EDI Mistakes to Avoid 

A group of three people at a desk with computers in front of them in a brightly lit and spacious room.

EDI Mistakes to Avoid 

With the changes in our workforce landscape and implementation of new legislation, such as the Accessible Canada Act, workplace accessibility, equity, diversity, and inclusion are more of a priority than ever. There are many reasons for hiring diversity, such as better workplace culture and employee performance or better retention rate and employee engagement. Although we all try out best, we can make mistakes that hinder our success in our equity diversity and inclusion journey, especially around disability and accessibility.  

At INNoVA, we understand that to succeed we must gain knowledge, collaborate, and be innovative to support our current and future workforce. Did you know the number of people with disabilities in Canada continues to increase, forecasted to grow from one in five to one in four? With equity diversity and inclusion initiatives on the rise, lets look at some mistakes we can avoid. 

1. The Diversity Grab & Drop 

When committing to diversity and inclusion some companies will invite diverse candidates in with no follow through to support a diverse workforce. A study completed by McKinsey & Co. showed that the feelings workers had about diversity in their organizations were more positive (52% positive) than those about inclusion (61% negative)​ (McKinsey & Company, 2020)​. Ensuring that you can support your diverse workforce with best practices, accessible policies and support throughout the employee lifestyle is essential in retaining a happy and productive workforce that encourages individual expression of needs.  

2. Compliance vs Best Practices 

Every organization has their own approach to equity, diversity, and inclusion at work. While some may be ahead of the crowd, others may be feeling confused and overwhelmed with where their responsibilities lie. Many businesses still operate on a clear level of power or hierarchy of control, like the relationship between management and employees. However, best practices look for opportunities to create a partnership approach that focuses on equity and individual approaches rather than control. Going beyond compliance to implementing best practices will create opportunities for authenticity at work.   


A person sitting on a chair wearing a white blazer and green shirt with a computer on their lap. The image is encased in an abstract swirl border that has a yellow line running through it

3. One Size Fits All

Accommodation and adjustments at the workplace can be complicated. Each person has their own individual needs, and this can be overlooked at times due to various reasons (time, awareness, etc.). Sometimes we take a blanket approach to issues that seem like too large a task.

Unfortunately, looking at accessibility and inclusion as a “one-size fits all” approach will not support the diverse worker perspective. Tailored individual approaches to the employee experience shows an investment in employee’s success and inclusion, which in turn keeps people engaged in the overall success of the company. 


4. Is anyone in charge here?  

The tough part about change is recognizing that there is an issue and making a change to correct it, but who’s responsible for it? Some of our workplace standards and responsibilities are referenced in our policies and legislation, but there is still a large gap in accessibility and EDI needs.

Making EDI strategies needs to become a priority by establishing changemakers throughout organizations to lead policy development, implement best practices, and support the individual needs of the employees. These individuals should have proper training and have the capabilities to make change. Some businesses have and EDI advisory group, some use their HR to manage strategies, others will use consulting firms, etc. Having someone in charge is essential for growth and development of accessible and inclusive workplace EDI.  

5. Avoid the Lecture  

Each person has their own personal needs when it comes to learning and understanding information. In fact, according to the National Institute of Health, the approximate distribution of the three learning styles is: 65% visual, 30% auditory and 5% kinesthetic, but those are not the only things to consider. We also need to think about ‘learning differences’ such as, diverse range of individual learning motivators, learner aspirations, interests, intersectional experiences; including cultural background and disability, and individual students’ strengths and needs.

Having one standard “lecture style” training with no pieces of impact or space for individual engagement, will result in a lack of retention and engagement with the content. Having custom, fully accessible training that reflects the needs of the business and individual employee experiences will support and encourage employee understanding. Having training that reflects real experiences in a relatable and interactive way will resonate better.  

6. DIY EDI

Assessing and developing your EDI efforts can be a difficult task, especially if you have no lived experience, awareness, or knowledge. Similar to learning any other new skill, seeking expertise in the field will help you reach your goals in a more efficient and effective way. Hiring an expert may have an initial cost, but it will save you from making costly mistakes. Consultants are also a time saver, there’s no extensive training or development, you can access the information, process and answers right away. Consultants are experts that support businesses with skills development and new perspectives on workplace processes in with current and informed best practices.  

Starting somewhere is better than not starting at all, but avoiding costly mistakes and taking the journey for self development by asking for support is the best choice for your business. Our future of work is diverse and diverse barriers require innovative solutions.  INNoVA’s accessible consulting services has expertise in supporting innovative workplace solutions that cultivate workplace environments that position businesses in the best place for success. 

Meghan Murray
Business Consultant

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