Answers to EDI questions you're afraid to ask

Jun 24, 2021
min read

Creating an environment where everyone on your team feels included and supported isn’t always possible without having those uncomfortable conversations – the hardest part is getting the ball rolling.

We told you to #AskHumi your questions about equity, diversity, and inclusion in the workplace. Thank you for being courageous and thoughtful, and trusting us with your questions. With the support of our EDI champions, we have some answers. Here’s what you had to say:

My company has so many open roles. Instead of hiring more recruiters, we hired a Director of Diversity & Inclusion (D&I). Why did this position take priority?

According to a 2018 study by global staffing firm Robert Half, nearly half of Canadian workers (40%) would decline a job offer if the role was a perfect fit, but the corporate culture wasn’t. In our recent blog, we emphasized that building an effective EDI strategy is essential in achieving that culture potential talent seek. 

The priority should be recentrializing EDI as a core business strategy, and while your HR personnel may have the toolkit to drive it, equity, diversity, and inclusion is worth more than one initiative on HR’s checklist. Hiring the right EDI leader for your company to build your strategy will only result in improving metrics on recruitment and retention. 

Does EDI sit with HR or senior leadership?

This is a tough question to answer because depending on who you ask, you’re bound to get a different response. EDI could technically be prioritized anywhere at the top of the organization because it intersects so many boundaries.  

As we mentioned, we recommend having an EDI champion spearhead your strategy, but in order to accomplish that ideal culture, one function shouldn’t own it. Rather, along with leveraging the guidance of the EDI leader, senior leadership and HR should work together to ensure your EDI strategy guides everything your business does. It’s when EDI becomes embedded in your culture that a truly equitable, diverse, and inclusive workplace is created and felt. 

Is it fair/right to hire somebody who doesn’t have the same qualifications on paper as a non-racialized or marginalized candidate because I’m trying to build a diverse culture?

First, it’s important to acknowledge that the reason many visible minorities don’t have the same qualifications as their able-bodied, cisgendered, white male counterparts is due to the systemic barriers that prevent them from accessing opportunities. 

To truly prioritize diversity and inclusion, Coach Carey said it best in our webinar, Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace: How to Create Sustainable Change, when she emphasized the need to invest in our diverse hires: 

“So if someone says, okay, I recognize that you may not have, as some people, as many qualifications, but can I invest in you, and we're also going to be covering the cost of this course… that person feels included and belonging – because the company is now believing in them and investing in them, and the chances of that person leaving that company within the first two years decreases significantly.”

While a certain candidate may sound perfect on paper, prioritizing diversity means making that extra effort to provide the right toolkit for diverse talent to succeed. That way, enhanced creativity and innovation in a comfortable, safe workplace is possible. 

My HR department is asking that we use more inclusive language at work. What does that mean?

The words you use, and the way you use them, can have a significant impact on your team. Assessing phrases and words that usually go unchallenged is pivotal in ensuring everyone feels safe and comfortable at work. Inclusive language means using language that is free from stereotyped, prejudiced, or discriminatory words, phrases and tones. Buffer has an excellent resource specific to startups and tech. 

It’s important to remember that changing personal habits requires patience and empathy. To learn more about how to navigate this, along with other simple ways to promote EDI in your workplace right now, check out our recent blog, Defining equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in the workplace

What would my company gain by being more diverse and inclusive?

Innovation stems from the ability to utilize different perspectives in approaching and finding solutions. Without a diverse team (i.e. diverse skills, cultural backgrounds, and life experiences), it’s possible that your company will lack those fresh perspectives that drive creativity and innovation. 

Many folks don’t see diversity as having an impact on their revenue or bottom line, but it has proven it does. A recent study by the Boston Consulting Group found that companies with diverse management have 19% higher revenue – meaning diversity isn’t just something to strive for, it’s an integral part of your business’ success. 

To learn more about why an EDI strategy is good for you and good for business, register for our free webinar on July 6th, Workplace equity, diversity, and inclusion. Where do I get started?

Topics in this article
Subscribe to Humi Blog
You can unsubscribe anytime. Privacy policy.

Subscribe to Think with Humi

Advice from Humi's leaders

Our newsletter is written by some of the brightest minds at Humi, with expertise in a wide range of topics: from customer experience to finance, and everything in between.

Not your typical content

We know that the world of business is constantly evolving – so you don’t need to be told the same advice you've been hearing for years. We keep things fresh and give you innovative ideas that come out of our experiences working at a startup.

Practical resources

We always try to provide a list of resources that we find useful. If a template or an article has helped us, it’s probably going to help you too.

Explore Topics