On March 10th, 2022, I attended the Fraser Valley Cultural Diversity Awards with my team. Systems Business Coach® was nominated alongside 74 other individuals and businesses. Here I saw many brilliant examples of diversity and inclusion in the workplace, as well as in our local schools and community.
That night we were honoured to win the Inclusive Environment Award.
The Cultural Diversity Awards describes the winner of this category as a company that “embraces diversity and creates a welcoming environment for culturally diverse groups”.
Being inclusive is a choice we make every day as leaders of our companies. How does inclusion show up in your business?
Here are some of the ways that we embrace diversity at Systems Business Coach® and what we noticed from the other nominees at the Cultural Diversity Awards (CDA).
Examples of how you can lead inclusion in the workplace
What do your products and marketing materials look like? Is it an accurate reflection of your community, both locally and globally? What kind of language are you using?
For example, Recreation Excellence won the Marketing category.
In their write-up from the CDA, it says they ” market in diverse, inclusive and inspiring ways to show that all bodies are welcome at their facilities and classes. Each of their social media posts are designed with inclusivity in mind and these best practices and initiatives have created a beautiful portfolio of PEOPLE. They ensure that all genders, ages, abilities, body types, ethnicities, religions, sexual-orientation and socio-economic backgrounds are represented visually with the images.”
One of the barriers people can come across when looking to be more inclusive is appropriating other cultures or perpetuating micro-aggressions in their images. You can avoid this by working with a professional consultant.
For example, Systems Business Coach® offers a Small Business Field Guide with our training programs. In the book, there are cartoon characters. We wanted entrepreneurs to see themselves in our programs—both in writing and in images.
We hired a Florida University professor to edit our Small Business Field Guide (our 350-page, full-colour workbook) to ensure any BIPOC images were free of micro-aggressions. To include the LGBTQ+ community, we sought counsel from the LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce President in Toronto. From the discussion Ochre was “born”. They are a non-binary, blue-haired entrepreneur with very cool tattoos is on the front cover of our guide.
The inspiring Champion of Diversity award winner, Nimrat Aulakh, does amazing things for her community. One of her initiatives was her work as a board member with Langley Pos-Abilities. The CDA said that her role was to “audit facilities and suggest changes to ensure they are accessible to people with disabilities.”
Is your organization set up to serve people of different abilities? This could show up as having ramps and elevators in your building or having brail on your signs. It also encompasses serving people with different mental abilities, such as individuals with ADHD, bipolar or autism.
Here at SBC, we actively hire students and people new to their fields to give opportunities to develop skills and increase job security. Additionally, we seek opportunities to hire women and female-identifying contractors in emerging economies. Pay equity is our policy. No matter the economic standard in another country, we pay women as much as men.
What’s your hiring policy? By hiring the most skilled and qualified person for each position, a diverse team will likely be the natural result. You can take time to self-reflect. Do any of your unconscious biases block you from hiring the best person for the job?
If you want to hire more women, you could share your job listing with a social organization that caters to women. You can take the first step by showing up where different groups of people are instead of them having to find you.
We were in awe of the Youth Champion of Diversity, Mia Skoone Gill, at the Cultural Diversity Awards Night. “She is a Foundry Youth Ambassador and spearheaded new initiatives to bridge the gap in people of colour accessing mental health support.” – Cultural Diversity Awards.
We can have more inclusion in the workplace by supporting our team’s health. This includes being aware of barriers that could be stopping them from being the healthiest version of themselves.
How are you supporting the overall health of your team? Do you have initiatives in place to support mental health? Have you made time for a healthy lunch in a healthy atmosphere?
If someone is facing difficulties, there might be a way for the company to support them. You can supply dinners, gift cards, or do a fun run for charity. When your people know you care, it can make all the difference and creates better health among employees.
Events and Holidays
A great example of inclusion in the workplace is from the Innovative Initiative winner, Kindness Chain Chilliwack Association. One of their many initiatives laid out by the CDA is that “they recognize cultural events like Ramadan, Christmas, Easter, Eid and Valentines with special meals and events. Organizers are observing positive changes in residents as they become exposed and more accepting of other cultures.”
If you stay aware of your employees’ needs and celebrations, it creates a healthier and more inclusive work atmosphere.
Is there a place in your business for posting any special family events and holidays? This can include family pictures of things done away from work or notices about sponsored events and celebrations.
The winner of the Effective Human Resources Strategies Award was Otter Co-op. The CDA describes their training program perfectly, “Otter Co-op’s Inspire Leadership program is one of many resources available to leaders of all levels and is a powerful testament to their collective and ongoing journey to embrace diversity, inclusion, culture, and experience.”
As the owner of the business, we are responsible to educate ourselves on the needs of our team and how to properly support them. You can maintain updated managerial and team training, such as sensitivity training, and stay up to date with diversity laws. Having communication and training systems in place will allow you to support a diverse team. Which, in turn, improves your business for everyone.
What are your thoughts?
Which example of inclusion in the workplace stood out to you? What are you already doing that’s worth celebrating?
Until next time, enjoy your Entrepreneurial Journey!
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