equal footing. For instance, offering flexible work hours to working mothers, or providing reasonable accommodation to employees with health issues or disabilities.   

Diversity means differences in social and ethnic backgrounds, race, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, and more.   

Inclusion is what helps maintain diversity. An inclusive workplace recognizes the value diverse perspectives bring to the table and creates a sense of belonging by supporting all employees to perform their best.      

Equity, diversity, and inclusion are good for business.    

Hiring talent from diverse backgrounds brings a richness and variety of ideas, solutions, and life experiences to your business.    

A happier workforce is more likely to be more productive, engaged, and invested in making your business a success. A diverse team is also truly reflective of Canadian society and better suited to understand and cater to the needs of your diverse customers.    

Creating policies and procedures to promote workplace equity, diversity, and inclusion also ensures your business is compliant with the law and protected from fines, claims, and lawsuits.      

Know your EDI score.   

So, how will you know whether you are doing enough to promote workplace equity, diversity, and inclusion. If you are in your office, just stop reading for a bit and look around. What do you see?   

Is your workforce and management team reflective of the heterogeneity of Canadian people? Do men dominate your warehouse team? Are women filling up most administrative roles? Are there ethnicity/culture specific cliques in your lunchroom?    

Look further. Are your job descriptions inclusive? Do you conduct structured interviews to weed out recruitment bias? Do you have systems in place to prevent and address workplace discrimination, harassment, and bullying?    

Best practices to improve EDI in your workplace.   

Here are some best practices to improve EDI in your workplace:   

Keep bias out of recruiting.   

Sticking to an objective job description, going for blind resume reviews, skill assessments, and conducting structured interviews are some ways to stay objective during the recruitment process.   

Provide workplace training.    

EDI training helps recognize unconscious bias and teaches employees strategies to address such issues. Workshops on cultural sensitivity, anti-racism, anti-sexism training, and more, will go a long way towards building an inclusive and respectful workplace.   

Review company policies.   

Are the HR policies you’ve put in place effective? Do you need to update your policies on equity and inclusion? Do you need to spruce up your recruitment and hiring process? It is useful to annually review your company policies and handbooks to ensure you are legally compliant and creating a safe and healthy workplace for all your employees.   

Create a culture of transparency at work.   

You can improve employee trust and engagement by promoting openness and clarity in your communications with staff. Seeking regular employee feedback through anonymous employee surveys and polls is a good way to test the efficacy of your EDI policies and programs.     

Any lasting change you plan to bring about in your workplace begins by setting clear HR policies and sharing them with your employees. This is where having professional HR support is invaluable.    

As an employer, you only have benefits to reap when you work towards promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion in your workplace. Start today.   

And if you need any further advice on promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion in your workplace, give our HR experts a call on 1 (833) 247-3652. We’d be happy to help.

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